Longtime America’s Next Top Model cast members J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Nigel Barker were handed some Tyra mail yesterday, but not the kind that’ll whisk them off to a thrilling international locale. Rather, the runway coach, mentor and photographer (sorry, noted fashion photographer!) were given the axe: their contracts will not be renewed for season 19.
Banks, (who recently graduated from Harvard) confirmed the shocking news via Twitter yesterday, saying: “Fierce & love 2 my Nigel, Jay & Miss J. ANTM turned us in2 a family. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO TyTy”.
The parting seems amicable as Manuel also took to the Internet, announcing on his blog that “I’ve truly been blessed to work on a show that was recognized and loved around the world. I’ll take with me memories and lessons that will last a lifetime.”
So who is in the running to become America’s Next Top Model… judge? Rumours started swirling this morning that Banks had street style blogger Bryanboy’s picture in her hand. Known for his eccentric flair and controversial opinions, the blogger would certainly be a ratings spiker. However, he told Fashionista that he has yet to hear from the show.
Many judges have appeared on ANTM over the years, from models Janice Dickinson and Paulina Porizkova to André Leon Talley—but both of the Js and Barker have been with the show since season one. Their replacement(s) certainly have large shoes to fill, and we will miss Miss J’s fierceness, Manuel’s witty charm and Nigel’s handsomeness valuable advice.
Fashionista: “If you thought the addition of Kelly Cutrone to the ANTM team was a big shakeup, wait until you hear what cycle 19′s cast might look like.” [Fashionista]
E!Online: “Can the budget-conscious, Nielsen-challenged ANTM afford A-list fashionistas (who aren’t already employed by all the other fashion shows)? A better question: Can it afford not to?” [E!Online]
Rani Sheen, copy and health editor: “ANTM has a pretty good track record with its casting decisions—adding André Leon Talley was a genius move—so hiring new judges with more insidery appeal, such as Bryanboy, could inject new life into the show, toothsome as Nigel Barker is. Obligatory Canadian comment: Jay Manuel will be missed as our incredibly tall and tanned ambassador.