'America's Next Top Model' biracial photo shoot: Uh, been there, done that

topmodel6_ethnic_composite_big.jpgI'll admit that watching "America's Next Top Model" on Wednesday (Oct. 28) night I was disgusted by the photo shoot where the models were painted in dark make-up and told to pose as if they were bi-racial, each mix being decidedly not what they each are personally.

Not because it was in any way racist, but because we've already seen this photo shoot on "America's Next Top Model." Way back in Season 4 when they girls posed as someone from a country completely different from their own ancestry. Come to think of it, last season in Cylce 12, there was also an Ellis Island shoot with the girls portraying immigrants, surrounded by children of various races. Out of ideas Tyra?

Yet some people appear offended that four white girls, an Asian and an African American were asked to portray a mix of Botswanan and Polynesian, or Malgasy and Japanese, or Moroccan and Russian, or Native American and East Indian, or Tibetan and Egyptian, or Mexican and Greek.

Yes, the context of the girls now being in Hawaii -- birthplace of President Obama -- with it's long tradition of the "hapa" or mixed race culture, was tenuous at best, but it's not like the girls were made to pull their eyes back while standing in the middle of a rice paddy or wearing blackface while eating watermelon.

The mixtures they were given were more about finding the spirit of a culture, not portraying a stereotypical caricature. It would be different if the Moroccan Russian was seen with a hookah in one hand and a shot of vodka in the other.

That's what modeling is about, being able to sell a fantasy and portray something other yourself. In this case, posing as a different ethnicity is no different than posing as a brunette when you're a blonde or trying to pull off a high fashion dress when you only ever wear jeans.

What do you think? Racial injustice or much ado about nothing?

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