“It was nerve-racking knowing that I was going to be on national television, and surreal that I would be able to meet Tyra Banks. She really inspired me as a model, and having to be judged by her is just crazy to think about,” said SAS alum Larissa Schot.
Led by television personality Tyra Banks, America’s Next Top Model is a reality TV series where women – and men in the current cycle – compete to win its prestigious title and begin their career as a successful model. SAS alum Larissa Schot had the opportunity of competing this year in cycle 22 of America’s Next Top Model and meeting former supermodel Tyra Banks.
“I started playing volleyball in middle school and softball when I was around five or six years old. But I’ve always wanted to model ever since I was 13,” Larissa said.
Currently 20 years old, Larissa began modeling when she was 18. She was with Basic Models Management, a model agency based in Singapore that specializes in fashion and commercials, but now is with Ave Management. She graduated in the class of 2013 and has been modeling ever since for companies like Nylon and Gucci. However, her first major opportunity landed when she decided to audition for America’s Next Top Model this past March.
“I’ve watched America’s Next Top Model before, but didn’t really consider auditioning until realizing that this would be a great opportunity for me to be able to grow my modeling career. And modeling is what I love to do, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try,” Larissa said.
Since Larissa was living in Singapore and could not attend the casting calls around America, she sent in pictures from previous shoots – which have to be specially approved by Tyra Banks herself in order to proceed to the next level. Once she received the approval, she was set up for a Skype interview, which is for the judges to determine personality. The interview was a success, and Larissa was flown to California.
“It was very overwhelming in California, with all the newly chosen models already there. It was going to be a completely different modeling experience.”
According to Larissa, part of being on a reality TV show is accepting the privacy terms – or lack thereof. All the models live together in a house “extensively outfitted with video and audio recording devices which will record, broadcast and exhibit actions and voice at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in every room,” as stated in the eligibility requirements.
“The paperwork took forever to fill out about accepting all the things about privacy and knowing that you basically have none,” Larissa said. “I also had to accept that I was willing to live in a house with people I didn’t know at all for about one and a half months.”
When Larissa first flew in, all of her electronics were confiscated. There was no communication with the outside world for the first week for all the models. In addition, they were not allowed to know what time it was. Larissa said, “This was so we won’t know what time we are going to sleep – so the next day we would be cranky and tired. We’d all probably be really irritable with each other, which leads to more drama – which is what America’s Next Top Model loves.”
Larissa said that being filmed was very time consuming. “When they wanted to film for our reactions, we had to shoot it over and over again like 20 times with the different angles. It’s all very staged – many of the reactions you see are not genuine.”
Larissa had a lot to say about the other models. “They were very self- involved.” But something crucial she learned from ANTM was that “you have to be very dramatic in order to stay on the show. Before I went out on the runway, I noticed the pattern of who was going to make it and who wasn’t. I knew I was going to be eliminated on the second round, but I just went out there and did my best.”
Larissa was eliminated after two shows, but she’s not giving up on trying to make it big in the modeling world. Despite some of the negative aspects of being on a reality TV show, she may audition next year and hopes to do better for America’s Next Top Model, cycle 23.