Former Co-Star Talks About Working With Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks of 'Dancing With the Stars'

ABC Tyra Banks of 'Dancing With the Stars'

A former co-star of “Dancing With the Stars” host Tyra Banks is dishing the dirt on “America’s Next Top Model,” which she described as “the cruise ship from hell” in an essay for Gawker.

Read on for what writer/comedian Sarah Hartshorne had to say about her time on the show, including how it left her “stone cold broke.”

Hartshorne Was On ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Cycle 9, Which Started With A Cruise

ANTM Cycle 9 – Makeovers#antm #americasnexttopmodel #makeovers2021-09-30T13:00:59Z

In her essay, Hartshorne detailed how she and the other 33 contestants who were going to battle it out in the premiere episode were blindfolded and taken to a cruise ship. They weren’t allowed to speak to each other when they weren’t on camera and then Sarah had to have her first photo taken for her “boarding pass” right after throwing up all over the parking lot.

The first challenge was a runway walk modeling life jackets, but apparently, the rest of the cruise wasn’t informed about “America’s Next Top Model” being on board — and one of them called the contestants “b****es” and spit on them.

Hartshorne wrote:

If [the runway] part of the episode looks weird, it’s because the editors had to cut around the yells and jeers from the regular passengers around us, who apparently did not know they had signed up to be extras on a reality show. A Pixar cartoon of a grandmother in a floral, skirted swimsuit screamed in my face, “I came all the way from Idaho, and you B****ES ruined my vacation!” before spitting at us.

She said they spent days being shuffled from windowless room to windowless room. In one, the show’s “team of lawyers” reminded them again and again that if they violated their contracts, the show would sue them (and their family members) for $5 million.

Hartshorne also said that once they were cut from the show, they couldn’t go home, but the $38 per day they were given to buy food was taken away. So they were sequestered in a hotel where they could only order room service and they had to pay for it themselves.

“We were kept in a hotel for two weeks, during which we had to pay for food out of our own pocket. Because we weren’t allowed to leave the hotel, our only options were room service. By the end of the show, I went home stone cold broke,” wrote the former contestant.

She Described the Surreal Scene Where they Met Tyra Banks For the First Time

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On the ship, after spending several days with Miss J. Alexander in charge, they finally met host Tyra Banks. Hartshorne described the current “Dancing With the Stars” host as “stunning,” but the whole scene was very surreal.

Hartshorne wrote:

Tyra. Stunning, six feet tall, dressed like a showgirl, surrounded by a team of beautiful men all dancing behind her in sailors’ outfits that looked like they came from Wish. She was singing a song, but we were told to scream through it, which we did, and then we did it again, and again, and again. For four or five takes, we screamed at the top of our lungs, completely drowning her out every time. I assumed it would sound better when the episode aired (it didn’t).

She said Banks was “distinctive” and “authoritative,” but ultimately, the whole endeavor was full of awkward moments and “surreality.”

“When people ask me what being on ‘Top Model’ was like, to this day I never know what to say besides ‘weird.’ The cruise has become an emblematic memory of the show for me: a seemingly fun, whimsical, relaxing experience that was, in fact, both tedious and disorienting,” wrote Hartshorne.

She is not the first “America’s Next Top Model” contestant to spill the tea about the show. Former contestant Lisa D’Amato put up an Instagram video asking Tyra how she sleeps at night over the way the show treated its cast members. D’Amato also said in a separate interview that Banks kicked her out of the casting process for not asking her (Banks) about her modeling career.

Jay Manuel, who was a judge and creative director on “America’s Next Top Model,” told the “Just the Sip” podcast that after he left the show and subsequently returned, Banks refused to talk to him for nearly the entire season when the cameras weren’t rolling.

“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been picked up for season 31. If it does get renewed, it should premiere in September 2022.

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