Why I'm boycotting NZ's Next Top Model

Last updated 08:29 15/08/2011

I had real trouble writing this opening paragraph. No matter how many times I came up with a first line, it always seemed as though I was trying to avoid getting to the point - that I'm boycotting New Zealand's Next Top Model from this point on.

20110815Friday's episode, in which the girls headed to Abu Dhabi for challenges and a photo shoot, was a huge disappointment. But it wasn't just that one episode; in fact, I've been struggling with many of Top Model's foibles for weeks now, and the latest episode just saw my own impatience come to a head.

For a start, I thought it was criminally unfair that Aroha was kicked off the show in the manner she was, failing a challenge that she didn't even know was taking place and leaving the group after she had already received her boarding pass for the flight to Abu Dhabi. It was a cruel exit for a contestant who has been one of the brighter stars so far, and a nasty excuse to either get rid of the one plus-size model on the show (a conspiracy theory floating round the NZNTM message boards) or manufacture a shocking, emotionally charged scene for the show.

The image of a sobbing, hyperventilating Aroha talking about her elimination was enough to convince anyone watching that it was a severely traumatic experience for the poor girl.

It also shone a light on the baffling nature of the NZNTM judging method (which I mentioned a few weeks ago): the worst contestant is removed every week, based only on their performance in that week's episode. For example, Aroha was one of the top performers throughout this latest cycle, so to see her kicked off for a relatively minor indiscretion was disgraceful - if the judges had considered her performance in the series so far, there's no way in hell she would have been removed.

The poor judging reared its ugly head again later in the episode, when Hillary - another strong contestant - was removed from the show for a single bad photo shoot. I can't help but think there are too many variables in the judging to base a decision solely on a single week of the show. For example, who picks the single shot that the girls are judged on? Does a single person decide this based on predetermined criteria? Also, since Sara Tetro eventually signs the winner to her own modelling agency, doesn't she have a conflict of interest in the sense that she might want to weed out contestants (say, a plus-size model) who might not do as well for her agency?

It also saddens me to see bullying become such a big part of life in the house and on the show. For example, from what I saw on Friday, it appears that most of the girls are treating Bianca - the clear favourite, in my opinion - as some kind of strange outsider because she is a little younger and quirkier than they are.

Think about the sight of AJ chasing Bianca around the pool because she wants to read a book instead of going for a swim, or the five girls receiving the second Sara Mail then tossing up whether or not to tell Bianca (who was having some alone time), complete with Hillary saying "we've got our top five right here!"

Speaking of AJ, I actually don't think a lot of her as a person: she seems ignorant of the world and the people around her, is particularly unforgiving of differences in personality, and has been one of the ringleaders when it comes to bullying in the house - remember, she also was pretty hard on Tyne, once upon a time.

I believe that bullying should be factored in to the final decision on who goes home each week, yet the NZNTM producers and judges don't seem to mention it at all. By not punishing bullying or reprimanding those at fault, the show inadvertently condones the behaviour that goes on in the house.

Before you say it in the comments: yes, I understand that nastiness is just a part of the show, that it's common on reality game shows of this type. I just think that NZNTM's behaviour seems to be at a lower level than its competitors' - where the bullying on other shows is usually focused around the show itself, the bullying we're seeing on NZNTM seems to be much more personal. I'd like to think that most other shows would have put a stop to the behaviour before now.

At any rate, that's why I'm boycotting the show from now on. The judging portion of the show seems patently unfair, there seems to be a tendency toward manufactured emotional responses from the contestants, and bullying isn't reprimanded. I've had enough, so I'm not watching any more.

What do you think: have you had enough of New Zealand's Next Top Model? Have you stopped, or will you stop, watching the show? Alternatively, do you think I'm being unfair to the show? Tell me what you think.

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Bridget Batchelar   #1   08:35 am Aug 15 2011

I too, was disgusted at the manner in which Aroha was booted off. So unfair and it did seem so contrivied just to make a "watchable" scene. She came across as so lovely and one of the top contenders the entire show. I certainly won't be watching any more. The point the bullying of Bianca has gotten too as well, makes it pretty uncomfortable viewing.

Dandy   #2   08:36 am Aug 15 2011

I'm boycotting it too. Because I have testicles...

jackie   #3   08:38 am Aug 15 2011

I totally agree. Had watched the show fr the first time. Airport challenge adsurd and humiliating for the contestant eliminated. Re Bianca and her "different " nature. I cant help but question how much of that situation has been manufactured for reality television too. Wont be watching again.

lolzwut   #4   08:43 am Aug 15 2011

I only watched the first episode but couldn't stomach anymore after that. It's pretty much an embarrassment compared with other countries NTM.

MJ   #5   08:44 am Aug 15 2011

I barely managed to watch the first couple of episodes before giving it up.

button   #6   08:46 am Aug 15 2011

Horribly unfair on Aroha. Terrible decision. And Hillary was definately the strongest one left. Can't understand what they are doing, so I'm not watching anymore either.

Me too   #7   08:46 am Aug 15 2011

I agree. It was a disgrace ... Hillary was also the last South Island contender which stings a little for the Mainland!! But aside from that, she was the most well behaved and seemingly mature of the group (despite her age), plus she took fantastic photos every week. A.J. behaved worse than Aroha in the van on the way to the airport ... all that attention seeking behaviour didn't even earn her a slap on the wrist. The show is a disgrace and an embarrassment ... I too won't be watching it next week.

Tired of NZNTM   #8   08:48 am Aug 15 2011

I missed this episode because I stopped watching after last week's episode. The judging is terrible and many of the girls unpleasant. They're just too young. I thought Aroha was one of the most beautiful girls on the show. Can't believe she was ejected in the manner described. Can't believe the vacant AJ is still there. I won't be watching any more of the show.

Tracey   #9   08:48 am Aug 15 2011

I didn't like the way Aroha was kicked off at all either but knew she wasn't going to win. A 'plus size' model winning NZ's next top model?? I dont think so. It was never going to happen which is unfortunate as she's a stunner and I'm sure will go far. NZ's Next Top Model....You suck!

Faye   #10   08:49 am Aug 15 2011

I sometimes tape it as I enjoy seeing the photo shoots, but the programme itself really irritates me. If it's not Colin "I'm so in love with myself" Madhatter Jaffa (or what it sounds like!) poncing around or making inappropriate comments, it's the girls acting like bullies. I agree with you that the bullying seems sort of accepted, almost like it's part of the plan to toughen up the girls. I thought Aroha was lovely - she was so natural and friendly, but that's probably not what makes a good model in Skinny Sara's eyes. I don't like AJ at all, she walks like a heffalump and looks like she's half-asleep all the time! I'm not a fan of Bianca either, mainly due to the fact we know a guy who looks a lot like her and every time we see her we think "oh no, it's Paddy's sister!" I totally agree that it shouldn't come down to a bad photo - half the time what I think is a great photo the judges think is rubbish and vice versa. Some of the girls seem to have no spark at all this time around and if they are so hard to direct in a competition where they have a vested interest in doing well, then how on earth will they cope in the modelling world?

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