The NYT examines the real world of modeling in light of the fantasy version on the completely addictive ANTM:
There are a few good, simple reasons why the competitors on "America’s Next Top Model" will not become America’s next top model, insiders say. For starters they are generally too old to succeed in a field where much of the talent, like the current teenage Australian star Gemma Ward, is recruited out of middle school, explained Cathy Gould, the director of Elite models. And even though, by ordinary standards, the bodies of cast members on the reality show are unobjectionable, they are too plump to succeed in a business where eating disorders are no hindrance to success. In an ironic way, though, the most serious strike against the women may be, like their beauty itself, an unalterable accident of birth. They are American. "You just can’t sell an American model right now because editors completely don’t appreciate them," explained James Scully, a casting agent responsible for discovering many of the quirky, provocative sexpots who helped mold the image of Gucci during the stellar Tom Ford years. "Americans are just not in."