Tyra Banks is finally responding to the controversy surrounding an “America’s Next Top Model” promo featuring a 6’2″ model with a shockingly small waist.
“In an effort to create a fun and entertaining sneak peak of the upcoming cycle, America’s Next Top Model released a trailer that was edited in way that misconstrued our overarching message,” Banks says in an exclusive statement to People.
As reported last week, Banks suffered harsh criticism for commenting on Dallas contestant Ann, saying she has “the smallest waist in the world.”
In the trailer for the forthcoming season, Ann emerged before the panel in a waist-hugging corset, prompting Tyra to exclaim, “You have the smallest waist in the world.” She then turned to her fellow judges and said, “There’s something about her that I like.”
Judge J. Alexander, unnerved by the size, gripped Ann’s waist to demonstrate how terribly thin she was.
Tyra’s reaction has come under heavy fire, with gossip site Jezebel saying: “Given her history, Tyra probably doesn’t want to promote a totally unrealistic image of female anatomy. But by going gaga for a girl who’s almost certainly shrunk her already tiny waist using corsets, that’s exactly what she’s doing.” (Read the full story here.)
Banks is now apologizing, saying that she didn’t see the promo before it was released.
“As a leader in celebrating and promoting healthy body image, I must admit that I regrettably didn’t see this clip before it was released to the public, (with multiple Top Model departments, it’s just impossible to review everything) but on behalf of the ‘Top Model’ team, these were not the intentions, and we truly apologize for any confusion, anger or disappointment it may have caused,” she says in her statement.
“The passionate response the trailer has evoked proves that the message to promote and celebrate all different — healthy and natural –- body types has resonated with our viewers and I’m so proud of every one of you who voiced your opinion and participated in this conversation. I have experienced body image scrutiny from one extreme to the next –- as an awkward, extremely thin pre-teen who couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did, to later being slammed by the media for my fuller, curvier frame,” continues Banks, who was the victim of body bullying in 2006 after unflattering beach shots were splashed across the Internet.
“Driven by these personal experiences,” she says, “I am committed to expanding the definition of beauty which includes ALL shapes, sizes and proportions, from skinny to curvy and everything in between. It’s about women telling the world to KISS their –- skinny, wide, droopy, flat, cellulite-covered or FAT -– you know what!”
“Through ‘Top Model’ and my other platforms, I am able to connect with women directly,” says Banks, an executive producer on the show. “During this season of ‘Top Model,’ you will see that Ann (the woman featured in the trailer) provided another opportunity for me to support a young woman struggling with her own body image issues (she’s 6’2″; and is the receiver of countless stares and ridicule). Helping young ladies, like Ann and countless others that have confided in me, furthers and supports my core mission.”