False Things About America's Next Top Model You Can Stop Believing

America's Next Top Model might just be one of the most iconic reality shows to ever grace television, and there's a reason for that. With a mega-famous host, celebrity judges, memorable challenges, and plenty of drama, America's Next Top Model really does have it all.

However, the reality TV show is not without its controversy. From health concerns to troubling fights between the contestants and judges and so much more, there is a lot of false information out there about America's Next Top Model. The popular series, which followed modeling hopefuls competing to a get their big break, might have produced plenty of great GIFs and memorable moments, but there is a lot about the competition series that most fans probably don't know. And, more than that, there are a lot of false things you can stop believing about America's Next Top Model... like, right now. 

Wanna be on top? Let's dive in.

America's Next Top Model leads to automatic fame

As the title of the show would imply, America's Next Top Model is all about the search for the next popular model to take the fashion world by storm. After all, the grand prize for the winner of each season — or Cycle, as the show calls them — usually takes home a modeling contract on top of a few other perks. However, that doesn't mean it's easy for the former contestants to find fame after the show ends. As Cycle 3 contestant Yaya DaCosta, one of many Next Top Model stars who look much different now, told Complex, there was kind of a bad reputation that followed you after being on the show.

"There was such a stigma in Hollywood, and people don't realize that," she explained. "The very directors and writers that were hiring me had just gotten their shows denied by a network because a new reality show was taking up that time slot, so the stigma didn't just have to do with being a model, it was reality TV in general." She added, "You didn't talk about it. It wasn't on your résumé." Being on the show definitely doesn't equal instant fame, though it might seem like it.

America's Next Top Model has always been diverse

The original host of America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks is a successful black woman and the judges' panel has always been diverse, but that doesn't mean the show itself has always been diverse. In fact, it wasn't until 2018 that the show claimed to be more diverse than ever (via BuzzFeed News), featuring plus-sized contestants, more women of color, and even an older contestant.

"America's Next Top Model has changed the definition of beauty, and empowered women when they needed it the most," Banks said in a January 2018 teaser for Cycle 24, as reported by Us Weekly. "We celebrate the beauty in all of us: all shapes, all sizes, and all colors." She went on, "The fight continues to show you that you are beautiful." While Banks definitely tried to diversify the show, ANTM wasn't always like that, especially when it came to the contestants and who won.

America's Next Top Model is a leader in inclusivity

While America's Next Top Model has boasted inclusivity, that doesn't mean the show has always been super inclusive or that it has always lifted up its more diverse contestants. In an interview with Vulture, host Tyra Banks explained that she thought America's Next Top Model had always done a great job of being inclusive. "I had what we called at the time a plus-size girl," she said. "Now they're calling them curvy girls. I've had transgender girls. All these things that weren't necessarily cool or in the mainstream when we did it."

However, as Mic pointed out, that promise of inclusivity has been a lie. Even in the most diverse season of the show, in 2018, the show eliminated almost all of the more diverse and size-inclusive contestants before the Top 14. That didn't exactly encourage inclusivity. Moreover, America's Next Top Model didn't even have an inclusive range of contestants until 2018 during the show's 24th season. Though ANTM might be getting better at being inclusive, it definitely wasn't always that way.

Tyra Banks is always nice to America's Next Top Model contestants

As one of the most successful supermodels of all time, it's no wonder that Tyra Banks was the host of America's Next Top Model for so long. After all, couldn't someone so immersed in the modeling industry have some great pointers for a group of contestants just starting out? Well, it turns out that, for at least one former contestant, Banks' mentoring was a lot harsher than it appeared.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, former contestant Tiffany Richardson explained that the show was really hard for her. "Every time I did something wrong, I'd shut down a little bit more, and it just got to the point where I was over it. I felt like we were just there to be humiliated," she said. "It was like, 'What the f**k [else] could we do to them?'" Additionally, Richardson also claimed that, though it was cut out of the show, there was a point when Banks had yelled at her, allegedly saying, "You can go back to your house and sleep on your mattress on the floor with your baby." Yikes.

America's Next Top Model was scripted

As much as most reality shows like to maintain the front that they are completely real and unscripted, not many actually are. While reality shows might not have scripts like sitcoms or movies, producers will often push contestants in certain directions or even cause drama when things get too boring. Just take The Bachelor, for example. But on America's Next Top Model, there was definitely no script. In fact, as Cycle 9 contestant Sarah Hartshorne told Bustle, there was enough conflict to make the show go around all on its own. 

When asked if America's Next Top Model was scripted, Hartshorne told Bustle, "No. Not at all. They didn't need a script because they knew what we were going to do before we did. And that was drama enough." She continued, "Everybody's a b***h sometimes. Now imagine the second you feel less than awesome there's a camera two inches from your face." 

Basically, since the cameras were there all the time, there was no need for a script.

America's Next Top Model has changed the modeling industry's views on size

While America's Next Top Model, and Tyra Banks, in particular, like to operate under the impression that the show has been progressive, that isn't exactly true. In fact, America's Next Top Model hasn't really done too much to change the modeling industry's views on size, despite Banks' claims that they have.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Banks said, "I do feel like girls everywhere either feel better about themselves or are recognizing certain things that aren't like the stereotype as beautiful. I think Top Model has a lot to do that, and I think it's worldwide." However, as BuzzFeed News pointed out, there is "no evidence the show has had any tangible impact on changing the modeling industry it promises to help its winners break into." Additionally, even in 2016, curvy model Ashley Graham had a hard time having designers dress her for the cover of British Vogue, according to National Post. The modeling industry may be getting more diverse, but we wouldn't say ANTM is the cause of that.

Tyra Banks doesn't care about the America's Next Top Model contestants

With so many America's Next Top Model contestants each season, it's understandable that host Tyra Banks would be overwhelmed with all the faces and names. Still, it's untrue to think that Banks doesn't care about each and every contestant that comes on the show. In fact, one of the most iconic moments from the series was because of Banks' concern for one contestant in particular. In 2005, Banks got extremely mad at contestant Tiffany Richardson, which lead to the iconic "We were rooting for you" GIF we all know and love. But in an interview with BuzzFeed News, Banks said that in the moment all she felt was love.

"It was such an emotional, visceral moment for me," Banks explained. "I had so much love for this girl." Additionally, Banks made it clear that her tough love was just preparing the contestants for a life in the modeling world. "It can be very harsh, but the real industry is harsher," she added. It's untrue to assume that Banks doesn't care about the contestants on America's Next Top Model, even if she has a funny way of showing it.

Tyra Banks always loved hosting America's Next Top Model

Though Tyra Banks, one of the richest Victoria's Secret models, has often been the host and head judge of America's Next Top Model (there was a brief stint when Rita Ora took the reins, as noted by Vanity Fair), she hasn't always loved the job. In fact, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Banks explained that she almost left the show back in 2007.

"Many years ago, I was stressed with starting new businesses," she explained. "I went to [my lawyer] and I was like, you know what, I'm ready to bring someone else in." Banks continued that her lawyer steered her clear of that decision, but it wasn't easy. "But, I was so tired. I was like, fine, fine, I'll just continue." So, when she handed the reins over to Ora, she said it was "something that's been on the tip of my fingers for so long, so it wasn't necessarily difficult [to let go]," adding, "It was actually exciting."

America's Next Top Model contestants are always on their best behavior

Just because someone is on a reality show and there are cameras around at all times doesn't necessarily mean they'll behave well. In fact, just the opposite is true in some cases. That's part of why people love reality shows — because the people on them behave terribly. However, on America's Next Top Model, bad behavior took on a whole new meaning. While you might think that the contestants would be model citizens, that hasn't always been the case.

In fact, according to TMZ, back in 2008, the contestants of the show got in a lot of trouble for causing $500,000 worth of damage to a Manhattan loft they were staying in. "TMZ just spoke to two residents of 39 Lispenard Street, and they confirmed that the place was 'trashed,' and that the management company has had 'serious' problems with their not-so-model neighbors," the publication revealed. 

Being on TV doesn't mean you can trash rooms like rock stars.

The America's Next Top Model contestants can sneak phone time

One of the downsides of being on a reality show is that you lose a lot of personal freedoms. From having to room and live with other contestants to not being able to see your own family and friends while filming, there are a lot of negative aspects when you decide to compete on a reality show. One of the false things you can stop believing about America's Next Top Model, though, is that the contestants can sneak phone time because they definitely can't.

As Don Benjamin from ANTM Cycle 20, one of the most successful America's Next Top Model contestants ever, told BuzzFeed, "We had maybe five minute phone call time a week, so it was really hard to not be able to talk to nobody, to know what was going on in the regular world." He continued, "There was no news," adding, "We all kept each other pretty entertained." Only being able to use your phone for five minutes per week doesn't sound all that ideal, but apparently, the models make it work.

There was drama on America's Next Top Model, and Tyra fired the judges

In 2012, there was quite a bit of tabloid drama surrounding some casting decisions on America's Next Top Model. Specifically, it was reported that Tyra Banks' co-stars and judges, J. Alexander, Jay Manuel, and Nigel Barker were all fired. Page Six reported, "Tyra Banks swung the ax at her longtime America's Next Top Model co-stars J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Nigel Barker yesterday, dismissing three of the competition's longest-running personalities in one fell swoop." The way the publication put it definitely made it sound like there was drama behind the decision.

However, that doesn't seem to actually be the case. As J. Alexander told Perez Hilton in an interview, all was not how it appeared. "I was never fired, get the record straight," he explained. "My contract was just not renewed." Alexander went on to add that he was not afraid of Tyra, as Hilton had suggested he was. In short, they weren't fired without reason. Simply put, their contracts expired and weren't renewed.

America's Next Top Model dealt with eating disorders well

It would be impossible to discuss the modeling world without also discussing the rampant eating disorders that the industry has dealt with over the years. According to The Establishment, America's Next Top Model has actually reinforced harmful behaviors and eating disorders. Specifically, during Cycle 12, one contestant had been honest in sharing that they struggled with an eating disorder, but was still put through the ringer for her body, allegedly from creative director Jay Manuel.

The Establishment reported, "And when formerly anorexic and bulimic Lauren 'London' Levi put on some weight during cycle 12, Mr. J scolded the eighteen-year-old for this 'really shocking' development." He reportedly said, "It's just clear that you're not taking care of your body ... As a model you're expected to treat your body like a temple." The Establishment noted, "Then, the (still-svelte!) eighteen-year-old was eliminated." 

Basically, the show hasn't exactly been sensitive to the eating disorders with which the contestants have dealt.

America's Next Top Model is an easy gig for the contestants

As a reality show with a pretty awesome prize for the winners, you might assume that America's Next Top Model is a pretty easy gig for all the contestants. But really, that couldn't be further from the truth. In addition to being away from friends and family, dealing with harsh critiques from the judges, and not being able to use their phones, the contestants also have to endure extremely long days doing photoshoots and filming the show.

As Don Benjamin from Cycle 20 told BuzzFeed, "Oh my God, we were there for like 13 hours at least every day." He continued, "We'd get up at five in the morning, get home at midnight." Benjamin's castmate Mike Scocozza agreed, saying, "They make it seem like it was so quick, but really it was just all of us hanging around all day." Additionally, shooting the scenes of the judges' panel was reportedly also difficult. "We're up there all day," Benjamin explained. "It's freezing in there. Your legs are shaking, because you're like, Did I do good? Panel is very stressful."

America's Next Top Model may be a show, but it's not easy.

The America's Next Top Model confessionals were optional

As with most reality shows, America's Next Top Model featured many so-called "confessionals," in which the contestants got a chance to speak their mind about what's happened on their season of the show. ANTM is no different, but a lot of people might assume that the confessionals were optional, and they definitely weren't. In fact, the contestants had to do a confessional every night, according to two former contestants.

"I think we did 20 or 30 minutes a night, everybody," Don Benjamin from Cycle 20 told BuzzFeed. But, of course, the show didn't air every confessional. "They hardly used any of that footage," Benjamin's castmate Mike Scocozza explained. "I'm sure there's some really good stuff on there." But still, the contestants had to shoot so many confessionals that sometimes they were too tired to hold it together. "I get drunk and fall asleep," Scocozza said of some of his confessionals. "That's what happens." With no choice but to shoot the confessional every night, it's no wonder the contestants were exhausted.