An America’s Next Top Model alum recently revealed that contestants on Tyra Banks’s show were paid as little as $40 (£30) per episode.
Former plus size model Sarah Hartshorne appeared on cycle nine of the show in 2007. Responding to a tweet from 30 November, she confirmed that not only were contestants paid such a paltry amount, but they also had to pay for their own food.
Tyra Banks, the host, judge and executive producer of America’s Next Top Model, was first called out by Twitter user @jiggyjayy2 on Tuesday. “The fact that girls on ANTM were getting paid $40 an episode and Tyra and them judges were making bank, is kinda sick,” the user wrote.
When comedian and podcast host Billy Procida tagged Hartshorne for a confirmation, she replied: “$40 an episode and we had to pay for food.”
In a subsequent interview with the New York Post on Wednesday (1 December), 34-year-old Hartshorne said she was only 18 when she was cast on ANTM.
“We were given a $38 daily cash stipend that we had to use to pay for our own food,” Hartshorne explained.
According to Forbes, Tyra Banks, a Victoria’s Secret and CoverGirl model, earned $30m (£22.5m) during a 12-month period as America’s Next Top Model host and creator.
Cycle five alum Lisa D’Amato, who has been fiercely critical of Banks and her show, has also spoken about the appalling pay standards on ANTM in the past.
In an interview with Tasha K (a YouTuber, who is currently embroiled in a bitter legal battle with singer Cardi B) earlier this year, D’Amato said the contestants received $45 (£34) per day.
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“They don’t feed you enough,” D’Amato told the host of UnWineWithTashaK, adding: “We had a small per diem but so many girls sent their money home… [the per diem was used for] toiletries, tampons, or whatever.”
The Independent has reached out to Twitter user @jiggyjayy2, Hartshorne and Banks’s representation for a comment.
Banks, who became the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1996, has often been criticised for her treatment of ANTM contestants.
Last year, Twitter users chastised the supermodel for telling cycle six winner Danielle Evans that the gap between her front teeth made her less “marketable”.
The interaction between Evans and Banks resurfaced online on 5 May 2020 with the caption: “Why was this allowed to air wtf Tyra Banks is going straight to hell.”
Consequently, other social media users began sifting through ANTM archives to highlight questionable segments from the show that ran for 24 seasons.
These included examples of body-shaming, blackface and bullying.
Responding to the backlash at the time, Banks tweeted: “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you.”
“Looking back, those were some really off choices,” the supermodel said.
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