Below Deck’s Chef Rachel Shades Tyra Banks After Body-Shaming Remark on ‘ANTM’

Chef Rachel Hargrove from Below Deck got a little shady on Twitter when she shared a photo of model Tyra Banks and took a swing at her after a body-shaming remark was made about Hargrove on America’s Next Top Model in the past.

Hargrove tweeted, “Hey @Tyrabanks remember when you called me a plus size model when I was a size 2?” Hargrove recounted auditioning for ANTM during her first season of Below Deck. She recalled the encounter as being fun but she was called “plus-sized” in the audition clip.

Who called Chef Rachel plus-sized on ‘ANTM’?

Hargrove joked about her 2005 audition on Below Deck. She seemed to take it in stride when describing the experience on the show, but clearly, the comment stuck with her. Banks was not the judge who referred to Hargrove as “plus-sized.” Jay Manuel made the comment.

Chef Rachel Hargrove Below Deck cast photo. Tyra Banks poses for a photo during an event.
Chef Rachel Hargrove and Tyra Banks |Laurent Bassett/Bravo via Getty Images/Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

“Oh, yeah! That happened,” she laughed during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “That was so much fun! I was bartending and the casting director came up to me and [said], you know, um, ‘Excuse me, have you ever thought about being a model?’ And I thought, are you f***ing high?’ I’m slinging drinks and I’m a kitchen creature, so it wasn’t like, it wasn’t one of those things where I was like, hey, I’m gonna go stand there at this cattle call, but it was kinda cool. They just kind of brought me through, I think it had to do with my personality being just off the wall, so… I don’t know! It was a lot of fun, it was a lot of fun.”

Below Deck’s Kate Chastain said Chef Rachel ‘didn’t even flinch’ after the ‘ANTM’ comment

Hargrove referred to Banks as “Interesting. The whole experience kinda gave me an idea of what reality TV might become.”

ET reporter Brice Sander played Hargrove’s audition clip for close friend and former Below Deck chief stew Kate Chastain and second stew Josiah Carter. They were both impressed with how Hargrove reacted to the “plus-sized” comment. But of course, both of their jaws were on the ground when Manuel made the remark.

“I love how she didn’t even flinch,” Chastain said about the moment. “She was like, ‘Sure!'”

“I think what we see with Rachel is, she’ll basically get the job done no matter what,” Carter observed. “She’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I have to do, I’ll do it.'”

Chastain tied the entire experience back to Below Deck by adding, “Which makes for a great yachtie!” 

‘ANTM’ was dragged for body shaming

Hargrove isn’t alone in her observation of the show. Some former ANTM fans started re-watching the series during the pandemic, only to realize the series was the root behind their body dysmorphia and depression. Carly Ristuccia shared on TikTok, “I just realized how insanely wrong it was,” she shared on TikTok (via NBC News). “It got me thinking about how the ideas in that show probably built my subconscious ideas on body image and the whole industry.”

Even Banks realized that some of the comments shared on ANTM were out of line. “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” she tweeted in 2020, which has since been deleted. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”

Dawnn Karen, founder of the Fashion Psychology Institute told NBC News the series almost offered a roadmap to self-destruction. “I think [the show] gave us an example of how you can berate yourself … how you can look in the mirror and say, ‘[I don’t like] my hair, my nose,’” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of examples of what it looks like to love yourself, so we did that ANTM nitpicking.”

How to get help: In the U.S. call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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