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Did Tyra Banks bully Blacks on 'America’s Next Top Model'? Inside the shocking scandal and Angelea Preston lawsuit

'This is part of the reason I stopped watching the show. I always felt Tyra had a vendetta for darker skinned Black women,' said a viewer
UPDATED APR 13, 2021
'America's Next Top Model' host/ executive producer Tyra Banks was sued by former contestant Angelea Preston for $3 million (Tyra Banks / Instagram)
'America's Next Top Model' host/ executive producer Tyra Banks was sued by former contestant Angelea Preston for $3 million (Tyra Banks / Instagram)

Tyra Banks' show 'America's Next Top Model' was one of the most popular shows on television during the early 2000s. The supermodel was not only the executive producer of the show but also the hostess and one of the judges on the show. The reality competition show revolved around aspiring models from across the country being groomed to become the next supermodel in the industry.

The glitz, glamor, drama between the contestants, and the subtle shade by the judges towards the aspiring models, were enough to keep the audience hooked to the show. Although the show was definitely entertaining and fun to watch back in the day if you rewatched it today chances are you might cringe on hearing the feedback of the judges or feel extremely uncomfortable watching how Tyra treated certain contestants, especially persons of color (POC). Ever so often Tyra begins trending on Twitter when people rewatch 'ANTM' and begin criticizing the supermodel for her 'bullying behavior. 


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Was Tyra Banks a 'bully' and 'racist' on 'America's Next Top Model'?

There are numerous clips across the internet featuring snippets from the popular The CW show where Tyra can be seen giving some very questionable feedback or criticism to the contestants or even setting up inappropriate challenges that the contestants might not entirely be on board with. For instance, one of the cycles had a 'bi-racial' photoshoot where the caucasian contestants were made to do a 'Black face', and one of the contestants was even asked to fix the gap in her teeth. 

The nude photo shoot which is a part of the show left a few contestants a bit uncomfortable. Instead of trying to make them comfortable about posing nude or understanding the reason behind certain contestants' reluctance and hesitation, Tyra and the other judges used to constantly push the contestants into doing the challenges they were up for saying they have to push themselves out of their comfort zone. The judges also insensitively deemed contestants as unwilling to cooperate if they resisted doing any challenge or photoshoots.

Tyra Banks (Getty Images)

In fact, former contestant Jeana Turner of the show's 24th cycle made an explosive tell-all video on YouTube where she revealed the behind-the-scenes of 'America's Next Top Model'. She described her experience on the show as "exploitative" and even claimed to be traumatized by Tyra and the other judges when they shamed her for doing photoshoots for Playboy. 

Watch the video here:


A user tweeted, "This is part of the reason I stopped watching the show. I always felt Tyra had a vendetta for darker skinned Black women." Another user shared, "So, Tyra’s trending for her exploitation and degradation of hundreds of young women again .. I got time." "You guys are just realizing Tyra Banks is a colorist bully....especially to dark skin women. I noticed it early on and stopped watching. As a dark skin girl, I heard some of the same lines she masked as constructive criticism," pointed out another user.




In case you're wondering how Tyra feels about these criticisms then we got you covered. In May 2020, the supermodel tweeted acknowledging that she was 'insensitive' on "some past ANTM" moments. "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. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs," she posted.


Why did Angelea Preston sue Tyra Banks and The CW?

Tyra's biases finally caught up to her when former contestant Angelea Preston sued the hostess / executive producer of 'America's Next Top Model' and The CW for denying her the winning prize despite winning the show's cycle 17 in 2011. The show's winner gets a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics and a magazine fashion spread, which is a huge deal in the modeling world.

Despite winning the season, unfortunately, Angelea still couldn't enjoy her spoils as she was "disqualified" because she worked as an escort for a year prior to joining the show. Angelea sued Tyra and The CW for $3 million, which she estimated as her loss of earnings due to being disqualified.


Tyra is currently working on launching ModelLand, a “first-of-its-kind, story-driven” fashion and modeling attraction in Santa Monica. ModelLand hopes to help visitors reimagine what it means to be ‘attractive’ in today’s world. The destination was founded on the idea of helping “[people of] all shapes AND all sizes AND all ages AND all shades deserve to feel beautiful, powerful, and experience the fantasy version of themselves,” the ModelLand website explains. “When you step into ModelLand, you enter a fantastical world where we will celebrate your uniqueness while we help you masters your angles and up your photo game," reveals the brand's website.