Toccara Jones Defends Tyra Banks Amid ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Exploitation Rumors

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  • Tyra Banks
    Tyra Banks
    American television personality
  • Toccara Jones
    Toccara Jones
    American fashion model
Tyra Banks And Ace King Productions Celebrate The Release Of The "America's Next Top Model" Mobile Game - Red Carpet
Tyra Banks And Ace King Productions Celebrate The Release Of The "America's Next Top Model" Mobile Game - Red Carpet

Source: Rodin Eckenroth / Getty

Former Top Model contestant, Toccara Jones is stepping in to defend Tyra Banks amid some wild rumors that have alleged the Smize founder of exploiting some of the past contenders on her hit show America’s Next Top Model.

Jones told TMZ that it was unrealistic to expect Banks to hand out serious cash to compete on the show because well… it was just a competition. She thinks Tyra is well-deserving of all of the money she’s raked in from the decade-long series. America’s Next Top Model first made its debut with UPN in May of 2003. The reality TV series and interactive competition followed aspiring models as they competed for a chance to break into the modeling industry and for a whopping cash prize. Banks was the show’s creator and executive producer all the way up until its final season in 2018.

Jones told the outlet that unfortunately a lot of newbies in the modeling industry are underpaid noting that it was absolutely “unheard of” for models to be paid during a contest. She thinks that was the whole point of the prize money. You get paid when you win, right?

RELATED CONTENT: Tyra Banks Is Bashed Again After A Former ‘ANTM’ Contestant Says They Were Paid Only $40 A Day

The allegations surfaced following a scathing interview that season nine Top Model contestant, Sarah Hartshorne, had with The Post earlier this month. Hartshorne claimed that everything wasn’t all glitz and glam behind the scenes.

“We were not paid at all for being on the show,” the 34-year-old former plus-size model revealed.

“We were given a $38 daily cash stipend that we had to use to pay for our own food. And they didn’t even give us a microwave to heat the food up.”

She alleged that the show’s production staff kept all the girls “in the dark about almost everything” and that most of the time everyone was absolutely “tired, stressed, sleep-deprived and hungry” while filming. According to Hartshorne, who now works as a standup comedian, America’s Next Top Model did absolutely nothing for her career.

“Being on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ didn’t really open doors in the modeling world for a lot of people. It just gives aspiring models a glimpse of what to expect if we want to make it in the industry,” she added.

After the interview leaked, reactions spilled over to social media with some fans calling out Banks about the alleged mistreatment. On Twitter, Hartshorne responded to one social media goer who commented, “The fact that girls on ANTM were getting paid $40 an episode and Tyra and them judges were making BANK, is kinda sick.” Hartshorne replied back, “$40 a day, no residuals, and we had to pay for food.”

Yikes!

According to Forbes, Banks did reel in a serious payday from the show. It’s estimated that the Dancing with the Stars host earned $30 million in just 12 months as the creator and host of America’s Next Top Model. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Banks has been criticized for mistreating past contestants. In May 2020, social media critics tore into the star for the way she treated cycle six winner Danielle Evans. The Inglewood, California native chastised Evans for her refusal to undergo reconstructive dental work in order to appear “more marketable” for mainstream media, The Post noted. Following the backlash, Banks took to social media to apologize.

So what do you think? Was Tyra being stingy or are you siding with the Smize queen on this one? Tell us down below!

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