6 Reasons Why ‘The Face’ Has Replaced ‘America’s Next Top Model’ In Our Hearts

We’re only 4 episodes in, but truth be told, The Face had us at ‘Naomi’. The new reality series, broadcast on Oxygen in the US and MuchMusic in Canada, has effectively replaced America’s Next Top Model in our hearts as our favourite reality TV modeling competition. Here are 6 reasons why:

1. The Coaches

The coaches are 3 working supermodels, none of whom require any introduction. Who better to learn the ins and outs of modeling from than the likes of The Naomi Campbell herself, former Victoria’s Secret Angel Karolina Kurkova and Canada’s own Coco Rocha. Their unique personalities and modeling styles make for a dynamic cast that has us asking, “Tyra who?”

2. The Models

As seasoned arm-chair modeling competition judges, we like to think we know what it takes to be a model. While the ANTM casting criteria seems to revolve more around sob backstories and odd personalities than actual talent, many of The Face contestants legitimately look like they have the potential to work in the industry. What’s more, their looks are diverse. The Face has already featured as many East Asian models in one season than ANTM has in 19 cycles to date.

3. The Challenges

No ‘booty tooching’ lessons here; if you don’t know what that is, trust us when we say that you’re better off. Instead, The Face contestants compete in both individual and team challenges each week, learning how to pose, walk, and everything in between from their supermodel coaches.

The team-based format puts a fresh spin on this reality TV genre and adds an interesting dynamic to the show. We’re #TeamCoco all the way, obviously.

4. The Host

We couldn’t have been happier when we found out that Nigel Barker, our favourite ANTM alumnus, would be hosting The Face. It might have something to do with our longstanding crush on him.

5. The Fashion

The series opened with Naomi, Coco and Karolina strutting their stuff for Zac Posen at NYFW, and it’s been an ongoing fashion show of sorts ever since. From Naomi in Azzedine Alaïa to Karolina in Prabal Gurung, each episode is a feast for our fashion-obsessed eyes, thanks to stylist and regular Vogue Italia contributor Patti Wilson.

6. The Naomi Factor

We watch each episode both fearing and hoping that Naomi will lay the smackdown on a fellow judge or would-be model, and she has yet to disappoint. In the series premiere, Naomi ferociously warned Coco and Karolina: “It’s game on from now on.”

We’ve been hooked ever since.

xx, T & S

Images via The Face


The Backseat Stylers’ Year in Review – 2012 Edition!

What a year 2012 was! It started with a Toronto Fashion Week runway walk and ended with some Tiffany & Co. hardware. In between, we attended a lot of events, made some lovely new friends, celebrated our 3-year anniversary, wrote 373 blog posts, and more than doubled our reach. Not too shabby, by our measure.

Here’s a look back at our favourite moments from the past year. Thanks to all of you lovely readers, brands, PR folks and fellow blogger friends for showing us so much love. We’re excited for what 2013 will bring, and hope you’ll stick with us to find out!

S’s runway model moment for VAWKKIN at Toronto Fashion Week

The side of S’s head was on an episode of America’s Next Top Model. It was awesome.

A stylish road trip to The Somerset Collection in Troy, MI? Yes please!

T and model Irina Lazareanu, giving their best smizes.

Celebrating Three Years of Style with Style Blog, The Souls of My Shoes and our lovely readers…happy birthday to us! (Image Credit: You Just Got Spotted)

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Fashion News

The Winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition is…Laura James!

Such a shameful, guilty pleasure, but yes I am still watching ANTM, and Cycle 19 (seriously!) just wrapped up tonight. This season’s brand new judging panel of Tyra BanksKelly Cutrone, and Rob Evans crowned the winner of America’s Next Top Model: College EditionLaura James! The 21-year old model was named the winner over runners-up Kiara Belen and Leila Goldkuhl, both of whom I preferred.

In addition to bragging rights, Laura also won a revamped line-up of prizes. She takes home with her a modeling contract with LA Models & NY Model Management, the opportunity to be the face of the America’s Next Top Model perfume product “Dream Come True”, a spread in Nylon magazine, campaigns with Nine West and Smashbox Cosmetics, and a $100,000 cash prize.

We at The Backseat Stylers were cheering for Leila all season and were sad to see her end up in 3rd place. Check out Laura’s complete ANTM portfolio below – did she deserve the title of America’s Next Top Model?

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Fashion News

The Winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 18: British Invasion is…Sophie Sumner!

Tonight, the ANTM judging panel of Tyra BanksKelly CutroneNigel Barker and Jay Manuel crowned the winner of America’s Next Top Model: British InvasionSophie Sumner! The 21-year old model from Oxford, England was named the winner of ANTM Cycle 18 over American runner-up Laura LaFrate.

In addition to bragging rights and redemption after her second place finish on Britain’s Next Top Model Cycle 5, Sophie also won a myriad of prizes. She takes home with her a modeling contract with LA/NY Models, a chance to be a guest correspondent on the hit newsmagazine EXTRA, a fashion spread in Vogue Italia and the cover and spread in Beauty In Vogue, the face of America’s Next Top Model perfume Dream Come True, a single to be released with CBS and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics.

We at The Backseat Stylers were Team Sophie from the very first episode, so we’re celebrating with our very best smizes while we dance to the British team’s music video on repeat. Check out her complete ANTM portfolio below – did Sophie deserve the title of America’s Next Top Model over Laura? And will you miss longtime cast members Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander, none of whom will be returning for Cycle 19? Sound off in the comments section!

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Fashion News

Bryanboy is Joining the Cast of ‘America’s Next Top Model’

WWD reports that blogger Bryanboy has signed a contract to join the cast of America’s Next Top Model, and has already been tweeting updates about a mysterious move to Los Angeles, where Cycle 19 of the show is due to start filming shortly.

Rumours swirled last month about the possibility of the prominent fashion blogger joining ANTM‘s judging panel after the firings of long-time cast members Jay Manuel, J. Alexander and Nigel Barker. When model Rob Evans and celebrity stylist Johnny Wujek were recently announced as the new judges, along with Tyra Banks and Kelly Cutrone, I assumed the rumblings about a blogger judge were false. It seems I thought wrong.

Remember how excited I was when the back of my head appeared on an episode of ANTM Cycle 18 for a split second? Bryanboy is pretty much living out my dream right now. So will I we be watching? Damn right I will, so that if he fails, I’ll be ready to take over. Hear that, Tyra?


Bryanboy confirmed the news, tweeting, “Excited with my new role on cycle 19 of America’s next top model”, but has since removed the tweet from his feed. I’m guessing his new boss Tyra gave him the smackdown for tweeting out of turn. He’s since been tweeting non-stop about ANTM filming and his new cast members though, so it must be official!

xx, S

Image Credit: Bryanboy

Fashion News

ANTM Parts Ways With Long-time Cast Members Jay Manuel, Nigel Barker and J. Alexander

Page Six reports that after 18 cycles, Tyra Banks has dismissed creative director Jay Manuel, photographer Nigel Barker and runway coach J. Alexander from America’s Next Top Model. The three long-time cast members were notified yesterday that their contracts would not be renewed for cycle 19.

The dismissals are said to be part of a major shakeup at the show that will reportedly see “bloggers and fashion insiders with a strong Web presence” added to the show. Blogger Bryan Boy’s name is being thrown around, though he says “nothing is in the works as of now.”

Executive producer Ken Mok said in a statement: “Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the ‘America’s Next Top Model’ brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today. They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the ‘Top Model’ family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects.”

I’m gutted. How could you do this to me, Tyra? Miss J, Mr. Jay (who wrote a blog post about it) and Nigel have been fixtures in my life over the past 9 years (has it really been that long?!) of ANTM viewing. Where will I get my weekly Nigel fix from now on?

How do you feel about the firings, my fellow ANTM fans – are you as devastated as I am?

xx, S

Image via Styleite


ANTM All Stars Winner Lisa D’Amato’s Vogue Italia Spread Is Out!

America’s Next Top Model All Stars winner Lisa D’Amato‘s Vogue Italia spread is finally out! The 30-year-old would-be model was crowned Top Model on Cycle 17 of the show last December, and has officially cashed in on one of her prizes – an editorial in Italian Vogue‘s April 2012 issue. Check out the images below, and watch behind-the-scenes footage from the photo shoot here.

And that’s not all she’s been up to since the finale aired. “I’m the face of Dream Come True, which is the first ‘ANTM’ fragrance,” said Lisa. “I shot my Italian Vogue and Beauty in Vogue, those come out in May and June … I shoot my Express campaign in May.”

Take a look at her ANTM All Stars portfolio - has she come a long way since the show wrapped? What do you think of her spread, and how does it stack up against the Vogue Italia editorials of Cycle 16 winner Brittani Kline and Cycle 15 winner Ann Ward? Share in the Comments!

P.S. While we’re at it, let’s re-watch Lisa’s ANTM music video. Just for fun.

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The Backseat Stylers on America’s Next Top Model!

I’ve been watching America’s Next Top Model since the very first episode of the very first cycle. I’ve daydreamed a million times about being on the show, and it never even mattered to me that the winners never went on to any sort of real modelling success. I wanted to learn to walk from Miss J, to pose from Mr. J, and to smeyes from Tyra. Over the last 17 seasons, though, I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be on ANTM.

That is, until I was. Kinda. Sorta. Episode 5 of Cycle 18, which aired this past week, saw the would-be models drop by Toronto Fashion Week. A few of the contestants were cast in the Mercedes Benz Start Up finale, and guess who was smack dab in the middle of that action? That would be yours truly, who was live tweeting on behalf of MBSU.

Except that I had no idea that ANTM was in the house. My big reality TV moment was limited to an unidentifiable (except to me!) head of black hair, face buried in my Blackberry as I dutifully tweeted live MBSU runway photos from the front row. I had to watch the footage in slow motion, on a giant screen, 67 times before I found myself (not really), but I’m there alright!

And I don’t even care that no one else can see that it’s me. I know. I was on America’s Next Top Model!! My life is now complete.

xx, S

Fashion News

The Winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 17 All Stars is…Lisa D’Amato!

Tonight, the ANTM judging panel of Tyra BanksNigel Barker, André Leon Talley and Jay Manuel crowned the very first ever America’s Next Top Model All StarLisa D’Amato! Or did they? D’Amato was controversially named the winner of ANTM Cycle 17 over runner-up and fan favourite Allison Harvard and disqualified contestant Angelea Preston. But why was Angelea disqualified?

Rumour has it Angelea was originally named ANTM All Star, but couldn’t keep it a secret until the show aired; she was apparently disqualified after she let news of her win slip. It’s all over Twitter, so it must be true…right? The final judging panel looks to have been re-shot with only Lisa and Allison in attendance, and the former walking away with the title of America’s Next Top Model All Star.

In addition to bragging rights, Lisa also won a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, the cover of Beauty In Vogue, fashion spreads in Vogue Italia and Beauty In Vogue, a blog on, a fashion campaign with U.S. retailer Express, the chance to be a correspondent on Extra, as well as the chance to be the face of an ANTM perfume to be launched nationally.

The finale leaves so many questions swimming in my head! What do you think of Lisa being crowned the first ever America’s Next Top Model All Star? Check out her full body of work on ANTM below – did she deserve the title? What are your thoughts on Angelea’s disqualification? And were you as disappointed as I was that Allison didn’t win? Sound off in the comments section!

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Runways and Showrooms

Toronto Fashion Week: Mercedes-Benz Start Up Finale 2011

On October 18, I had the pleasure of updating my Facebook status to this: “Currently sitting in supermodel Jess Stam’s hotel room. For effing serious.

That right there? Highlight of my LG Fashion Week. All thanks to the lovely folks at IMG, I have fond memories of watching The Dr. Oz Show, listening to country music, and chatting about ATTITUDE by Jay Manuel with one of my favourite models, ever. The best part is, I was on very official business. As the guest tweeter for Mercedes-Benz Start Up, it was my job to ensure that the Twitterverse knew that MB Start Up judge Jessica Stam would be wearing a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress and Lanvin for H&M bow pumps to the competition’s finale show; key information indeed, and I was more than happy to share.

Of course, Stam’s hotel room was only the first stop of my live, behind-the-scenes coverage. My guest tweeting duties also took me backstage of the LGFW tents, where up-and-coming Canadian designers Cassie Dee, Martin LimTravis TaddeoTriarchy and UNTTLD were in the final stages of preparation for the runway show that would culminate in the selection of the very first MB Start Up winner. With an audience of program judges and mentors, fashion insiders, celebrities and VIPs in attendance, one very deserving finalist would be selected to receive mentoring from a hand-selected group of industry experts, an editorial feature in FASHION Magazine, as well as their own, fully produced runway show at next season’s LG Fashion Week.

Backstage, as finishing touches were being completed in hair and make-up and models were being dressed in the finalists’ Spring 2012 collections, I found myself blown away by details I may have otherwise missed on the runway: the fierce metal accessories from UNTTLD (that necklace! those shoes!), the cool, goggle-like sunglasses and medical bandage tops from Triarchy (styled by Ania Taubenfligel, one-third of the sibling team behind the brand), and the pretty feathers embellishing a dress design by Travis Taddeo.

Fast forward to the show itself. From Triarchy’s perfect-fitting premium denim to Martin Lim’s pastel-coloured feminine dresses to UNTTLD’s dark and edgy designs, the MB Start Up runway show presented five very different aesthetics (see complete runway photos at Toronto Life). The judging panel, made up of Bernadatte Morra, Editor-in-Chief of FASHION MagazineRobert Ott of the School of Fashion at Ryerson University, Shawn Hewson of Bustle Clothing, Robin Kay of the Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC), Jarrad Clark of IMG Fashion and guest judge/model Jessica Stam, had one very tough decision to make, their deliberations taking longer than expected. When Danielle Martin and Pao Lim, the duo behind Martin Lim, were finally crowned as the winners, the audience and Twitterverse approved, and so did I.

Thus came to an end my MB Start Up adventures, for this season anyway. Thanks to Andrew Serrano of IMG for bringing me along for the ride! Round 2 of the competition promises to come back bigger and better than ever, expanding to four additional semi-final cities: Halifax, Ottawa, Quebec City and Edmonton. I’ll need some time to recover from the first edition and to bask in the glow of my Stam encounter, but when the action starts up again, I’ll be there to cover it!

xx, S

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