Earlier today, Tyra Banks and Vogue’s André Leon Talley held a breakfast to celebrate the 15th cycle of America’s Next Top Model, which kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW. Banks says the competition’s prize this year is “beyond exciting”: The winner will get a contract with IMG Models and CoverGirl Cosmetics, a fashion spread in Italian Vogue, and a spread and cover of Beauty In Vogue.
Pretty sweet deal, but contrary to popular belief, not one ANTM judge and Tastemaker Talley can take all of the credit for. “He is the beginning of high fashion for Top Model,” says Banks. “I had this vision to take it to the next level and I wanted André there from the beginning, from day one, but he turned me down… [then] he finally said yes.” Banks also pointed out that she already had a relationship with Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani “because I did the black issue.” At the breakfast, Banks also revealed that not only will there be a cycle sixteen, but another girl is likely to see her face in the pages of Italian Vogue: “The big shock and surprise for me was how dedicated [Sozzani] is to [the show]. I called her after we announced the winner and I was like ‘Want to do this again?’ and she was like ‘Yes, darling, I will do this again for you. I have a good time.’ So she’s on for cycle sixteen.”
One person who won’t be returning to his regular seat behind the judges’ table is Miss J. Explains Banks: “Miss J said he’s all about his legs, and because he’s stuck behind a desk, he wants to get out…When the girls are walking down the runway and his name is plastered on their forehead and if they’re not walking right, then he feels like it’s a bad reflection on him. So he’s actually within the episodes, working with the girls as opposed to being stuck behind the desk.”
And of course, no Banks encounter would be complete without receiving some of that requisite model-meets-mom advice she doles out to her girls on the show: “Sometimes the prettiest girl goes home on Top Model, first or second or third, but it’s the one who has that fierceness, that uhh, that I feel any woman could have. Tips, tricks, and then that uhh.”