It’s been just over two weeks since Tyra Banks reclaimed her position at the head of America’s Next Top Model‘s judging panel, but the 43-year-old is already stirring the pot.
The supermodel, television producer, and makeup mogul has announced she is removing the age limit from the ANTM contestant application, opening the modeling competition up to contenders of all ages.
“There have been 23 cycles of America’s Next Top Model, and every single cycle we say you have to be 27 years old or younger,” Banks said in a video message she tweeted Saturday. “You know what I hear all the time? ‘Tyra, come on! Why have an age limit?’ So, you know what? I’m taking that age limit off. You want to audition for America’s Next Top Model? I don’t care how old you are, honey.”
While the age limit is a thing of the past, Banks asks that potential contestants come prepared to do two things: “You just need to know how to smize and be open to learning how to work the runway like a supermodel,” she says.
Banks, who was also recently hired as the new host of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, confirmed she would return to the show she launched back in 2003 after taking a short hiatus from the judges’ panel throughout cycle 23 — the show’s first to air on VH1. Pop star Rita Ora replaced Banks in the interim.
Across its 14-year run, ANTM has often imposed limits on applicants’ height and age, though exceptions have been made — most notably cycle 13, which featured only women under the fashion industry standard height of 5’7″. Previous editions of Top Model have also prominently showcased British contestants (cycle 18), college students (cycle 19), and male competitors (cycles 20, 21, and 22).
“In putting these girls on the show and saying, ‘You are beautiful,’ I wasn’t necessarily telling them they were beautiful; I was using them as a vessel to tell millions of girls around the world who looked like them that they were beautiful,” Banks — referencing the unorthodox casting decisions she often makes on ANTM — told EW in an exclusive interview last month. “This has always been a passion of mine. It’s so nice to see it’s normalizing. I guess Top Model has normalized what difference is in beauty.”
ANTM‘s 24th cycle will shoot this summer. Model hopefuls are encouraged to apply by submitting their name, age, stats, contact information, and three photos to VH1TopModel@gmail.com. Watch Banks’ discuss the new application process above.