Brit readers may be well aware of the BBC3 show on for the past 6 weeks, Britain's Missing Top Model, but it might be interesting for others to hear about. The ever politically pushy BBC created an ANTM rip off but used eight girls with disabilities. They ranged from two deaf girls, a girl in a wheelchair paralysed from the waist down, girls born with missing limbs or lost limbs as a result of car accidents, and less obvious-to-the-eye disabilities such as ME. I already wrote about this at the start of the show on the Birmingham Post blogs but after seeing the whole series and the crowning winner tonight, it gives a better judgement.
The main fault of the show was it's very shaky message. All the reviews and articles I've read have totally different views and even the judges argued about what they were really trying to do. Find a model or a spokesperson? I initially compared it to Britain's Next Top Model. The name suggests it's part of that franchise but really it was a watered down version with similar ideas. The riding theme was questioning if the fashion world is ready for disabled models, almost as though they're discriminated against already for apparently not being used. It was about awareness and controversy and finding role models.
From the start this annoyed me because there are models similar to some of the contestants on the show! Remember Elle did an interview a few months ago with Brenda Costa, the deaf Brazilian model? Funny how she's been in loads of runway shows, on the covers of Elle and been the face of L'Oreal. Every time they questioned whether a deaf model could survive in the industry I wanted to shout hello, there already are deaf models! It's funny how the judges never mentioned it or even seemed to know about it. It proves for having a disability doesn't need to hold you back from anything and how there are probably disabled models all over the place and we don't even realise.
Also in my opinion, a model with a disability could be an advantage. The fashion world loves controversy, just look at the Italian Vogue hype and that's barely outrageous. Omg black models, how crazy! (jokes) Imagine if Lily Cole had half her arm missing. For editorial shoots, wouldn't it be even more beautiful and interesting to see a missing limb? Designers use albino people as muses. Alice Dellal has half her hair shaved off. If you look at the top models they're not what the world deems perfection in terms of attraction. Look at Erin O'Connor and Masha Tyelna. The show was very closed minded in the way they described the fashion industry.
In the end the winner was the girl below. The two finalists were both great but to me she was the girl who was the most extreme in not considering her disability to rule over her life and represent who she was. Sure she had half an arm missing but her personality shone over that. I thought it was great to have a role model whose disability wasn't their first attribute? Yet the other finalist was equally as gorgeous and she was very persistent in wanting to make an impact and change some minds. Being in a wheelchair may have been the hardest challenge of the show.
The main thing that bothered me and the most outspoken judge was that some of the other judges were very adamant that their disabilities should rule over their future possible modelling careers. The second to last photo shoot didn't showcase them, Kelly's arm was hidden, Sophie was out of her wheelchair and posing on the floor. Two of the more politically correct and out to please judges called it an insult that their disabilities weren't shown. Throughout they didn't want a girl to win where her disability wasn't obvious, such as the deaf girls. This is how the competition was warped, although by the end I'm glad they picked the girl who does have a face and body for modelling rather than the best spokesperson for disabled people, although I thought Sophie took some of the best photos. After they have their winning prize of a Marie Claire photo shoot, they will go on real castings and for real shoots where 99% of the time there won't be a need or a want for a disability.
P.S. Some commenters are thinking I've been deleting their comments! For some reason there's a set amount of comments that can be shown and if you look at the end of them, there is an arrow to go to the next few, and so on. I'm not ignoring you! If you have asked a question or posted a disagreeing comment usually my reply will be on the last page :)