So the latest in TV on my newsfeed has been America’s Next Top Model and the return of Tyra Banks to the show. The new season, cycle 24 just aired on January 9th and they got rid of Rita Ora to bring back Tyra. From what I’ve been seeing this was a smart decision. The only thing I am hoping for this year is that they are more responsible with the editing and treatment of the contestants. No slight to Tyra Banks herself because YAY! for girl bosses and her success with this show. I figured what better time than now to share with you all my amazing experience shooting with and getting to know Binta who was on ANTM cycle 23 and if you watch I am certain that you remember her.
I first worked with Binta for the 2014 September issue of D-list, now Ville Magazine. As a photographer, she was a dream to work with and one of the best experiences I’ve had while working with a model. Binta really demonstrated for me what a working model actually has the skill to do while on set. I knew from her attitude and the way she held on to her passions and conviction I would like her as a person even more.
Producer/Stylist Jessica Delos Santos
Model Binta Dibba Model
MUA SK Artistry
Wardrobe Assistant Meggie Harris
BTS Video by Ryan Frey and Anca Maria
This gig was prior to her debut on ANTM, I am already a skeptic of reality TV but I did originally follow ANTM to watch the photography aspect, but the cattiness and way they portrayed multiple women I knew of kept me away. When cycle 23 rolled around I felt it was important to pay attention and support Binta’s social media throughout her season and that caused me to follow more closely. When I started seeing commercials featuring Binta upset and yelling at someone I knew immediately they had cast her as the “angry black woman” trope, there are far too many reasons why that is an issue. As someone who is passionate about the rights of people in her country of Gambia, she was completely insulted and misrepresented in clips. Personally, I see this as a symptom of lazy reality TV that wants to create false drama than actual character development, how dare they reduce her to this stereotype in the face of her caring so deeply about social issues. I find these shows less and less interesting because they force chaos instead of connection.
I wanted to share my thoughts on what I perceived from the show because it ties into how we should be treating people in this industry. Despite what may be portrayed about someone on a television show we have to remember that these are still real-life people and should be given the benefit of the doubt. I define etiquette as; how you treat others, I am also selective about the people I trust in the industry, my advice would be to treat people how you want to be talked about!
Aside from me just sharing my love for Binta I caught up with her recently and she answered a few questions for me so that I can share with you all what she has going on now and just how multifaceted and amazing this woman really is.
What are you up to/working on now?
Binta: I am working on doing things that are beneficial to me in an extremely healthy way. I’m searching for those amazing positive things I will dedicate any time left on earth here for me to do on a daily basis. I call it rebranding and am very happy and looking forward to making it even better!!!!!
What are the causes/movements you care about?
Binta: Right now I am all about causes/movements that are good and only good for the general public. I do not want to be a negative influence in anyone’s life, especially kids that might look up to me and I do not want anyone or anything to be a negative influence on me either. I know the life that I lived so far and I believed there is a better way of living that will make me happy and the people around me. I do have personal brands I did start before and will be expanding on while introducing new projects that are very special to me.
Do you have anyone who has been a support you want to acknowledge or share advice from?
Binta: My family members have always been my biggest support system. At the end of the day, they are the ones that unconditionally love me and no matter what, they have always and will always want to see me in a good light.
If you want to talk about your ANTM experiences feel free, my position is that I was appalled by their portrayal of someone with so much passion for advocacy and peoples rights.
Binta: I was extremely excited to be on ANTM as a model and I definitely did learn about reality shows and let’s just say, I am not happy about how reality show TV works and I am sure, any reality star, who isn’t in control of production would probably feel the same way. At the end of the day, as long as I am living in this world, I have availability to the same opportunities just like the owners of most reality shows and all I can do is wish them all good health and happiness on this earth.
Bonus: These images from our shoot are badass right?! Honestly, this wouldn’t have been so without the help of Dana Cole doing the retouching. This is actually the first time I took the plunge and hired a professional retoucher, I know how to retouch my work but there is just this sparkle I couldn’t get to, I have some more to learn, but being in front of the computer doesn’t have quite the same feeling as being behind the camera, I just knew Dana could bring out something in my work. I mean seriously click the link and check her out, she’s amazing! I honestly recommend to all photographers that if you have a project that’s amazing and need something to help elevate your work and give it that extra polish hiring a professional retoucher is such a wise decision.
Thank you all for reading and let me know about your experiences using retouchers or even ones that I should check out!