Jay Manuel is sharing his knowledge about his time working in the fashion industry and giving fans of America’s Next Top Model a behind the scenes look into life on the reality series. His new book may be a fictional novel but it also blurs the lines between what’s real and fake. Manuel’s already been honest about the demise of his friendship with Tyra Banks. He now admits that he did not speak with Banks or get her consent before writing the book.
Jay Manuel and Tyra Banks were once close friends and worked together
Manuel and Banks first met when Manuel was hired as a substitute for Banks’ makeup artist. Banks found Manuel’s work impressive and the two began a working relationship. From there, their relationship blossomed and they became friends.
Manuel is instrumental in Banks’ hit reality competition series, America’s Next Top Model. He served as the creative director of all photoshoots. In cycle 5, he transitioned from creative director to producer and a judge during elimination rounds. After 18 cycles on the show, he quit.
Banks and Manuel’s relationship’s demise came as a result of a business decision Banks didn’t agree with. In a recent interview with E! News’ Just The Sip, Manuel says their friendship never recovered.
Jay Manuel’s new fictional novel gives insight into the modeling world
Working alongside Banks and other supermodels throughout his career, Manuel is pouring his behind the scenes stories into a new fictional novel. The Wig, The Bitch & the Meltdown is a satire based on Manuel’s experiences on the show.
According to an interview with Variety, the book is a cautionary tale about the enticement of fame. The novel revolves around a fictional reality series, “Model Muse,” that like ANTM is hosted by a supermodel. The story is told through the eyes of Pablo Michaels, a fashion-obsessed man who works on the series.
It’s a clear replica of ANTM, but Manuel insists the story is a combination in his over two decades of experiences in the business. He tells Variety that the theme of the story is a journey to discovering one’s self and worth.
“The narrative follows the path of awakening to our own power and self-validations, and in today’s fast-moving world of social media, finding one authentic voice is challenging. We constantly seek outside validation on a daily basis and forget to listen to the voice that is the most important, which is our own,” he says.
Jay Manuel says he hasn’t spoken to Tyra Banks about his new novel
Manuel admits that he did not consult with Banks nor anyone else he’s had working relationships with on ANTM or elsewhere. He also notes that he and Banks haven’t been in contact in recent years, which he says makes him sad.
In a new interview with Bevy Smith’s Bevalations podcast, Manuel says:
“Ultimately for me [the character in the book] is someone that represents…it’s really not even an individual, it’s looking at a system. When we look at fashion and entertainment, everything is built upon this awkward pyramid of chaos which is starting to unravel [today]…”
Manuel says he and Banks have shared emails in recent years and their last in-person conversation was pleasant. He credits Banks for helping bring the elite fashion world and modeling system to the mainstream.
Manuel’s book is currently available for purchase online.