Wannabes go wild in fight to be 'Next Top Model'

Chaos in Manhattan as panic sweeps the audition queue for reality TV show

A New York street was left strewn with shoes, clothing and torn sleeping bags after a stampede by thousands of wannabe models waiting to audition for a reality television show.

Six people were injured and three arrested as chaos erupted in the queue for America's Next Top Model, a search-for-a-star show hosted by the former supermodel Tyra Banks. More than 10,000 people descended on midtown Manhattan on Saturday for auditions for the new series, which this time will try to break the fashion industry mould by looking only for women below 5ft 7in tall. Many at the front of the queue had been camping out for more than 24 hours but, as more and more entrants arrived, tempers rose and organisers found themselves unable to cope with the deluge.

As an overheated car rolled past the queue, raising fears of an explosion, pandemonium broke out. Some witnesses said an applicant shouted "there's a bomb". People were knocked down or fainted as the crowd surged, police ploughed in and fights erupted.

Jennifer Brown, a 27, a Brooklyn resident, told the New York Daily News: "The girls were running like it was 9/11 part two. I feared for my life."

Kiara McCarthy, 19, said: "All of a sudden, we heard this roar from behind us and there was a wave of people falling on top of us."

Other women described being trampled or crushed against buildings as would-be contestants around them fainted or cried that they could not breathe. Two of the six people injured were taken to hospital.

Two women and a man were charged with disorderly conduct and inciting a riot. The rest of the auditions were cancelled and devastated women were turned away unseen. "I'm 5ft 3in," Ms McCarthy added. "There is no way I can make it into a model agency. They would turn me away at the door. We had an opportunity and it was taken from us."

Banks has said she created America's Next Top Model, now auditioning for its 13th season, to counter stereotypes about beauty. After her career as a model, becoming the first African-American woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue and GQ magazine, Banks moved into television. She also has a talk show, and has been touted as a new Oprah Winfrey for her growing power in the media industry.

Just a dozen or so hopefuls appear in the finals of America's Top Model. Try-outs are being held in various cities, but the New York auditions have always proved the most popular.

Even before the doors opened on Saturday, police were forced to erect extra barricades and were patrolling the fractious queue. Organisers banned women from leaving the line, even to use the toilet, and two contestants' boyfriends taunted each other, adding to the tension. The crowd was swept by rumours that one of the men had left to fetch a gun, even before the smoking BMW caused pandemonium. No weapons were involved in the melee.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas