Tyra Banks is apologizing for a controversial new America’s Next Top Model promo featuring a 6'2" model with a shockingly thin waist.
"On behalf of the entire Top Model team, I am truly sorry for the style in which the Top Model promo clip was presented," she writes on Tyra.com. "Like all of my projects, I am extremely involved in America’s Next Top Model from casting the final contestants to conceptualizing the episode challenges, but with all the work and details that go into producing a TV show, I can’t be 100 places at once (although I try), but it’s just impossible for me to see everything that’s created before it’s released to all of you! That being said I can assure you – that cut has been removed from the CW airwaves, and the message conveyed in that video was NOT intentional, and is certainly not Top Model- or Tyra-approved. The Top Model team is extremely talented and truly enjoys creating fun, engaging promos and episodes for you. The team really wants to entertain you, while promoting and embracing multiple forms of beauty. Sometimes in the quest to have fun in a limited amount of time, especially in a 20-second promo, our overarching message can be misconstrued, and in this case it most certainly was."
Banks, 36, has dealt with her own scrutiny over her weight. In 2007, a tabloid ran a photo of her in swimsuit under the headline "America's Next Top Waddle." She later devoted an episode of her talk show to body issues and self-esteem.
That's why Banks says she feels particularly bad about the Top Model clip, which features Banks exclaiming "You have the smallest waist in the world. Look at that waist!" upon seeing the model. Later, Banks says, "There's something about her I quite like."
"To the people who see me as a representation of upholding the fact that beauty comes in all sizes, I personally apologize," Banks writes.
Growing up, Banks says she was heckled for "NOT being able to gain weight. Being so incredibly thin, I was the receiver of countless stares; feeling helpless. I've also been (VERY) publicly attacked for being bigger. Being on the receiving end of both sides of that pain has really shaped my perspective."
As for Ann (the model featured in the trailer), Bank says the blonde, 19-year-old Dallas native experienced "her own internal struggles with her body, and the cruelty she faces on a daily basis directly related to the way she looks (stemming from her 6'2" height), some of which is revealed in the upcoming season. I offered her the same level of support and encouragement I’ve extended to all younger women that have opened up to me."
Before signing off, Banks wrote, "I want the media and viewers to continue to challenge perceptions of beauty, but to understand that BEAUTY comes in all shapes, sizes and proportions. I have always celebrated uniqueness, and encourage women, myself included, to accept and embrace their own bodies – flaws and all! Whether it’s exaggerated curves (or lack thereof), bee sting boobies, a juicy booty or a big ole’ forehead (eh-hem) – it’s about rocking what we’ve got."
The 15th season of Top Model premieres Sept. 8.