Recently Jeana Turner of ANTM Cycle 24 made a video discussing her experience as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. Her complaints are similar to complaints of reality TV show contestants since Real World I. Jeana says she was edited in a way that portrayed unfairly. She also said that producers created an environment that would create dramatic situations. And like many other ANTM contestants Jeana says the show hurt her career more than it helped.
I watched Jeana’s season and she was portrayed as a villain. She wasn’t my favorite that season but I didn’t dislike her. I just thought that she was competitive, driven and not particularly warm and friendly towards the other girls. I don’t think she owed them that. I respected Jeana during her season.
I’m not particularly sympathetic to Jeana about the way she was portrayed because many reality TV contestants have talked about their experiences once their show is over. It wouldn’t be difficult to research what it is like to be on a reality TV show. Contestants are not held hostage in their living quarters. They have the choice to leave if they find the circumstances to be unbearable.
The intriguing thing about this video isn’t Jeana’s complaints against the producers of ANTM. The most compelling statement in this video comes just before the thirty minute mark. Jeana posed for Playboy when she was eighteen and she says that she felt judged by Tyra for posing nude. She says of Tyra “You say sex sells but how did that work out for my career?”. Young women have been given a bad bill of sale. Women are being groomed from a young age to be used sexually while getting nothing in return.
I do agree with Jeana that Tyra is a hypocrite. I’ve watched her for years and her producers have cast women that have no romantic or sexual history with men and then asks them to pose nude with male models on ANTM. When the model feels uncomfortable or awkward with the male model they are admonished by the judges panel and told they need to sacrifice to give the photographer a good shot.
On her old talk show she had girls on that were sexually active at young ages and she admonished them for that behavior. So where does Tyra really stand? Does she want to encourage casual sex or protect innocence and purity? I think she just wants to sell a TV show. So I’m with Jeana on that point.
Jeana said that she listened to Tyra’s mantra of sex sells. She was having a difficult time establishing a modeling career so when she got an opportunity to be in Playboy she took it. She later regretted it when her idol that gained fame from modeling underwear and bikinis looked down on her for posing nude.
Other than Anna Nicole Smith I’m not sure that posing for Playboy has lead to anyone’s success in high fashion. But Anna Nicole Smith was one of a kind. Jeana was groomed by feminist teachings that taught her that putting her body on display is empowering for women. Jeana listened to Tyra who became a powerful woman in fashion and television by showing skin.
Jeana must not have been completely comfortable with baring it all because she regrets it now. I’ve never heard Pamela Anderson Lee express regret for posing for Playboy and she’s made several appearances in the magazine. But Pamela became a successful actress by making herself a sex symbol. It was a part of her brand and it suited her personality. I don’t think a compromise was made.
But Pamela Anderson Lee was an exception. She was comfortable with posing nude and was around twenty three the first time she posed for Playboy. Jeana was only eighteen. I think the entertainment industry will make an example of women like Pamela Anderson Lee and Anna Nicole Smith as paradigms of what can happen if you push your boundaries and take a chance. There’s that, and Pamela and Anna Nicole were never really taken seriously. They didn’t even take take themselves seriously.
Here is another example of how new aged morality and feminist thinking is not telling women and girls the entire truth about putting your body on display and modesty. There is a cost that goes along with it and most women are not prepared to pay that price.
Jeana was lied to by a culture that celebrates women selling themselves cheaply for the short term pleasure of men in exchange for validation or favors. Women need to understand that they can choose to pose nude if they want but make sure it’s a strategic move that is a part of your brand that will help you meet your goals. If you want to be taken seriously it’s probably better to remain fully clothed.
Women need to stop selling ourselves short. Jeana has a very unique look and is photogenic. She is driven and passionate about her career. She didn’t need Playboy for recognition in high fashion or acting. She already had what she needs for success. Posing nude did more for Playboy readers than it did for her. I think that’s the idea behind the deceptive teachings of feminism and new aged morality .