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America’s Next Top Model is switching it up with its most diverse cast ever

TV shoes, movies and magazines all sell women using airbrushed, unrealistic techniques. The result? When women are constantly bombarded by unrealistic images of how they “should” look, many develop self-esteem issues.

More dangerously, others may go on to develop life-threatening eating disorders. Fortunately, there is some good news on the horizon.

America’s Next Top Model, premiering its next season on VH1 January 9th, includes at least two curvier models in addition to its already ethnically diverse cast. And so far, the fans are absolutely loving it!

The Link Between Models and Eating Disorders

A disparity between the average height and weight of female modes versus those of the general female population has long existed, and it continues to widen.

In 1997, the average model weighed only 8% less than the average woman in the general population. In 2017, the gap has widened to the point where models weigh 23% less than the average female population.

Currently 87% of models weigh between 100 – 150 lbs and stand anywhere from 5’6” and up. Contrast this with the average woman in America today, who stands approximately 5’4” and weighs 166.2 lbs. In this season of ANTM, plus-sized supermodel Ashley Graham will be returning as one of the judges.

Ashley Graham Curves GIF by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit - Find & Share on GIPHY

Even a cursory glance at these statistics shows that when the average woman seeks to look like the models in their favorite TV shows and magazines, she is going to be madly disappointed.

It’s not only the consumers of popular media who develop eating disorders, although it is important to note that immersion in this societal ideal starts early: 70% of teen girls say they are heavily influenced by the models they see on TV and magazines.

But, while some models may be genetically thin, other models fall prey to societal stereotypes as well. Both models and everyday teens alike are known to visit pro-Ana websites, sites dedicated to promoting anorexic behaviors.

Hope is on the Horizon

America’s Next Top Model bears a lot of responsibility. In order to make all women feel beautiful, they include women of many shapes, nationalities and now, sizes. America’s Next Top Model is leading the reality model shows in this regard.

Upcoming seasonal episodes will feature Krystayana Koroskova, a body-positive activist and Ivana West, a powerful plus sized model.

✅I have cellulite – 🚫NOT I feel FAT ✅I have wrinkles – 🚫NOT I feel old ✅I have rolls – 🚫NOT I feel ugly ✅I have $20.00 to my name -🚫 NOT I feel poor ✅I didn’t succeed at this task – 🚫NOT I feel like a total loser. fat, old, ugly, poor, unsuccessful ARE NOT REAL feelings !!!!!!!!!! Please please try and change the INNER DELUSION focused words to REALITY focused WORDS when you speak of yourself. Why being so negative? Just why? Feelings are REAL so examine the real feeling. ✅example: feeling an actual discomfort around your waistline DUE to super tight jeans u got last summer, they no longer fit the same – fact: you gained some weight and have a feeling of DISCOMFORT – pinching squeezing your skin, flash, organs THATS what you feel… NOT FEELING FAT. But that feeling of discomfort. Stop the use of STIGMA LOADED words, they can destroy your self esteem in seconds and take over your day/week/year and anyone who loves you just because you misused the words and confused reality with delusion! Not biggie. But let’s learn to be more loving towards ourselves – we DO deserve our own love ❤️ 💚💛💙💜💗 – Khrystyana – Photo by @melinadeya mua @vlefay style @bethbecker @cinestreampictures production #bodyimage#allbodiesaregoodbodies#loveyourself#bekind#mybodymychoice#curvyfashion#antm#antm24#curved

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It will be interesting to see how they compete in this upcoming season against models with the more stereotypical body shapes.

In addition to shows and agencies, individual models are also taking a stand. Model Tabria Majors recently shared photos of her plus-sized model’s body displaying the same apparel as popular Victoria Secret’s models.

Her mission is to show the world that curvy models can still model lingerie and be just as sexy, and one look at her photoshoot makes her claim impossible to deny.

As one of the most popular shows on TV, America’s Next Top Model can and should do more to encourage healthy displays of all body sizes and shapes.

Once more diverse models are shown on TV and in magazines, we will hopefully begin to see healthier eating habits among teens and adults alike, and a happier population overall. You go, girls!