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

Jael Strauss
Jael Strauss. Then and now.

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…’

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

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…

The descent of one young women, former America’s Next Top Model contestant Jael Strauss has polarized the fashion industry. On one hand some, like former ANTM contestant CariDee English are holding the show’s presenter and creator Tyra Banks accountable for her decent as well on some level for misleading contestants on the reality of what it actually takes to be a model. Or to be precise what it actually means to live the American dream.

That said I received this powerfully poignant comment from a reader in my email box who I felt compelled to share with the readers. All I can say is that she is a former fashion student who originally hails from Germany who has over the last few years has made both the US and Europe her bi coastal pond where she has reflected on the passage of becoming the thing that she passionately believes in despite the conflict and contradictions that we all feel.

That said, have a read and ask yourself ‘so what does it take to live the American dream anymore and if anything does it still exist and how does one attain it?’


Anonymous: This person in your comments section shares some of my own thoughts:

Comment below

‘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”


Which is exactly what I am thinking. Someone in Germany would not become a meth addict though just because the supermodel career did not work out in 3 months. They would be disappointed, but well educated and critical enough, and not so infested with thoughts of fame and money. They would go and do something else interesting and would not feel like a failure. Why? Because  European society still appreciates other careers then being a superstar, supermodel. It is an option, that girls dream of, of course,  but not a must like here in the U.S..


the meth addict – she was old enough to make her own decisions.  i think she might have realized what ‘the next top model show’ is all about: mediocrity. she might have realized that she is not more than this. 


Tyra Banks could have prepared the girls better for the fashion world, but how? – Hey girls, I am making a lot of money with this show, you will never succeed anyway, because you don t have IT’. Tyra can get away with this, and I  am sure, she is tied to hardcore contract clauses which stipulates how much she can or can not say. It is her job (and by now she is not getting modeling jobs either, too old) she is not supposed to be your friend, or shrink. Tyra is simply a clever business person, so is Heidi Klum. They decided to sell their souls for money and are just doing what this country is all about.

I think this dilemma shows a decay of values in consumption infested based societies. There seem to be two options for American kids – become a supermodel or superstar in Hollywood. Sorry, three options. Become the next Michael Jackson.

Actors, supermodels are meant to be discovered because they have outstanding personalities, they are edgy and very very special. These strong characters  are not produced in a 3 month tv show. People seem to have forgotten this over here in the US, or they simply have to high opinion of themselves. I find it narcissistic to think that a girl can be a top model in a few weeks just because she is pretty.

On the other hand – America is all about mediocrity. So why not produce mediocre supermodels…. oh, this is paradox. Mediocre AND super: but hey, it s America, just ignore this paradox. Don t deal with it. Numb it. You can be everything, you can be nothing really and still be super- something.

In the end, for me,  it is a question of education, moral upbringing and values. (I see problems in America in all three areas.  I have never been surrounded by so many victims. People, who are victims of their own American dream, which became a nightmare for most people over here.

And yet here is the sting I can feel it too inside of me, the pressure of being something big. And it was always inside me. That is why i came here, but i don t want to sell myself. And i don’t want mediocrity so that is my own paradox i have to struggle with. But maybe it’s society’s paradox too…?



  1. This was an incredibly sad story… I’ve just written a couple of articles about the Jael Strauss situation on my blog. http://www.deathtrainthenovel.com/?p=319
    Basically, no matter whose fault this disaster was, I cannot believe that Tyra is making no attempt to reach out to her, even if it’s only for the sake of ratings. ANTM 19 could certainly use some help with those.

  2. Of course all of the models on ANTM are not TOP Model material but it does give them exposure and the chance however slight to become models at some level. If the girls are kidding themselves then it is their fault and not TYRA’s, She dumped her co-stars (?) this latest season to revamp her tired old show – America’s Next Top Model which is on its way down. I caught a few shows but it is no longer interesting to me. I like to watch my old favorites of ANTM but the new shows are just not the same. Heidi Klum is a smart business woman as well. I like her and Project Runway. I am still interested but how long can it go on? This season is getting boring. Michael Kors is so witty and funny. I love watching him. Nina Garcia sarcastic and cutting…but I love it!! The guests such as Sara Jessica Parker, Betsy Johnson, Victoria Beckham make it worth watching. I am mesmerized by Heidi’s beauty and it is fun to watch her weight and figure proportions fluctuate season to season. That’s what its all about for me.!!

  3. The crazy way she acted on ANTM indicated some problems and they were most likely to be drugs. Her friend died of an overdose! DUH! Tyra is not really too old to be modeling but does she want to stay a model on the way down? No. So having a talk show and ANTM are other alternatives to continuing modeling past your prime. Look at Cindy Crawford, Cheryl Tiegs and the others not mention in the article above. They gone on to other pursuits such as developing their own cosmetic lines, furniture,

  4. I actually think this is a an opinion based heavily in ignorance. What is anyone saying about Jael besides “former ANTM contestant turned meth addict?” Nothing. You know why? Because she’s a headline. She became a cog in the media machine for other’s to point fingers, debate the finger pointing, criticize and place their own values on whatever aspect around that headline is. Be it the fashion industry, drugs, reality television, America, etc, This has become a topical issue and people are scratching the surface without knowing a damn thing about the person. This article assumes that Jael couldn’t deal with a failed career and the glimmer of hope that came with it. This article agrees with the commented that she was an adult and made her own choices and never had a shot at a career. Who is Jael, though? Does anyone ask that? Does ANYONE know her past, who she is, what she truly believes??? I have met this girl at 15 years old, she was modeling then, and did runway stuff for MTV and had a killer body too mature for her age. She was a free spirit, who I found annoying. She got into a different scene years after I knew her and her best friend and I brought her up a few times. This habit she had, happened long before ANTM. THey scouted her on myspace, her blog was open, she openly SPOKE ABOUT USING CRACK. This was known to the show, and hidden. There is far more to her situation, and she is clearly embarrassed, and everyone is using her to voice their opinion on the tragic state of America. It’s fucking pathetic.

  5. You are awesome. I agree with everything. But she would have hit the crack pipe sooner or later. Especially if she got rich.

  6. It’s really sad that these girls go on “ANTM” with hopes of getting a foot in the modeling industry but, instead, will only be remembered as being a contestant on a reality show. We all see what happens to child stars as they age into adults and their acting jobs dwindles. These girls’ “15 mins of fame” are pretty much over after the conclusion of the season. season premier drew in 1.09 million viewers. I think it’s time for “ANTM” to finally take its bow.

  7. To the idiot that wrote this article, you’re an absolute moron of the highest order. This has nothing to do with ANTM, or Jael’s desire to be a model and not making it because she was “mediocre”. This is about a girl who is in serious pain, deep trouble, and could very possibly die. Shame on you for taking her tragic story as an opportunity to bash the American Dream. You’re exactly the type that watches people rise just to see them fall. You refer to her as “the meth addict”, and not by her name. This pretty much says it all – you’re just a horrible person. One of the most amazing things about America, and the American Dream, is that no matter how hard you fall, you can always get back up and tell people like you to eat a dick.

  8. apparently the writer hasnt been to the train stations in Frankfurt or Berlin where you see scores and scores of young hooked on smack.

  9. This is very sad for the person it has happen to. As well as Jael’s family. Let us not judge. There are deeper issues here. Like her mother doing cocaine with her. And her seeing both parents doing drugs. Unlike people, drugs do not discriminate: they do not know if the person using them is black, white,geman etc…….. hope it makes sense.

  10. and maybe by the way, you should actually speak to her before you degrade her…..truth is your not a model and she was, does that bother you!? cause im pretty sure i can get some dirty laundray on you and post it……leave a girl alone. and everyone who reads this…….imagine u have a rough few nights or years, n by the way, karmas a bitch!

  11. a lot of people go thru things in life that noone notices. this girl is beautiful inside and out……and i wanna tell all of you, f**k off. when you go thru bad times u dont have it put in the public eye, just b/c she did give noone the right to judge her. leave her alone. im sure you have worse skeletons in your closet. does it make you feel good to bash someone whose skeletons happen to be public!? leave her alone, at least shes doing something to get herself better…….what are yall doing!? knocking a girl, super smooth move! n this is from a chic thats never even watched the show she was on. give her some respect and a break…..least she cares enuf about heerself to ake changes. a lot of people could n shud learn from her and maybe shell help them one da! f**k all of you for even tryping to take that away from others………………….u reap what u sew, n shes gonna possibly sew a new way for others…… if anything you should supprt her, as anyone should for every person in their time of need. morale, remember that!? i do!

  12. The headline of this article is disgusting. Have some compassion. Shame on the reporter. Media ethics people….this headline has none of it. I am sure her issues were much more deep seeded then ANTM.

  13. Germans wouldn’t do meth? Lol now that’s a paradox. I’m pretty sure meth started with hitler and ww2. Nazi meth heads ha I was amused to read that Germans would not do meth. Haha

  14. I tried not to post blog..but after seeing what Jael Strauss looks like after the drug use it’s make me want to cry!
    Jael Strauss drug addiction isn’t Tyra Banks fault nor ANTM’s fault “ We are all held accountable for our own actions” however I do think Tyra Banks should reach out to her, seeing Jael’s picture before and after the drugs has really sadden my heart.

    I think Jael had a bright future she was such a pretty girl I hate that this has happened to her or anybody that gets on drugs “ My Heart Is Heavy” when will people learn that drugs will destroy you and your family. I’ve never been around anyone that has had a drug problem but stories like this one saddens me. As people we need to reach out our helping hands to someone in need like this stop looking at peoples faults and start helping them. I’m praying for Jael Strauss and her family!

    Now on another note I do agree with Caridee “Tyra provided a wonderful platform for girls to have a chance at their dream, but, after there is no ‘Tyra Mail” Now I’ve never been on Top Models but I have been on “The Tyra Banks Show” I was in New York for 4 days and 3 nights I seen firsthand how Tyra Banks works. Tyra flew me in on a Saturday morning and I left New York that following Tuesday night.

    Yes I got all the royal treatment a driver, nice hotel, $$, makeup, wardrobe the works once I arrived in NY I had about 4 hours to get settled in, before getting whisked away to The Tyra Show they had a driver come to pick me up for my first show taping. Once I arrived I was taking to a waiting room and before I got to the room I was told not to tell any of the guess who I was or where I was from we could speak to each other but not share any personal information “ I found out that there was a reason for that” I also had to sign a 6 months contract saying I couldn’t say anything about the show or appear on another talk show for six months.

    There was nine of us taken to a room to start filming for the first segment of the a case study.. “ The show was giving me the spotlight I was the main guest on the show…once the filming of the show started we watch different films of the case study then ask how we felt about that situation. Well my answered wasn’t juicy enough or should I say raw enough this show was all about ratings the producers stopped the cameras and pulled me to the side.

    They said we won’t you to say this ??? and ??? I told them no and that my family, friends and co-workers would be watching the show and I didn’t won’t them to think I really felt that way about “ The shows topic” she told me if I didn’t say it then they would ask another guest to do it and the show would revolve around them and their answers. So once again we started back filming and again my answers wasn’t juicy enough so I got pulled to the side again.

    At that point I told her to get someone else to do it because I wasn’t going to let the world think that I felt that way. So another guest said he’ll do it, and guess what he sung like a bird and got the spotlight on him. After that the next taping wasn’t until that following Tuesday there was eight of us on stage for The Tyra Show.. you could tell Tyra was tires during the taping of our show because she had already taped two shows before us… we watch them in the greenroom.

    So once we walked on stage Tyra came out it was the first time that I had ever seen her in person, wow she was really tall a very pretty but she wasn’t friendly at all between commercial breaks she snapped at her producers but once the cameras started to rolling she became a different person. She focused more on the person that had sung like a bird doing the taping of the first segment of the show. However she did ask all of us questions about what we said and how we felt.

    Once the show was over Tyra didn’t even look at us nor speak to us she didn’t say a mumbling word I was shocked!! I’m a inspiring actress I’ve been an extra in movies and I do a lot of Red Carpet and film Festivals…

    I’ve worked with Supermodel/Actress Beverly Johnson she came up to me and spoke and took pictures with me and thanked me for working with her show.. I’ve even had the chance to speak with and interview and take pictures with Actor Morgan Freeman, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, and many others…and here I was on The Tyra Banks Show and she didn’t even bother to speak to any of us…

    Tyra Banks is all about TV ratings she’s very fake when the camera start rolling she’s a completely different person so nice and seem so caring an humble but when the camera turns off it’s all about Tyra Banks and no one else. This saddens me.

  15. I believe there to be alot of validity to this article and so would anyone who has actually worked in the fashion world. The show is considered a joke and no more well constructed or ‘real’ than the Jersey Shore or The Real World. A bunch of strangers in one house competing for one thing…fame. I’d love to know the difference between ANTM and any other reality television show. The saddest part is these girls think they are apart of something that could possibly make their dreams come true which in fact is doing just the opposite. As for Jael Strauss, its so easy to blame our parents, our bosses, our enemies, and every other motherfu— who was somehow related, for our issues but in the end we are responsible for ourselves. She hit the pipe…not Tyra

  16. Exactly. This article is very ill written it’s disheartening to see how society treats people with addictions. The writer, in a sense said, “European women are stronger than American women because their society doesn’t force them to want to live the live of a celeb”, how absurd is that? I can’t even believe she thought of that own her own. Jael’s issues are definitely a lot more heavier than her not being able to a model and it’s incredulous how the “writer” couldn’t see that. Shame on you for writing such a repugnant article.

  17. You make some good points here. Undeniable. But you know, it’s not as simple as all that. Unless you’ve lived it, you don’t really know. You can’t know what it’s actually like. I agree with 50% of this article.
    I am so sorry for Jael’s loss. Treat the subject with some sensitivity. None of us can know her path. What led her here.

    –Nicole Arianna Fox

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