“Not eating, not drinking, not talking… It’s like top model prison.”
A group of girls sit in a room, cameras pointed at their faces at all times. They’ve been filming for 18 hours and counting, and it’s been hours since they were allowed water or food.
It sounds like something out of a B-grade horror movie, and the reality isn’t far from this. Except the end product isn’t meant to scare us. It’s meant to entertain us.
This was the reality for contestants on America’s Next Top Model, a show so famous it has spanned 21 seasons.
One of the former contestants, Angelea Preston, competed on the 2011 season of the show and was crowned winner, but stripped of her title once it was revealed that she had previously worked as an escort.
Preston, now 29, is currently in a legal battle with the network – she’s seeking $3 million in damages as a result of this.
But her lawsuit hasn’t stopped Preston from speaking out about how she was treated on the show – and what she has said is shocking, devastating and hard to believe. But she swears she’s telling the truth.
In an interview with Daily Mail, she said the contestants were made to film for up to 20 hours a day, many of these without food or water.
“It’s insane, the amount of bullshit me and the other girls went through,” she said.
“There were times we didn’t get fed, we had to film straight through, 15-18 hours without eating, so we’re starving, so then that plays on your mental attitude because it’s almost like they want us to go in there angry so they can have drama, so [they think] ‘okay let’s starve them, let’s withhold food, let’s withhold water, because you know how you get when you’re hungry.'”
She spoke about a technique called “ice” where the contestants were locked in a room and forced to be quiet in between takes, without food or water.
“We’d be on ice for hours,” she said.
“Not eating, not drinking, not talking… It’s like top model prison. That’s exactly what it is.”
You can watch some of Angela’s most memorable Top Model moments below. Post continues after video.
The Australian version of the show, appropriately titled Australia’s Next Top Model, has been fairly free of the drama that Preston describes. There have been panic attacks, incidences of violence and manipulative behaviour on the seasons, all of which correlate with Preston’s story.
In 2013, a contestant named Ashley Pogmore was strangled by another contestant, Taylah Roberts, while filming. The cameras kept filming and the moment was heavily promoted as a DRAMATIC moment in the series.
And in this season, Australia’s Next Top Model winner Brittany Beattie suffered from a number of panic attacks that were made a plot point of the show.
Preston, who grew up in near poverty, got into sex work before changing her life around, and has dealt with the loss of a child, went on the show to get a new start in life. What she got instead was a lawsuit and a ruined life.
“I remember the producers telling me, ‘This show is going to change your life.’ When you hear that you think all of your dreams are going to come true,” she said.
“Well it changed my life. But it changed it for the worse.”
Click through the gallery below for all the winners of America’s Next Top Model.
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