Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks took to Instagram and Twitter to share her thoughts on America’s Next Top Model cycle 23, which debuted last week. The good news: The reboot of the show is adding Ashley Graham to the cast as a judge. The bad news: There are no plus-size contestants on this particular season. Brooks, who modeled for Lane Bryant’s most recent commercial, was shocked by this contradiction.
“After watching ANTM last night, I was super excited to see my girl Ashley Graham but bummed out not to see any plus contestants. A curvy judge but no curvy contestants?,” she wrote on her Instagram. “This could’ve been a perfect opportunity for them to highlight fabulous designers that also do plus fashion or highlight strictly plus designers that rarely get any shine. They could’ve also highlighted the struggles that come with being plus.”
This isn’t the first time Brooks has spoken up about the lack of visibility for plus-size models. Earlier this year, she teamed up with Refinery29 and Getty Images for The 67% Project. The initiative brought awareness to the fact that even though 67 percent of the population is over size 16, that size range represents only two percent of the bodies seen in media.
“We are worth these incredible opportunities. We deserve to be seen,” Brooks continued in her Instagram message. “I’m going to continue to push back and speak up for that young girl that wants to model, wants to act, wants to be upfront, and needs to be reminded that she is just as deserving as anyone else.” Here, here!
ANTM has been around since 2003, and there have been a number of plus-size models on the show. However, there has only been one plus-size winner. Whitney Thompson took home the title in Cycle 10, which was back in 2008. And even though cycle 23 is being touted as a reboot of the show, the 28-person cast has a big hole without a plus-size contestant. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for this round, but that’s alright,” Graham told E! News. “Hopefully for season two—I’m looking for the woman who wins to be plus size. I think it would be so epic.” We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one, too.
Here’s what Danielle Brooks had to say about the ANTM casting.
In a major throwback moment, we’re taking a look back at some of the women who competed as plus-size models in previous seasons of ANTM to see where they are now. Some of them have changed, but they still have the beauty and confidence we remember.