André Leon Talley spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his America’s Next Top Model hosting gig. It is clear he is finally bringing old-fashioned sophistication to this program for the first time in its history. What turns him off in a contestant?
Someone who makes excuses when you give them your observations, be they personal or professional. I just don’t think they should make excuses. They should take notes and say ‘thank you.’ That’s what I did. In my day you didn’t speak until spoken to. You are the student. We are the teachers.
It only took Tyra thirteen seasons to convince Talley to come aboard. She asked him to appear on the first season, but he didn’t trust in the power of her smize yet, so he turned it down.
But Talley knows — and has known for some time — that modeling goes beyond the smize. It’s about the inside:
It’s not just about being a model but being a person in life. If you’re going to be a model, what’s going to get you the job on a go-see and makes you stand out, it might not be your lipstick or your portfolio or what you’re wearing, it might come from your core being. Maybe it’s a wonderful anecdote to interject into an interview on a go-see. I think of myself as providing life coaching with out being too blunt. You have to go and present yourself in a certain way to get that job and it’s not about Cliffsnotes, it’s about generalities about life and wellbeing, deportment, how you walk, how you talk, how you interact with others around.
Oh, please. Vogue editors are all about being blunt. Hence the “dreckitude” catchphrase Talley coined, inspired by Rachel Maddow. Talley explains what it means:
Drekitude is the lowest point in the lowest ebb. It could be your look. It could be your shoes. It could be that you’re standing wrong. Drek is a total, total, total hot mess.
Watch us use it: America’s Next Top Model has become so DREK over thirteen seasons.