Models. They’ve got that pout, that pose, that perfectly sculpted body. But lately it seems that they’re more than just pretty faces.

Models have taken the dive into different fields that don’t necessarily require being beautiful as a prerequisite. Famous faces such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Kimora Lee Simmons are proving that they can do more than just strike a pose.

Model Simmons has expanded on her passion for fashion by creating and modeling for her own line, Baby Phat. The line, which stems from Simmons’ ex-husband’s Phat Farm line, uses Simmons as model and muse in their advertisements. Simmons, in turn, has creative say over the line, and is now president and creative director of Phat Fashions LLC.

In the television realm, it seems Banks has been the pioneer of modeling shows. With her hit show “America’s Next Top Model,” which is now in its ninth season, the Banks name has skyrocketed in popularity. As a result, she now has her very own talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show,” which is now in its third season. The show is aimed at young women and is set up under the same format as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” with its mix of true life issues and celebrity interviews.

Another top model who hosts her own show is Klum. Much like her fellow Victoria’s Secret Angel Banks, Klum has developed “Project Runway.” The show, now in its third season, follows aspiring designers in a competition in which they are pitted against each other for a chance at winning a spot in New York Fashion Week, as well as enough money to start their very own fashion line. Klum stands in as host and judge on this Emmy-nominated series.

FDU students tend to think that models, just like everyone else, need to have more
than just good looks to get by.

“To be successful you need to be more than pretty. They need have the brains to expand their careers,” said FDU junior Sarah Carr.

Senior Mike Sorbino tends to agree that models need to possess more redeeming qualities than just being beautiful. This recent trend of models being more than just breathing mannequins is a good thing in his eyes.

“I think it’s a good trend because now they’re using their brains instead of their beauty to promote themselves,” he said.

This career expansion seems to have a ripple effect on the very popularity of the model. Are models now considered icons and celebrities in this day and age?

“Models have always been celebrities,”said Carr.

Junior Amanda Damato agreed but also pointed out that not every model has celebrity status. “Some models have made themselves into celebrities, like Tyra Banks. There are some of the really popular models that everyone knows but then there are others that no one has even heard of,” she said.

The overall opinion of many students is that all top models are right in expanding their horizons. Despite the fact that many of these shows may be copy-cat images of each other, most still are addicted into this high fashion and glamorous world, tuning in weekly to find out who will be America’s
next “top” model.

“Some of the shows are the same,” said Carr. “But I’m still watching them.”

Says Sorbino, “Keep the shows coming!”

Published in the December 5, 2007 issue of The Metro

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