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CariDee English: Is she right to condemn America’s Next Top Model’s Tyra Banks?

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks

Jael Strauss used to do coke with her parents. Became stripper and lived in a flop house hung out on meth.

‘Tyra Banks is all about TV ratings and she’s very fake when the camera start rolling…’

Jael Strauss can’t make it as a model so she becomes a meth addict. The decay of the American dream….

Former America’s Next Top model winner slams Tyra Banks for failing to help meth addict Jael Strauss.

Former America’s Next Top model contestant is now a meth addict. Runs away on the set of Dr Phil…

It’s lonely until you make it to the top and then it gets even lonelier if you ever make it there…

It seems as if America’s Next Top Model‘s Tyra Banks is on the receiving end of some pent up vitriol courtesy of former ANTM winner CariDee English who has taken umbrage with the creator and host for what she perceives to be her unflinching regard of the girls who have starred on Ms Bank’s hit show.

The raw nerves came to the fore pursuant to a former young woman, Jael Strauss who was once a contestant on the much ballyhooed show catapulting into a dangerous drug addiction which has seen her looks ravaged, her sense of self destroyed and her physical well being perpetually exposed to the mercy of the street where she now lives as a meth addict.

In part CariDee English who left an alarming response to Ms Strauss’s crises on gawker (re produced in part below) holds Ms Banks partly responsible for failing to care about the girls once they have appeared on the show and for not making herself amenable to them in their times of need. In fact she goes on further to suggest that appearing on the show is short of ridicule and pariah status for those who do it make it on the show out into the real world where an indifferent fashion industry is awaiting them.

Curious to see how readers reacted to Cari Dee English’s condemnation of Ms Banks and as a former model male model myself who was exposed to the heightened and merciless ravages of making it in the European market I sought to get a gauge as to whether Ms English’s comments caught sympathy.

Judging from some of the responses below it seems that Ms English is pretty much on her own as an avalanche of readers have deemed her essentially a naive individual who should have done her research and realized the real rigors of what it takes to make it as a model, which from my own personal experience can be quite humiliating, negating and leaving one prone to self hate and constant despair in an industry that hardly has any rhyme or reason and can spit you out in a heartbeat for nothing more than your look is no longer in vogue. Which is another way of saying welcome to the reality of what modeling is really all about and if one really wants to pursue it as a career then they should be open to the notion that it if they are not careful such a career can eat them up whole and leave them very very disappointed and extremely disillusioned as it seems to be the case in Ms English’s case and I suspect with many model’s case, even the ones who actually do find steady work.

Here then is part of Ms English’s response to the drama of Jael Strauss which says a lot about her expectations of what the modeling industry /ANTM ought to have been and what in reality it is in actuality and below that are a scattering of comments I came across the web that reveal reader’s sentiments. Brace yourself…

CariDee English

(via gawker, CariDee’s entire post can be read here and reader’s response to her)

Tyra won’t do anything. She provided a wonderful platform for girls to have a chance at their dream, but, after there is no “Tyra Mail”. I had to guide myself, and even though I won a model competition I still had no idea what the modeling BUSINESS was like. I had no idea what the industry was really like. I was famous, but no one wanted to take my picture. And critics and industry love to give us all shit for not being the next big supermodel. We all have done well, and we all had to do it on our own. I am not complaining, I am simply defending. I love love what I have made for myself since my win, but mentally, its horrific. And any girl who has been on ANTM can back me up. No one wants to take us serious as models. I am sure the show lost its credibility in producing a top model somewhere btwn making 3 cycles a year and posing on roller coasters. Tyra wasn’t there when the cameras stopped rolling, nor did she reach out. I got reached out by her “camp” asking if I would do a “All Star” cycle… I said “Whats the prize? Because last time the only thing I didn’t win was being taken seriously as a top model…” ( I declined after no consideration) The only person that has reached out to me directly is Nigel Barker. He even hired me. 
Now this isn’t Tyra’s fault.. we are all capable of becoming anything… I am saying it would have been a good call to have some after show support… 
When it boils down to it, there is just not a place for ANTM girls to fit post show. We just needed some guidance.. Are we “Reality Star” ? (ARRRGG I feel deeply that I have contributed more, and have more to offer professionally in The Arts than someone being taped from the shore of Jersey) I truly did the show because I am a model…. and a damn good one given the shot.. (pun intended)

I can’t say what made Jael though.

The fashion industry had NO idea how to market us. Our agents, our managers….. because we become a instant celeb…. but had a protforlio of a rookie model. Even though we just were named “TOP” our place in line at Fashion World was at the bottom. The industry many times didn’t care about our name, but did turn a snobby cheek to the name ANTM.

It’s not a curse, not even close. I chose to be on the show, and so did all the girls before me and after me like Jael. I do not regret anything I am so thankful I followed through with my decision to take that track to my dreams. Am I at the top? Yes.. and for anyone who can’t see this, look up instead of looking down at me, at us.

I am again only defending and providing insight.


Jael Strauss who appears on Dr Phil tonight as the ANTM who self imploded.

And from here onwards are reader’s response to CariDee English:


Well that’s a big “duh.” I work in the fashion industry in New York, and I can tell you that none of the girls on the show could ever be at the level of a runway or print model. The girls are all too old and too average looking, and just don’t have the unusual or unique qualities that the fashion world wants. The whole idea that these girls won a realty show competition on the CW kills any of the coolness or edgy image that a designer would want behind their brand. And if you want to do commercial modelling or magazine covers, just get in line behind A-List actresses and singers. The show concept is a total joke. I’m not surprised that zero of the winners went on to anything other than total obscurity.


Hearing all these girls complaining how hard the model world is, even though Im not a huge fan but I instantly have utmost respect towards Tyra Banks. She must have gone through hell and back to get where she is at, even though she can be annoying but still….credit to her for hanging in that cruel model fashion industry, because it sure is cold.


That’s a cop out. Tyra Banks has a popular show on television that provides a huge amount of visibility and learning while you do the show. You had the benefit of getting alot of photo’s for free. You had someone do a revamp on you and do your hair and makeup. Seriously, Tyra wasn’t your life mentor. I feel it was a great experience for you and you won!! Now you have to work hard like the rest of the world’s women who want to be models and if you have “it” you will succeed. Everyone doesn’t have “it” …


his show is to provide exposure, not give you a supermodel career overnight. It’s YOUR own job to make it big. I don’t know why they expect Tyra to be BBFs with all the girls after the show wraps. Oh and ANTM had nothing to do with Jael being a meth addict; girl was a train wreck from the beginning


Why should Tyra “keep up” with former contestants? She’s not their mother. Some of these young women have made poor choices in their lives.. Those who have fallen into drug use made that choice of their own free will. If you checked out all of the women, I’m sure there is a fairly high percentage who have previously tried to break into modelling. Once an agency turns you down you are unlikely to get a second chance. It is a cruel business and you have to to be thick skinned..


Where did English get the idea that the girls receive some longterm support in exchange for being on ANTM? I sympathize for Jael, but that’s like saying my first grade teacher hasn’t helped at all with my relationship troubles.

Secondly, which is it? Was the experience good or bad? English seems not to realize that she’s still applying rather presumptuous expectations toward what might have resulted from the show. Further she seems to expect that navigating the gift of exposure (which, as she has realized, is a mixed bag) was somehow the show’s responsibility and not hers. She’s wrong about that.


This is similar to what I read about some former “American Idol” contestants.


It is tragic.


If only Tyra and other people would do more to help and keep these drug addicts or others from doing what they are doing…

I believe everyone is what they choose to be.

She was the one who stuff meth in her system not tyra.

Although I do agree that tyra and the whole show is misleading…

it is still an opportunity to go out there and be known somewhere.

Tyra is all about Tyra.



  1. I had a photography professor in college (I minored in photography) who gave sage advice on the 1st day of class. I am judging you as professionals in grading your assignments. After all, if you want to do this professionally, I am your competition.

    The top level class there were only five of us & I was going to fight my final grade of B. That is, unti I discovered I received the highest grade in the class.

    Take notice, Ms. CariDee.

  2. So sad about Jael. I agree everyone makes their own future and destiny. But Tyra would not be where she is (as far as the show goes) had it not been without the girls that tried out and were on the show to an extent. I know Tyra busted her butt to get where she was before she retired but she is teaching these girls how to excel in their dreams. Once out there it’s a teeter totter between success and failure. Either way can lead to drug addiction. Everyone knows that the modeling world encourages thin girls and some take it to extreme measures…. Not saying that Tyra is obligated to reach out but I’m sure it would’ve been nice. Jael has hit rock bottom.

  3. Just heard about Jael. Googled and found this article. Nobody knows how hard it is to make it in the model industry unless they have been through it. Being rejected and criticized can absolutely damage a person for life. It is the same as a kid being bully throughout the years in school, resulting in suicide. I feel sad for Jael and all the girls trying to model. Nothing against Tyra. However, these girls idolized her. After they are kicked off the show they don’t even hear a word from Tyra. It’s like a parent kicking their child out of the house and erasing them from their memory. What does this kids do? They become homeless and get mixed in drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. I respect Tyra for making it in the cruel model world. But I’m a bit disappointed with her as well. Not saying that Tyra should be a babysitter. However, after kicking the girls off the show. Behind the scenes, she could have sat down with them and give them a prep talk, give them some insight into the cruel world. Tell them not to give up. Whatever, just as long as she show them she cared. Instead of sending a intern in to give them a plane ticket home. It only takes a minute to help a person that think their whole world is over. I see too many girls turning to the dark side to ease their pain. Too many lost souls. Those that want to enter the entertainment or modelling world please take care. Have people around you that will support and care about you.

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