Janice Dickinson Doesn’t Regret Her America’s Next Top Model Antics
“People forget that TV is acting.”
Aside from her scathing commentary as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, Janice Dickson has been accused of bullying, body-shaming, and racism in recent weeks. Though the Tyra Banks-fronted reality competition, which ran for 15 seasons, has been off the air since 2018, several problematic clips have continued to resurface on Twitter. Among them is one in which Dickinson referred to a model as “fat,” remarking that a top supermodel can’t be plus-sized, while another showed her making what some believed to be monkey sounds while criticizing a Black contestant’s darker complexion.
Despite the backlash, however, Dickinson has no regrets about her behavior. After a fan asked in a Sept. 1 Instagram Q&A if she regretted anything she did or said on ANTM, she replied in a video, “Uh, no. It was acting, and that’s that.” Dickinson reiterated that sentiment in the post’s caption, writing, “People forget that TV is acting.”
In a 2015 Oprah: Where Are They Now interview on OWN, Dickinson chalked her commentary up to being part of an onscreen persona. “When I was hired to do America’s Next Top Model, Tyra hired me to be like a female Simon Cowell, to be feeding, in negative fashion, things about the girls,” she explained at the time.
Banks, for her part, has also come under fire in recent years for other ANTM clips that did not age well, to say the least. One Season 6 clip, which resurfaced 14 years later in 2020, showed the ANTM host confronting contestant Dani Evans about the “not marketable” gap in her front teeth, claiming she’d never get a CoverGirl contract if she didn’t get it closed. Evans eventually partially closed her gap, and was later crowned the winner of that cycle, scoring a $100,000 CoverGirl contract, which the cosmetics company renewed multiple times.
In May 2020, Evans responded to the controversy in a seven-minute Instagram video. Explaining that she auditioned for ANTM to get out of her home state of Arkansas, she recalled feeling “basically set up” after “not being told Tyra wants me to get my gap closed” by a producer. She said she saw the dentist visit as the only option that wouldn’t send her packing “back to Little Rock, Arkansas.” Wanting to “make a better life” for herself, she didn’t feel her decision was “copping out.” Instead, she said, “it was about understanding what holds weight and value in my life and teeth was not one of them.”
Two days later, Banks addressed the backlash in a since-deleted tweet. “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” wrote Banks, who created and executive produced the show which aired on UPN and The CW before moving to VH1 in 2016. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”
At least she didn’t blame her poor choices on acting.