While we first thought this story might be a tall tale, it seems to be true. For Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model, the producer's have added a twist: short models. While previous seasons have required ANTM hopefuls to stand over 5'7, Cycle 13 will require all contestants to be 5'7 or shorter. According to Jeff Tobler, a publicist for The CW, "for this current cycle, they (contestants) must be 57 and under. Anyone over 57 would not be considered to be a contestant on this cycle."
You did not hallucinate that last sentence. Despite the fact that the average working runway model is well over 5'8'', ANTM has decided to bring on the shorties. Seeing that ANTM has already had a difficult time getting it's competitors to transition from reality TV to the real runway, it would seem that the show has simply given up on crowning bookable high fashion models.
We have to admit, this decision has left us scratching our head in confusion. The previous 11 Cycle's of ANTM have consistently talked down to catalog models and girls who look "too commercial." In the modeling world, catalog and "too commercial" are often interchangeable with "too short for the runway." So have Tyra and Co. decided to focus on finding America's Next Great Catalog Model, rather than America's Next Top Model?
Furthermore, aren't there more important body and size related issues in fashion than height? It would make much more sense for Tyra and Co. to host a Cycle filled with Plus Sized contestants, for whom there is plenty of work both in catalogs and on the runway, rather than a season filled with short models. If Tyra really does want to change the face and figure of fashion, as she has claimed for the past 11 Cycle's on ANTM, she is certainly going about it in a strange way. While the world has long called for more realistic standards in the modeling industry, we don't think they were talking about height Tyra.