style anksimageBoom! I’m back. Was doing a bit of traveling and trust me, traveling with a baby and then getting back to life as you know it takes a while. But finally a few howls later (both my baby’s and mine) I’m back to what I like to do best – writing :)

During this traveling stint, I got hooked onto the Next Top Model series, both the US original version as well as our homegrown India version. I mean it was good late night TV for me to relax after the baby fell asleep after a long long day. And truth be told, it was good fun watching America’s Next Top Model Cycle 21 while watching India’s Next Top Model really tested my patience at times.

I know India’s Next Top Model is eons away from its American cousin, whether in terms of professionalism, style, photoshoots, especially the hosts. I mean, Tyra Banks is Tyra Banks. She is a mentor to the contestants, gets personally involved with everyone on set and is always ready to dish out advice to help the contestants plus her crazy vocabulary takes it one step further to motivate and get the best out of the contestants. She really eats, breaths, sleeps and models ANTM. On the other hand, Lisa Haydon is, as Tyra would call it, a Stiffy-Doo. I mean, being the host gives you such an opportunity to actually make a difference in these contestants’ lives but Ms.Haydon stands just beyond your arms’ length. At a distance. There’s no passion, no personal involvement, not even a careless smile every now or then. It’s always Stiffy Stuffy Doo.

So after long hours of watching both the shows and keeping Indian sensibilities in mind, here is my 6 ways to improve India’s Next Top Model:

1. Personality Check.

Ms.Haydon needs to be become Lisa or whatever she wants to be called. She needs to loosen up and let her personality show. I mean, she’s like a supermodel, she’s got this gig and she’s been getting Bollywood gigs as well, so I’m sure she must have a glowing personality along with a great bod. She just needs to show it. Be open with the contestants, bail them out with advice, tips and tricks every now and then. And she needs to smile more. But smile like a person, not like a model. There’s a big difference.

2. Content Check.

ANTM has gone international. The latest I saw was the finale of the show which was a huge fashion show in Seoul, Korea. Now I understand INTM works on a much smaller budget and scale. But still there should be efforts made to make the photoshoots count more than what’s happening right now. The fish market challenge and big gongs on the runway were a good start, but audiences would definitely enjoy more variety. Maybe some magazine spread challenge, or photoshoots for clients audiences are familiar with like Guess, Zara, etc. I was once involved in a photoshoot for Harper’s Bazaar over in Jhandewalan Extension in Delhi. It was exciting to see the chaos downstairs transform into print ads upstairs. In that photoshoot, there were only a couple of models, so I would definitely like to see the INTM do that in their way.

3. Resume Check.

Most of the contestants, whether ANTM or INTM, come to the shows without any prior modeling experience. While ANTM does an awesome job of building the resumes for each and every contestant, not just the winner, INTM has far to go in that front. I noticed Tyra actually brought in all the finalists to Seoul to walk the finale runway show, and that is quite something. I mean, for an eliminated contestant to have a resume entry saying she’s done an international runway show televised all across the world, that’s clearly an advantage when she’s out looking for modeling gigs. Don’t you think so?

4. Makeover Check.

Not 100% sure but I think Tyra does her makeovers in the 4th or 5th week of the cycle. And till date I havent’t really seen the makeovers yet in INTM. I think I saw a preview sometime back but haven’t come across that episode yet. Yeah, I know. Being a work-at-home-Mom keeps me a little behind on the world mostly but thanks to TataSky and my dear husband, I manage somehow. So anyways, we’re talking makeovers. I personally believe Anusha (the style judge) is a wonderful stylist and with her input, these girls can totally revolutionise their looks. Let’s get those started already.

5. Publicity Check.

I understand the show can be controversial in our country, but still if you package it nicely, there can be a lot of publicity for the show so that people are aware of it. This will definitely boost the industry plus raise the standards of the show. The marketing of the show is very low-key. While I understand it can’t be IN-YOUR-FACE marketing like Tyra’s, why can’t the producers push it on the public a little bit more aggressively? The more popular it becomes, bigger will be the show.

6. Social Media Check.

Until ANTM, INTM doesn’t use social media as part of the contestants’ scores. Why the hell not?? MTV India is quite popular on Twitter, so why can’t INTM piggyback on MTV India, or create it’s own identity in Twitter and get the people raving or ranting about the contestants or the show? I haven’t checked it yet but since there hasn’t been any mention of any affiliation with social media, I’m assuming the producers are leaving this huge gap unchecked. Get online and strut your stuff, INTM.

Fact is, a show like INTM is a welcome change from the saas-bahu, rona-dhona shows on the telly ever since all eternity. It’s such a nice feeling to see India catching up with international shows like ANTM, to see the contestants proudly talk in Hindi instead of English. This is the new something that people like myself would love to watch on TV.

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