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Tyra Banks is the Mistress of Babble. She’s usurped the word “fierce” from drag queens and publicly abused it to the point that it’s been emptied of all meaning and packs the same linguistic punch as clearing one’s throat. Her biggest contribution to the English language, “smizing,” or “smiling with your eyes,” is a made-up modeling term that’s also a paradox, something she’s defined in the past as “squinting with your eyes open” (and something that I happen to really suck at).
Her crazy talk extends beyond modeling to the “social” ideas she explores on both her talk show and America’s Next Top Model. Remember when she put on a fat suit for a day to understand what it was like to be the victim of what she called the “last form of open discrimination that’s okay”? Or when she had the Cycle 10 ANTM contestants “do” homeless, posing with real-life homeless youth, and told the models she understood what it was like to live on the streets because she (again) did it for a day on her talk show?
Filed under: America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model Cycle 13, ANTM, Blackface, Essentialism Is So Fun, Paradoxes, Portraying Races, Racial Drag, Smiling With Your Eyes, Smizing, The Tyra Banks Show, Tyra Banks
America’s Next Top Model Cycle 13, aka The Short Girls season, premieres tonight. You’d think that in a season in which none of the contestants stand over 5’7″, the show would be crawling with eensy-beensy Asian chicks, but Cycle 13 has, like so many other cycles before it, only one token, and her name is Jennifer An.
She’s 23, hails from Philly, and her special qualities–judging by her interview below–include doing musical theater badly and pooping a lot:
Is this a sign of things to come? I can’t say for sure, but maybe we’d all be better off spending our Wednesday nights doing something more productive than watching Cycle 13, like cleaning our toilets, which is admittedly filthy work but probably still less shitty.