Kenya Barris Speaks On Being A Co-Creator Of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ & The Controversy Surrounding The Show, Says Most Reality Shows ‘Don’t Always Go The Way That You Would Want Them’

Kenya Barris Speaks On Being A Co-Creator Of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ & The Controversy Surrounding The Show, Says Most Reality Shows ‘Don’t Always Go The Way That You Would Want Them’


Kenya Barris is opening up about his connection to the hit series ‘America’s Next Top Model.’

During a recent interview, Kenya Barris — a co-creator of the series — spoke on his time working behind the scenes of ‘Top Model’ and what it was like working in reality tv, something that was brand new to the producer at the time. He shared,

“I’m a Black dude from Inglewood who got to co-create a modeling show that is in 49 countries, and brought light to a talent that I don’t think people really think there’s a lot of talent about. We were part of the wave of reality TV when it was starting and to do that taught me a lot of things.”

He continued,

“Reality television is reverse-engineering something I hadn’t learned in the scripted world. I got to hang around models, which wasn’t bad. I got to do it with someone I grew up with and Tyra.”

Kenya Barris

According to the ‘Blackish’ creator, the show brought on new opportunities for him and helped his career.

“And it also, in terms of the opportunities, gave me the power of “no.” I got to say no to some things because I didn’t have to do them and I think that was a big part of helping forge my career.” 

When it comes to the show’s recent backlash and accusations of being toxic, Kenya Barris had this to say,

“I left Top Model after year two. I stayed on as a developer and I feel like most reality shows, like most things in that world, they don’t always go the way that you would want them. I didn’t have as much to say about what was going on because I wasn’t a part of the show, but I do feel like it brought awareness to modeling in a different way than it had ever been brought.”

He continued,

“And I feel like I’m proud of the things that it did do, and I think the things that it needs to change or things that needed to be changed, they were actively trying to do that. But at that point, it was a little bit out of my lane.”

As far as the criticism he has received throughout his career, Kenya Barris expressed that”we are our own worst enemies” and toughest critics. He said,

“I often feel that we are our own worst enemies. We are, in terms of Black culture, are our alpha predators. You know what I’m saying? We will come at each other. You know, when I did Top Model, when I announced The Wizard of Oz, they were like, why do you wanna put a LGBTQ character in there? Why are we redoing it? It’s already been done.”

As you may already know ‘America’s Next Top Model’ was a reality tv competition series where aspiring models competed for the title of “America’s Next Top Model” and a chance to begin their career in the modeling industry. The show was created/hosted by Tyra Banks and originally ran semiannually, in what was referred to as “cycles,” from 2003 until 2012. In 2013 the series aired annually until it was canceled in 2015.  However, the following year “America’s Next Top Model” returned to VH1 with Rita Ora as the new host. The most recent season wrapped in April 2018.

Since the series has been off the air, it’s not uncommon for people to call Tyra Banks out for what the competitors had to endure. Last year, a clip from the sensational reality show went viral, causing Tyra to once again find herself in the hot seat. In the video, a former ‘America’s Next Top Model’ contestant named Robin is being scrutinized by the ‘ANTM’ judges for being a little curvier than the other competing models.

While evaluating her size, Tyra says,

“One problem that I do have with Robin, I think on the top she’s not plus size but on the bottom she is.”

She adds,

“I just wish her upper body was bigger and matched her lower body.”

During the discussion over the model’s body, another judge says,

“’America’s Next Top Model’ is not a plus size model!” 

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!


Authored by: Monique Nicole