Australia's Next Top Model (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Australia's Next Top Model is an Australian reality television series, based on a franchise that was created by Tyra Banks with America's Next Top Model. It is produced by Granada Productions and broadcast on the Australian subscription television channel, FOX8. The series' objective is to find a promising but as-yet undiscovered Australian fashion Model and reward her with a platform to boost her chances of forging a successful career within the modelling industry.
The series was last formerly hosted by Australian model Sarah Murdoch, who also served as lead judge and co-executive producer of the show for cycles five to seven. Jodhi Meares and Erika Heynatz also served as former hosts. An eighth cycle has been confirmed for production and broadcast during 2013. Producers of the series are in the process of finding a replacement host before production re-commences.
In April 2012 it was announced that the series would take a break for 2012 due to the fact that producers of the show were having trouble finding a replacement for Sarah Murdoch. It was announced on 19 November 2012 that beauty queen, model and television personality Jennifer Hawkins was named as host starting for the upcoming eighth cycle.
The series features a group of young female contestants generally aged between 16 and 22, who attend preliminary auditions across Australia with finalists selected to star in the series proper, where they end up living together in a house for several weeks whilst taking part in lectures, challenges, photo shoots and meetings with members of the modelling industry. Normally, one contestant is eliminated each week until the last contestant remaining is declared "Australia's Next Top Model" and receives a modelling contract and other associated prizes, usually a feature spread in an Australian fashion magazine, a cash prize, a new car and meetings with modelling agencies with the intention of securing future work.
Each episode of Top Model covers the events of roughly a week of real time (however, while overseas, an episode may cover a shorter period), and features a fashion challenge, a photo shoot and/or commercial, a critique of each contestant and her performance by the judging panel, and the elimination of one or more contestants.
As of the upcoming eighth cycle, Jennifer Hawkins is now the host of the series; the judging panel are still consists of TV personality Charlotte Dawson, fashion photographer Jez Smith and fashion designer Alex Perry. Previous judges included model Erika Heynatz, former Harper's Bazaar managing editor Marguerite Kramer, fashion stylist Ken Thompson, fashion producer Victoria Fisher, fashion photographer Georges Antoni, model-turned-designer Jodhi Meares and model-actress Sarah Murdoch. Model mentor Josh Flinn, though not a permanent judge like his American counterparts Jay Manuel and Johnny Wujek, appears in every episode. Usually, a guest judge will sit in on the panel every week.
Bold print indicates that the judge/presenter is currently judging/presenting this current series.
Starting from Cycle 3, contestants must be aged between 16 and 23 at the time of filming. In the first two series, contestants had to be at least 18 years old. However, the show lowered the age limit after realizing that most international models start their career earlier. In Cycle 5, the three finalists were aged 16 at the time of filming. In Cycle 7, the three finalists were aged 17 at the time of filming. Those auditioning have to be at least 173 cm or 5'8" tall. In the past, some contestants have weighed less than 60 kilograms, but there is no restriction on weight.
Differences between ANTM and AusNTM
Australia's Next Top Model shares the format of its American counterpart, but there are a few differences. On America's Next Top Model the final two models compete in a runway fashion show and the winner is chosen in the judging room. Starting from Cycle 3, the final two contestants compete in in front of a live studio audience in Sydney before the winner is revealed live-to-air. The judges, sponsors, and fashion professionals vote for the winner, along with the TV viewing public, whose votes contribute 15 per cent to the overall tally. Since Cycle 6, the format has been changed. The final three (not two) are interviewed, shown their best bits from the competition, and participate in a runway show. The viewer votes now decide the winner of the competition.
In series one, Blair McDonough, a housemate from first series of Big Brother and actor on Neighbours, made a guest appearance during an acting challenge. In series two, Beau Brady from Home and Away, posed in disguise as a photographer to test the girls' ability to handle the media. Ian Thorpe has appeared several times. In series six, Michael Klim, made a guest appearance for the girls' introduction in swimsuit.
Following a breach of contract with Heynatz's appearance on the Channel Seven series It Takes Two, she was replaced as host by Jodhi Meares, although Meares had been consistently scrutinised for her huge lack of involvement in the show. During the Cycle 3 live finale, she made a number of embarrassing blunders that drew commentary from critics on her ability to host. Things were worsened when she pulled out of her hosting duties hours before the Cycle 4 live finale. The swarm of negative comments from the press and fans of the show led to Meares' withdrawal from the programme.
In Cycle 4, Demelza Reveley's win provoked negative feedback from critics and the public due to her bullying of another contestant. Leader of the self-named clique "the Bitchketeers", in one episode, Reveley brought fellow competitor Alamela Rowan, 17, to tears by water-bombing her and tipping water on her head. Rowan, who was left traumatised by the taunts and attacks during her time on the show, was noticeably unimpressed by the apology Reveley gave. The "Bitchketeers" had also had also caused problems for fellow contestants Alexandra Girdwood, Belinda Hodge & Caris Eves. Vogue Australia editor-in-chief, Kirstie Clements, and former model and fellow judge Charlotte Dawson preferred Alexandra Girdwood, because of Reveley's behaviour. The judges' scores were tied, so the decision came down to the public, who voted for Reveley.
After Cycle 5, runner-up Cassi Van Den Dungen made a series of highly controversial comments. She was offered modeling contracts by Priscilla's Model Management in Australia and Elite Model Management in New York City (the contract with Elite was worth a reported $2 million). Cassi turned down both offers and quit modeling in order to remain in Sunbury with her bricklayer boyfriend, Brad Saul, causing a backlash from the public, as well as from judges Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson, who had vouched for Cassi on the show and urged her to pursue modeling. Cassi later stated in the press that she rejected the Elite contract because she didn't want to be pressured to drop from a size six to a four. Later, to the surprise of many, it was announced that Cassi would be signing a contract with IMG Paris and would be walking for designers at Paris Fashion Week in March 2010. Cassi made the trip to Paris with Saul but withdrew after insulting the French agents and referring to them as "snail slurpers" and "frog eaters" on her Facebook page. Saul added his comments which included a racial slur, for which the couple received more fire.
In the Cycle 6: Live Final, the TV viewers voted to decide the winner. Initially, Sarah Murdoch announced Kelsey Martinovich as the winner of Australia's Next Top Model. Moments after Martinovich had made her victory speech, Murdoch stopped the celebrations and announced that Amanda Ware was the winner of Cycle 6. An embarrassed Murdoch apologised repeatedly to Martinovich and the audience, stating that the final result was fed to her wrong. As compensation for the error, Foxtel awarded Martinovich a A$25,000 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to New York. Harper's Bazaar decided to release both Amanda and Kelsey's covers for the November issue.
In the days following the bungled announcement, top industry commentators expressed skepticism about whether the episode was a publicity stunt, with the editor of Harper's Bazaar Edwina McCann accusing Foxtel of manipulating the ANTM result. "The network did want Amanda to win...They kept the voting lines open for a long time I think in the hope that she would get over the line. I'm told that it came down to three votes," she told the Nine Network.
The program is the highest rating non-sporting related program or event on subscription television in Australia.