Trans Model Isis King Gets Robbed by America’s Next Top Model
After getting booted from America’s Next Top Model cycle 11, transgender model Isis King again has again been sent home. On last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model: All-Stars, King, who told reporters that “the world will see more of my personality” this season, was found lackluster by judges.
For their daily challenge, the contestants were divided into two teams and each woman was interviewed on the air by Extra’s Mario Lopez. The team that did the best — Bianca, Allison, Bre, Camille, Shannon, and Kayla — was then exempt from elimination at last night’s panel.
King did fine at the Extra taping, albeit a bit less multi-dimensional than some girls. Even so, her team lost and she faced elimination last night alongside Lisa, Laura, Alexandria, Dominique, and Angelea.
All the models then faced a shoot in which they were photographed by Sarah Silver, in pairs, while on enormous black stilts. Some, like Alexandria, took to the challenge like Lady Gaga (according to gay judge Andre Leon Talley) while others (like lesbian model Kayla — who has sadly, been saddled with “free” as her brand identity) fell short.
But, the shot between Isis and Camille was one of the night’s losers. So-cute-we-can’t-believe-he’s-straight judge Nigel Barker said it was the first pix that “didn’t blow me away.” Same goes for guest host Kristin Cavallari, who is somehow qualified to judge the women on their modeling abilities (and watch Tyra Banks introduce more words like “booty tooch” to the American public) because she was on MTV’s The Hills and Laguna Beach.
In the end, the battle for who stayed came down to two beautiful women of color: King and self-described hood rat Angelea, both of whom Banks said did not actually have the worst photos of the night (but were on the losing team). King, who — either by her own doing or the virtues of post-production editing — has been seen by some critics as less interesting as the competition moves forward, was deemed to have the least exciting of the two photos and was sent home.
King, who was discovered years ago by Banks while living in a transitional housing facility for LGBT youth, has now been the only reality TV contestant to appear on a competition show before and after gender reassignment surgery, and her appearance was groundbreaking by pushing the visibility of trans people into America’s homes just as Chaz Bono is doing on Dancing With the Stars.
But King, who bragged to reporters that this season wouldn’t be all about her being trans, may have focused too much on being just one of the girls, forgetting how special she is. (After all, in the same episode, her photo partner Camille, worried in her on-air confessional that she couldn’t be shown up by King (as a trans woman) because she was a “real” woman. The world doesn’t let us women like King forget their roots, so she should use that to her advantage not detriment.)
“On [Cycle 11] you see me sheltered and nervous or seemed to be because I was in the midst of my transition,” King told Digital Spy earlier this month. “I have now gone all the way, I have my gender reassignment surgery and have breast augmentation. I wanted to come back and show the fans 'look at me now' like the Chris Brown song. I'm way more confident… I'm coming back as a fashion designer, an actress, a motivational speaker, a model. I'm more than just a model, I'm more than just a girl who can walk in the runway. I also feel I was axed out of the show way too soon, so this time I wanted to show the world why I should be here and why I'm a brand.”
At the end of judging last night, Banks told King, clearly shocked to get the boot, that she must now go into the world and use her platform to take her brand to the next level. Let’s hope America lets her do that.