The video: The fifteenth cycle of "America's Top Model" was controversial before it even began. In August, host Tyra Banks apologized for a teaser ad featuring Ann Ward, a 6'2" model with an alarmingly thin frame and a waist that could nearly be encircled by a man's hands. Now, Ward has been crowned "America's Next Top Model" — and debate over the producers' judgment has been reignited.
The reaction: A win for the "ethereally gawky, disturbingly-thin Ann" signals a marked change for the show, says Margaret Eby in the Los Angeles Times. After repeatedly anointing "model-as-spokesperson" winners, the judges chose a haute couture "model-as-model"-type instead. It's not that surprising: "In high fashion, total weirdness is often preferable to warmth and corn-fed appeal." Ann was "probably the best choice, even though she has difficulty both talking and walking," says Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel. Agreed, says Aaron Parsley in People. Ann's "unique" look "worked against her" in commercials and go-sees, but it definitely helped her photograph well. Watch Ann's big win, below:
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