“Who will be America’s next top model…” Those were the words that had us all on the edge of out seats as we waited for Tyra to pull that lucky girl’s picture out of the pile. Since 2003, Tyra has managed to keep us all glued to our TVs every week to see which girl became one step closer to gracing the covers of our favorite magazines and gaining the chance of a lifetime. A curveball was thrown when co-stars, Nigel Barker, J. Alexander, and Jay Manuel were informed that they will not be returning for Cycle 19. That’s one we didn’t see coming.
On April 19th, the three cast members that have been present since the inception of the show in 2003 besides Tyra herself, were informed that their contracts would not be renewed and that ultimately, they would be replaced. Although their spots will be filled, they all served different purposes on the show.
- Former model and fashion photographer, Nigel Barker is known mostly for his photographic expertise. He started off with guest appearances and eventually became apart of the panel permanently. Nigel was known for giving his critique from the standpoint of a photographer and often led photo shoots with the models himself. Being that most of the judges were models, it created a great balance to have a photographer on the panel to give an opinion from behind the camera.
- J. Alexander or “Miss J” as we know him, was always known for adding spice to the show from his quirky remarks to his female persona. J. Alexander served as the runway coach and “diva extraordinaire” on the panel. In his own way, he applied his experience as a model and his title of “Queen of Runway” by helping the girls own their walk on and off the runway.
- Jay Manuel, who’s known for his platinum hair and feisty attitude, definitely played a huge part on the show. With his background as a make-up artist, model, and fashion photographer, he was well versed in the modeling world. He served as the creative director of most of the photo shoots and was also known for revamping the looks of the girls on the show. Although he was known for sometimes disappointing the contestants with his extreme make-overs, he always had a vision and stuck to it.
Although the powerhouse trio that we have grown to love today will be leaving, the producers plan to take the show in another direction for Cycle 19.
The New York Post states that, “Producers are looking to add a social media slant to the show, and they’ve already reached out to bloggers and fashion insiders with a strong Web presence…”
There’s even been talk of street-style blogger Bryan Boy and People’s Revolution founder, Kelly Cutrone, coming on board to liven things up.
With all the changes being made, it’s good to know that there isn’t any bad blood. Nigel shared on his blog, “I will miss the cast, the crew and ANTM will always have a special place in my heart, having made life-long friendships with countless fond memories.” Well put Nigel, well put. I’m sure America has a lot to look forward to in the next season. We’ll all be waiting.