Vogue.It. The modeling agency that signs the winner has also changed to IMG Model Management, and for the first time in the show’s history, representatives were present when producers were casting the 14 contestants. “So they had an opinion right from the start of what girls could be viable or not,” says exec producer Ken Mok, adding that the show’s deals with Vogue Italia and IMG have already been re-upped for cycle 16.America’s Next Top Model returns to The CW for cycle 15 tonight at 8 p.m. ET, and with a new magazine partner — Vogue Italia replaces Seventeen — comes a new focus on high fashion. The winner, who still earns her $100,000 CoverGirl contract even though this year’s victor will need to have a more editorial and less commercial look, will get a spread in a Vogue Italia, as well as a second spread and cover for Beauty in Vogue, the beauty magazine of Vogue Italia. She’ll also be prominently featured on the website
With the high fashion focus follows more A-list guest judges joining Tyra Banks, Andre Leon Tally, and Nigel Barker on the panel. They include the likes of fashion photographers Matthew Rolston and Patrick Demarchelier, the latter of whom shoots the girls in Beverly Hills (“This is the first time Patrick has done the show. I mean that was quite a coup,” says Mok). Also designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Diane von Furstenberg, and Zac Posen, the latter of whom hosts a runway show for a challenge, as well as Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field and supermodel Karolina Kurkova.
Mok says the show will continue its socially-conscious photo shoots — the premiere features one about bullying. He also promises that we’ll see more of Tyra this cycle. “She wanted to spend more time with the girls this year on the show, so you’ll find Tyra doing a lot more drop-ins with the girls where she just kind of shows up at the house, sits down with the girls, and talks to them one-on-one about their issues or about issues that are important to her — whether it’s healthy eating or having strong self-esteem, having a good sense of your own body. She gives them a lot of advice this year.”
There are also a lot of memorable characters this year, Mok insists, including Esther and her 30G breasts, sisters Terra and Chris who are “hilarious,” and 6’2″ Ann with her tiny waist. (Again, having a healthy body is one of those issues that’s important to Tyra and will be addressed on the show, Mok says to fans who worry that “high fashion” means ultrathin models).
Will you tune in to see the Top Model makeover?