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
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?