America's Next Top Model dream hosts: Who should fill in for Tyra Banks?
Following the announcement that VH1 will revive Tyra Banks’ long-running reality competition series America’s Next Top Model for a 14-episode, New York City-set reboot, all seemed right with the world as yet another beloved-yet-canceled series received a new lease on life. But there was one rub: Banks revealed she would only return as an executive producer and not an on-air staple.
So, who can realistically replace Banks as the head judge and host of the fiercest show on TV? From various members of Taylor Swift’s squad to memorable contestants from the series’ past, check out EW’s list of ANTM dream hosts who could easily fill Banks’ sky-high stilettos below.
She appeared in music videos from Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk” and Calvin Harris’ “How Deep Is Your Love” to Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” but joining America’s Next Top Model’s female-centric panel as head judge and host might be the right opportunity for Gigi Hadid to finally front a group instead of hanging out on the sidelines. The 20-year old model featured in campaigns for Guess, Tom Ford, and Maybelline, while she also posed for editorials in V Magazine and Vogue. Her runway credits include walking for Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Anna Sui, and Michael Kors, so she’s got the modeling credibility to back up a bid to fill in for Banks.
Zendaya burst onto the scene with a hit single (2013’s “Replay”) and a starring role in the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up, but she’s evolved into a budding fashion icon over the years, making her an ideal candidate to take over hosting duties on America’s Next Top Model. As a model, Zendaya has worked with national retailers like Macy’s and Old Navy, and her looks consistently dazzle on the red carpet. She’s no stranger to the ANTM family either; the 19-year old actress appeared on an episode of the show’s 20th cycle, posing with contestants during a photo shoot aimed at empowering women by highlighting various physical imperfections. The Top Model brand has always focused on interesting personalities versus legitimate modeling talent, but Zendaya has both.
If she ever gets tired of watching Channing Tatum try his hand at Beyoncé-inspired drag as one of the hosts of Spike TV’s Lip Sync Battle, model Chrissy Teigen could ditch the gig to step into Banks’ shoes as head judge on America’s Next Top Model. Teigen and Banks have a history of friendship, as Banks tapped the 30-year old model as a permanent co-host of the syndicated lifestyle talk show FABLife, which began airing last year. Teigen also appeared on a November 2015 episode of ANTM’s 22nd cycle, offering tips and advice to the aspiring model contestants.
What Tyra Banks accomplished in the world of commercial modeling, Karlie Kloss matches with a lengthy high fashion resume. Kloss began modeling at age 14, and has appeared on covers of various international editions of Vogue in addition to posing for Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Hermes, Lacoste, and Jean Paul Gaultier. She’s got television credits under her belt, too; Kloss co-hosted MTV’s rebooted version of House of Style alongside Joan Smalls in 2012. Kloss’ philanthropic efforts, aimed at empowering young girls, also fall in line with Banks’ mission to inspire (Banks launched TZONE in 1999), seeing as the 23-year old model partnered with the Flatiron School to launch the Kode with Karlie scholarship, which offers free tuition to girls interested in studying coding and software engineering. It’s no wonder Kloss already has Banks’ attention; “One of my fave models right now? Karlie Kloss. Unique, atypical beauty,” the former ANTM host said in a 2011 Twitter post.
With a successful skincare line, decades of supermodel-sized campaigns to her name, and what appears to be an open schedule (she sort of announced her retirement from modeling earlier this year), Cindy Crawford seems like a logical choice to pick up on America’s Next Top Model. From magazine cover shoots for Vogue, Elle, and People to campaigns for Versace, Revlon, L’Oreal, and Pepsi, Crawford’s iconic status as one of the leading supermodels of the world throughout the 1990s is the type of high profile, industry-verified presence a show like ANTM needs to boost its credibility as it heads into a new era.
Though Rebecca Romijn’s modeling career includes work with Victoria’s Secret, Armani, and Sports Illustrated, over the years it was overshadowed by her success as an actress and television host. She’s led the panel of judges on the Game Show Network’s body painting competition, Skin Wars, since 2014, and has a robust filmography of both big and small screen credits. Some of her most notable roles include working with Brian De Palma on the 2002 movie Femme Fatale, playing Mystique in three X-Men movies, and tackling the role of Alexis Meade, the transgender editor of Mode magazine on ABC’s Ugly Betty. Romijn could offer valuable advice on both modeling and acting to ANTM‘s model hopefuls, as the show’s most successful alumni (Analeigh Tipton, Yaya DaCosta) have gone on to star in more high profile films than notable fashion campaigns.
Coco Rocha is another modern supermodel that has already been welcomed into the America’s Next Top Model family. The 27-year old Canadian first appeared on an episode of ANTM’s All-Star edition in 2011, posing alongside contestants from previous cycles during an editorial-inspired photo shoot. Rocha then appeared on a 2015 episode of Australia’s Next Top Model to teach the art of posing to the international edition’s cycle 9 contestants. With a wealth of advertisements to her name, including appearances in shoots for Versace, Balenciaga, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein, Rocha’s standing as one of today’s most prolific models (with vetted television experience, to boot) makes her an ideal fit to lead ANTM through its revival phase.
Past contestants: Jade Cole, Toccara Jones, Mollie Gondi, Analeigh Tipton
Though most America’s Next Top Model contestants — even the winners — don’t end up succeeding in the fashion industry as real-life supermodels, the show has given us some of the most iconic personalities in reality television history, including cycle 6’s Jade Cole, one of the most infamous villains on any competition series ever. A fan favorite, Cole’s unintentional hilarity kept fans glued to the screen, whether she was busy botching a CoverGirl commercial, coining her own vocabulary, or turning her elimination in a performance/spoken word art piece. Jade’s antics deserve to be front and center on ANTM’s revival.
Cycle 3’s vivacious Toccara Jones brought a fierce attitude of self-empowerment to the show, embracing her plus-sized status and translating her ANTM notability into legitimate post-show work, including appearances on VH1’s own Celebrity Fit Club and a July 2008 spread in Vogue Italia. In addition to Jones, cycle 6’s Mollie Gondi is one of the few ANTM alumni who have made it big in the modeling world after appearing on the show. Gondi, who went by the name Mollie Sue while on the show, was the fifth contestant to be eliminated during her cycle, though her post-show career with agencies like Storm Model Management and Ford Models includes appearances in various international versions of Vogue in addition to shoots for Levi’s and Cosmopolitan.
Analeigh Tipton is arguably ANTM’s most successful graduate, having gone on to work extensively in Hollywood since her elimination from the series’ 11th cycle. Since her time on the show, Tipton has worked as an actress with the likes of Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Carrell, Ryan Reynolds, Greta Gerwig, Miles Teller, and Thomas Jane on various projects, including Crazy, Stupid, Love, Lucy, Damsels in Distress, The Green Hornet, Mississippi Grind, Two Night Stand, and HBO’s Hung. Tipton also headlined the short-lived primetime series Manhattan Love Story on ABC, and she’s set to star in the upcoming Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman-directed horror film Viral. Bringing her on as the host of the revival edition of Top Model would bring things full circle, placing one of the show’s legitimate entertainment industry success stories front and center as the face of the series’ future.