Judges’ an­tics a model of rude­ness

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - DAR­REN DEVLYN

AUS­TRALIA’S Next Top Model is head­ing for hot wa­ter be­cause of the ou­tra­geous an­tics of its judges.

The Fox­tel show last year copped a hid­ing for en­cour­ag­ing al­ready slim con­tes­tants to lose weight and for not do­ing enough to stop bul­ly­ing, and the new sea­son prom­ises to be just as con­tro­ver­sial.

Judge Alex Perry has al­ready apol­o­gised for his catty re­marks in episode one.

Take th­ese com­ments from con­ver­sa­tions be­tween Perry, fel­low judges Char­lotte Daw­son, Priscilla Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model, M FOX8 (Fox­tel), Tues­day, 7.30pm Search for a stun­ner Du­ra­tion: 1 hour Leighton Clark and con­tes­tant men­tor Jonathan Pease: Perry on con­tes­tant Clare Ven­ema: ‘‘I’m loving her. Slightly psy­cho, slightly beauty pageant-looking. OK, she’s like a mur­der­ous beau­ty­pageant queen.’’ Daw­son adds: ‘‘Eyes slightly too close to­gether and could knife you in the back — she’s good.’’ Perry on con­tes­tant Adele Theil, 18: ‘‘She’s got no top lip. She’s got a block­head.’’ Leighton Clark: ‘‘She’s the one you said looked like Franken­stein.’’ Perry on con­tes­tant Laura Tyrie, 18: ‘‘She looks like a wild pig. What a lump — a moose.’’ Pease on con­tes­tant Cassi Van Den Dun­gen, 16: ‘‘You may be a bo­gan, but don’t be a bo­gan on this show.’’

Later in the show Van Den Dun­gen is seen emerg­ing from the toi­let af­ter vom­it­ing from the trauma of her day. An­other girl is told she must im­prove her diet be­cause she’s too thin.

Com­ments of en­cour­age­ment are oc­ca­sion­ally di­rected at the con­tes­tants, but Mel­bourne psy­chol­o­gist Dr Janet Hall wor­ries about the im­pact of put-downs. Hall be­lieves the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing dis­missed and im­me­di­ately sent home from a re­al­ity show has the po­ten­tial to leave con­tes­tants feel­ing ‘‘de­pressed, used and in­val­i­dated’’.

‘‘They are mak­ing hos­tile judg­ments based on su­per­fi­cial vi­su­als,’’ Hall says of some of the judges’ com­ments. I spend my life as a psy­chol­o­gist try­ing to build peo­ple’s self-es­teem af­ter they have been crit­i­cised about their looks by their peers and even their par­ents — fathers in par­tic­u­lar.’’

Sun­bury’s Van Den Dun­gen has been or­dered into anger-man­age­ment coun­selling by the re­al­ity show’s pro­duc­ers.

Beauty calls: ANTM

con­tes­tants.

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