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Meet the Out Judges on the New Season of America's Next Top Model

Meet the Out Judges on the New Season of 'America's Next Top Model'

Meet the Out Judges on the New Season of 'America's Next Top Model'

The reality series returns with a new look and some new blood. 


Do you want to be on top?

America's Next Top Model is back—this time on a new network with a new host and panel of judges. Joining host Rita Ora are judges that include the likes of model and body positive activist Ashley GrahamPaper Magazine's chief creative officer Drew Elliott, and celebrity stylist Law Roach. 

We had the opportunity to kiki with Drew and Law all about the next season. We dished about having breakfast with Tyra, advice they both have for aspiring models, and what they are excited for most on the re-branded season.

Drew Elliott

PRIDE: When you were asked to be a judge, how did you react?

Drew Elliott: I was acclimated into the idea of being a judge. I started off working with VH1 and Tyra Banks on the creative side of this season. Just freshening up the brand. Bringing some fashion people to it, and all of that type of thing. I was going to work mainly on the photo shoot concepts and then slowly it melded into me working on camera and then two weeks before filming, they asked me to be an actual judge. So I had no time to react!

But that is a good thing. I flew to California. I had a two hour breakfast with Tyra. She gave me lots of pointers. You know, this is what we want from this season. She also really listened to what I was thinking about the show and so it was an exciting, very quick, couple months. 

PRIDE: What were some of the things you were changing or wanted to change?

DE: The main thing is I always loved the show. I love the show. But it always seemed like it was a show about fashion as opposed to really bringing in amazing people, wild creative people onto the show. What I really wanted to do, what is so great about ANTM, is that it democratizes fashion. It makes this very close knit group open and brings it to the world. And so, going in, what I really wanted to do was to work with some of the best stylists and best photographers, the best in the business which we did and you will see on this season. It was elevating in that way. 

On the flip side, we also really wanted to bring pop culture into the show this season. So you will see DJ Khaled and Tinashe. You will see Amber Rose. Just a bunch of different, amazing people throughout the season bringing the girls different advice. Bringing them some major excitement. Every episode, there is some kind of surprise guest and of course, one of those is Tyra. 

PRIDE: Tyra Banks is now more behind the scenes this season. What do you think was the reason for that decision?

DE: She talks about it herself. She built this brand. She loves this brand. I think she just wanted to give it a new iteration. A new POV. As we move into this season, as we talk about a boss, a brand, and a business, Rita really is a great person for that and you will see that in her hosting and mentoring skills but also how she leads by example. Rita has taken on this role of a true entrepreneur inside the entertainment space. 

But then you have Ashley Graham, and she brings that true super model experience. Law Roach brings in the style perspective. I bring in the editorial perspective. That mix mash of talent leads to a very strong panel who can really help identity in this new landscape of modeling, who are those stars? What are the right skills? What are the right talents? Who is going to stand out in this market that is forever changing?

PRIDE: What is your editorial perspective?

DE: My editorial perspective? I love two things and the Paper brand stands for these things. I love helping people discover the brand new and something they have never seen before, but then also helping them re-imagine and re-dream about why they love something that is so extremely famous. Whether it be Kim K or Miley Cyrus or or whoever that may be.

I look to, from an editorial side of things, how can we bring to the reader dynamic content and exciting experiences using some of the pop culture legends. Nostalgic photographers. It's a mix mash of all these things and engineering a piece of content that is new and exciting. I brought all of that this season.

PRIDE: With the rebrand, it went back to being just girls. Why was that?

DE: This is the most asked question. I think what is really interesting is that it's such a polarizing conversation. There are some people who loved that part of it, when it was a mix of men and women. And there are some that are really excited we went back to just girls. 

For our show and for this season, and it will evolve, and who knows? We may go back to guys and girls. But for this season and for what we were setting out to do, it was really helpful to just have all woman. Because the challenges were very heightened; the clothes, the styling, the makeup, and how we specifically crafted the different exercises and learnings and teachings. They were very focused on how women can become a strong brand, business, and boss. In a time when there is so much conversation about female equality and the powerful woman, I am so proud that this season is about the woman and we zoned in on that. 

PRIDE: What advice would you give to aspiring models?

DE: I think it is all about finding your signatures, and that is what we are finding is so important inside millennial models. Cameron Dallas is a kid that I found on Instagram, and he asked his mom and manager if he could be in a high-end fashion shoot. We did it for Paper. And now he is the face of Calvin Klein. It is the reverse operation of what has always happened. Young people can portray themselves on social media in the way that they want to be picked up or focused on in the future. I think for aspiring models, it's about creating that dynamic content and building your publishing platforms. What brands and editorials are looking for is who are you? Of course having a unique look and style is key in this world, but also, as things move more into motion, we want to see who the person is behind all of that. Stagnant fashion images are a thing of the past. 

Law Roach

PRIDE: When you were asked to be a judge, how did you react?

Law Roach: Well, it started off last spring, I had a meeting, a really informal meeting with some of the producers from the show and VH1. They had questions for me and just wanted to hear my story and what I think about fashion and modeling today. That was that. And then I took a meeting with Ken Mok, the co-creator of the show. I didn't hear anything for a while, so I was just like if it was not suppose to happen, it would have happened. And then I got a call when I was in Paris with Celine Dion, and they offered me the job. I was ecstatic. You know? I just questioned is this really real? I was such a fan of the show early on. It was an obsession for me and my friends. So just to come so full circle and to now be a part of it, it is unbelievable. 

PRIDE: What was your road to becoming a stylist?

LR: Everything just happens kind of organically, I want to say. I had a vintage store with one of my best friends in Chicago. That was my fashion outlet. I didn't know any stylists per se. I didn't know that industry. I knew it existed but I didn't think it was something that I could be successful in. Kanye West came in one day to the store. It attracted news and it was on TMZ which was random and weird for us. We then started getting all of these calls from these stylists all over the world. From Paris and London and Milan and New York and LA, and people started to visit and to shop. That is what made me interested in the craft of styling. That happened and I randomly met Zendaya and then an exec from Atlantic Records. It just started to happen for me. I started calling myself a stylist and putting it out into the universe that that is what I wanted to do and that is what I started to do. 

PRIDE: What are you excited for people to see this season?

LR: I am really excited for people to see the new panel. I think myself and Rita and Ashley and Drew, we bring a little something that hasn't been there before. We are filling big shoes like Andre, Twiggy, Janice, Miss J, and Tyra and those are shoes that can't be filled but what we did was we just came in and were very authentic to who we are. I think that is going to be different and exciting. You are going to have the drama of 14 girls from all different backgrounds and ethnicities. you are going to get that drama, of course that is going to be there! There is no way around that. But the new panel and host is going to be surprising to a lot of people.

PRIDE: Last season, there were guys and girls, but with the re-brand, they brought it back to just girls. What do you think about that? I loved the guys on there, all that sexy trade up in there...

LR: Did you say the trade?

PRIDE: I said the trade.

LR: (Laughs) I love that. Well, I am a purist. And honestly, when ANTM got to that part of like guys vs. girls, I had already stopped watching it. Just to be honest. But I am a purist. For me, the excitement in the fashion industry is the women. In my job, I primarily work with women. For women, it's more of that fantasy. But with the boys, it's just like sexy and sex. It can get a little gross. 

I love the show. I probably watched the first six seasons and I loved it when it the girls were battling it out. So I loved that we went back to how it was in the beginning. 

PRIDE: What would your advice be for aspiring models? 

LR: It's not just about being pretty anymore. It's about being social media savvy and understanding the fundamentals of building a business and a brand and that is what's different about ANTM this season. We are looking for a girl that can do anything. Who has star quality but also has business savvy. I think girls coming into the industry need to know that and they need to be able to do so much more than just take a pretty picture. 

The new season of America's Next Top Model is in full swing. Watch new episodes every Monday night at 10pm ET/PT on VH1.

Photos Courtesy of VH1

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Alexander Kacala

Associate Editor of OutClique. Writer for PRIDE. Buffalo wing aficionado. Traveler. Former hairy drag queen. Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. Home is New York City.

Associate Editor of OutClique. Writer for PRIDE. Buffalo wing aficionado. Traveler. Former hairy drag queen. Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. Home is New York City.