Another year brings another cycle of America’s Next Top Model, one of the few constants left in this world. Tyra Banks swung by the AOL Build Series stage on Tuesday to hold a Q&A before her return to the show, and one audience member posed the question: Does Banks think the fashion industry is liberal, and if so, why has it been such a long, slow slog to see more inclusive beauty standards, and less racially insensitive ad campaigns? In response, Banks laid out one of the biggest problems in the fashion world.
Banks starts her answer by point-blank saying no, the fashion industry isn’t liberal. While the people within it may be liberal-leaning, she says the industry as a whole doesn’t merit the label, and there are some people who use their power to preserve the industry’s flawed state. For years, the fashion industry had dictated which ethnicity’s “look” is trendy each season—and that mind-set prevents lasting change, and keeps models from gaining the respect and recognition that they deserve.
ANTM has always made a point of showcasing diverse women, and the show’s new season has the most diverse cast in its history. But from Banks’ years in the industry, the show is an outlier, and long-term progress is yet to come. “[The industry] is liberal and cyclical, and trends,” Banks says. “Oh, it’s a black-girl season! Oh, it’s a Brazilian season! OK, now where are they? Oh, it’s the Russians! Oh, now it’s the Asian girls!” Banks continued: “To me, race is not a trend. My skin is not a trend; your skin is not a trend. We are who we are, so we should not go in and out of fashion. My booty, her booty, should not go in and out of fashion, that should just be.”
It comes down to objectification, she says. “The trend should be what we put on our bodies, not our bodies. And so that’s the part of fashion that I don’t like, is they’ll say, ‘Oh, the chocolate girls with the short hair is in for two years.’ And now, where’s that girl? She’s trying to figure out how she’s going to pay her bills, because she’s no longer hot, and cannot pay to get hired. And that’s what hurts me.”
Watch the full video, below:
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