‘ANTM’: Former Contestant Says Models Were Paid Only $45 per Day During Filming

Tyra Banks has been under fire in recent years for behavior America’s Next Top Model fans say negatively impacted contestants. Some models who competed on the reality show agree. Despite Banks’ former friends and fellow judges like Jay Manuel defending her, contestants are standing by their accounts. 

'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 5 judges
‘America’s Next Top Model’ Cycle 5 judges | Michael Yarish/UPN. ©2005 CBS BROADCASTING INC. All Rights Reserved.

Lisa D’Amato competed during cycle 5. Though she went on to find success outside of the show, she’s been fiercely critical of Banks and the show overall. One of her revelations is an allegation that the women were not paid for their time on the show. D’Amato says she increased a small per diem during her stint.

Tyra Banks has been receiving lots of backlash for her behavior on ‘ANTM’

Social media users have been pointing out behavior from Banks on the show that they find problematic. In recent years, Banks has been accused of gaslighting, colorism, and perpetuating negative stereotypes of Black women.

Furthermore, many say she’s contributed to the idea that the fashion industry makes it more difficult for Black women by the way viewers say she’s treated Black contestants.

Source: YouTube

Related: ‘Days of our Lives’ Star, Sal Stowers, Won Cycle 9 Of ‘America’s Next Top Model’

A major contention with Banks is the suggestion that she finds young Black women from grimy circumstances that she can mold into a rags to riches story in the process. But, instead of uplifting the women, fans of the show accuse Banks of stripping the women of their true identity by forcing them to conform to mainstream fashion etiquette and unfairly criticizing them along the way.

Banks has also been accused of colorism, with many alleging she favors lighter skinned Black women constants over darker skinned ones. They also claim that Banks doesn’t choose enough contestants of color per cycle.

All of the criticism is coupled with the complaint that Banks hides behind mean judges, rarely sticking up for contestants during elimination rounds. Dozens of women who’ve competed on the show has also spoken out negatively about their experiences with Banks.

Lisa D’Amato says she got contestants paid more than $45 per day

One contestant who has been vocal about the tortuous experience she says ANTM provides is D’Amato. She didn’t win but she eventually competed in the All-Stars competition. D’Amato slams Banks often for the chaos she says go on behind the scenes on the show.

Per D’Amato, not only do the contestants give up their livelihoods to participate on the show – but they also don’t have time to earn any money during filming due to the rigorous schedule. Despite having minimal money, D’Amato says initially production did not provide any compensation, not even enough for food.

Source: YouTube

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“They don’t feed you enough,” D’Amato told Tasha K in a recent interview. “We had a small per diem but so many girls sent their money home…[the per diem was used for] toiletries, tampons, or whatever.”

But D’Amato says she began pushing for more money as it became too difficult to survive off of.

“We were getting like $45 a day or something like that, and then we were supposed to pay for all of our own groceries,” she explained. “I fought that and I was like, ‘You’re giving me $45 a day to pay for my own food but I still have to pay rent, like we are here for two months,’” D’Amato said, referencing the fact that she and other constants had homes they still had to upkeep.

“I got us all like $200 extra each for food so that the per diem was just extra in case we wanted to boy extra things,” D’Amato said proudly.