It was announced back in February that VH1 would be bringing back the world’s most popular modeling competition reality show America’s Next Top Model, and now we finally know who all of the new panelists are who will be replacing Tyra Banks, Banks, Kelly Cutrone, and Miss J. Alexander!
The new judges, USA Today exclusively reveals, are model Ashley Graham, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover star known for her body-positive messaging; Drew Elliott, chief creative officer of Paper magazine (behind Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” bare-booty cover); and stylist Law Roach, who counts Zendaya and Ariana Grande as clients and recently worked with Céline Dion in Paris.
“It’s no longer just about having the highest cheekbones and best pout and the best hair,” executive producer (and former host) Tyra Banks told USA Today via phone. “My goal is to really get into these girls’ heads that I’m not looking for some successful model and I’m not looking for some social-media star. I’m looking for both. I’m looking for a hybrid, because that’s where the world is.”
From VH1’s February press release:
“We’re thrilled to bring America’s Next Top Model back to VH1 and partner with CBS Television Distribution and Tyra Banks to reinvent this franchise for a whole new generation,” said Chris McCarthy, General Manager of VH1. “This is a homecoming for the series, as VH1 helped catapult the show to cultural icon status as the first cable network to air the show after it launched.”
“We could not be more excited to bring back and breathe new life into one of the greatest unscripted franchises on television,” said Scott Koondel, chief licensing officer for CBS Corp. “VH1 is the perfect partner for this new endeavor and we hope this is the beginning of a long relationship.”
Tyra Banks concluded, “After creating an incredible, global brand, I am beyond excited to have the show reborn. I will continue as Executive Producer, but must turn my attention to new business endeavors, so I want to find a new host. I’m pumped to identify that person and bring back the show. Top Model fans, you demanded that the show come back, and VH1 answered the call. Get ready for a fierce-a-fied rebirth!”
New host Rita Ora also spoke with USA Today and shared her approach to hosting: “The approach I wanted to have as a host and judge to the girls is what my career stands for at this moment in time, which is being a businesswoman and being able to do multiple things at the same time, whether it’s music or shooting (magazine covers) and being in movies and designing clothes,” Rita says.
The 23rd cycle of America’s Next Top Model will feature all female contestants competing over 14 episodes, and the show is already a week into production. “I actually just finished my first elimination,” Rita reveals. “I can’t go into detail, but it was definitely an emotional one.”