I don’t wear make-up or fashionable clothes. (The closest I’ve ever come to a designer label is when I pass by the Issac Mizrahi rack at Target.) I think fashion magazines are ridiculous and fashion shows a waste of human brain power. I have no idea what couture is (or even how to spell it—thank you spellchecker) and as a feminist I find the whole ideas of models slightly offensive.
Yet, despite all this, I love America’s Next Top Model. (For those of you smart enough to stay away from television, ANTM is a reality show created by Tyra Banks in which 17 girls compete for a chance to become the next famous supermodel.) Obviously I don’t like it for the fashion or the lifestyle, I like it because I see what the show is really about. It’s not about girls trying to get a contract with Cover Girl, it’s about girls stepping out of their comfort zones to live an untemplater life.
In fact, I think those of us trying to break out of the mold can learn a lot from the show. Sure, the specifics are all about modeling, but the lessons are universal.
Make Yourself Uncomfortable
The models never know what is in store for them on each photo shoot and inevitably someone is made to feel extremely uncomfortable. It’s either the deeply religious girl asked to pose nude, or the girl with a fear of water doing an underwater shoot. They get scared, really scared, and often times even have some sort of panic attack.
But then there is a moment where some of them stop themselves, take a few deep breaths and march forward. Those that face their fears end up thriving while the ones that hold back and refuse to grow are inevitably sent home.
We are all put in uncomfortable situations, especially when making big changes, and we can pull our head and feet into our shell and fail. Or we can take a few deep breaths, push out our head and feet and move forward with confidence. When you chose the road less traveled you might encounter more monsters in the woods. But they guard treasure and the braver you are, the more rewards you will get.
There is Always More to Learn
Inevitably every season (or ‘cycle’ as Tyra calls it) has girls that think they are hot sh**. They did some modeling for the local supermarket and think they know everything there is to know. They drool over ridiculously priced designer clothes they can’t afford to replace the funky ones they’ve bought with coupons. They don’t listen to the coach, and they don’t listen to the judges. They never last long because of it.
Even if you are an expert in your field with 10 years of experience and multiple successful companies under your belt there is always something new to learn. There is way too much information in this world for us to grasp even a small part of it and helpful ideas and advice can come from just about anyone. You have to be open and humble enough to recognize new ideas when you hear it. And you should always take freely given advice gracefully (though whether you follow it is entirely up to you).
You are Being Judged
At the end of every episode the models stand before a panel of judges and have their latest photo critiqued. But the judges go one step further and critique everything from the clothes they are wearing to the way they are standing. And they aren’t nice about it. Often the judges ask the girls to remove or change pieces of their clothing right there in the judging chamber.
At first I thought it was unnecessarily cruel but then I realized how refreshing it was. We live in a sanitized, water down world where “everyone gets a medal just for playing.” But really we are being judged all the time. A fact we often forget. We are judged on our blog posts, our phone calls, even the strength of our handshake. We are constantly being judged (and judging) as we go through our day. So you need to keep that in mind and always try your hardest at everything you do. After all, you never know when you will lose a customer, or a reader, a potential client because of your lack of detail or passion.
So while you might not ever want to be America’s Next Top Model, you should follow your passion, act fierce and do everything you can to be America’s Next Top Entrepreneur.