Season 23 of "America's Next Top Model" is supposed to be a rebirth of the brand: It's on a new network with new hosts and a new slew of diverse models vying for their big break. However, plus-size model Tess Holliday is unimpressed with the competition's revamp.
Fellow body-positive model Ashley Graham is a judge on "ANTM" — but there are no plus-size contestants competing this season. This exclusion is exactly why Holliday called out the show on December 12. She sent a zinging tweet that proves exactly why hiring Graham is a huge contradiction — and doesn't push for progress in the very thin modeling world.
Holliday wasn't the only body-positive icon to notice ANTM's lack of size diversity. Actress Danielle Brooks, who partnered with Refinery29 for the SeeThe67 project, also called out the show.
In an Instagram post, Brooks expressed her disappointment with ANTM having a plus-size judge, but no plus-size contestants:
Out of all 24 girls not one was plus. You had an Asian, African, a red head, transgender, an androgynous sister, even twins...(much love for that) but not one plus size woman-when 67% of women are plus in the US? This could've been a perfect opportunity for them to highlight fabulous designers that also do plus fashion or highlight strictly plus designers that rarely get any shine. They could've also highlighted the struggles that come with being plus. We could've at least gotten to 2%.
She also said that plus-size women deserve to be included on shows like ANTM. "Regardless, we are worth these incredible opportunities," she wrote. "We deserve to be seen."
That's not to say "America's Next Top Model" has made no strides toward being more inclusive.
The current cycle features seven Black models, one Latina model, a gender-queer model, a lesbian model, and even a transgender model. However, not including a plus-size model stings, especially when Graham is often touted as a beacon of progress.
For her part, the 28-year-old Lane Bryant model is hoping a plus-size model wins the next season. She told E! News that it's important to her that "ANTM" is diverse.
"Unfortunately, it didn't happen for this round, but that's all right," Graham said. "Hopefully for season two — I'm looking for the woman who wins to be plus-size. I think it would be so epic."
Holliday, however, thinks not casting a plus-size model this season is a missed opportunity.
She's right: "America's Next Top Model" has the ability to capitalize on the "real girl" movement happening in fashion right now.
Too bad they missed the window this season.