Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Americas Next Top Model Cycle 11

ANTM Premieres Tonight With First Transgender Model

After five years and 10 cycles, there are certain elements viewers have grown to expect from ' America's Next Top Model." There's the Ivy Leaguer who thinks she's too smart for modeling, the mean girl who'd seemingly rather fight than model, the affable lesbian who acts as a foil to the conservative Christian and the 'issue' girl -- in past cycles we've seen blindness, Asperger's syndrome, female circumcision, homelessness, rage issues and mail-order brides on the show.

This cycle, of course, the big news is that one of the contestants was born male. Isis Tsunami is a young transgender model who was featured in the background of a photo shoot in a previous cycle. There is an aspect of spectacle to the casting, but Isis is a legitimate contestant, and the show handles her situation with frankness and grace (even while some of her competitors don't)."One of the things about the fashion industry, is that there have been many transgender models over the years. It's very legitimate in our industry," says "Top Model" judge and "noted fashion photographer" Nigel Barker. "It's a bit shocking for prime-time TV, but it opens peoples' eyes."

And the show is about more than one contestant. It's about the drama of 14 women living together in close quarters and the photos they produce. Though "Top Model" has gone from a low-budget reality show gamble to CW tent-pole programming, that aspect hasn't changed.

Americas Next Top Model Cycle 11 starts tonight on the CW at 8EST/7 CST

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