Shortly after Season 2 of Make Me A Supermodel ended, we chatted with Shari Levine, Vice President of Production at Bravo to discuss what she looks for in potential contestants.
While it might seem simple enough–be absolutely gorgeous and about 6 feet tall–Shari shared with us the other important factors in becoming the next Make Me A Supermodel star. We chatted about the importance of personality, real world modeling potential, the possibility of a plus-sized contestant, and what separates Make Me A Supermodel from other reality TV modeling shows.
How and why was the decision made to change the show from popular vote based eliminations and winners to being decided by a panel of experts?
We specialize in bringing expert opinions to the creative process. We put together a great panel of judges and really wanted to be able to let them guide us in selecting the very best contestants that could actually succeed in the industry.
A lot of contestants on the show have previous professional modeling experience, is there a point where they’ve had too much experience to be able to be cast?
People who are already successful models don’t typically look to come on a modeling show, they are to busy working. We seek untapped talent that hasn’t had their break yet, they may have modeled before – but our contestants have not yet “made it” in the industry.
With all the raw footage you shoot, how do story-lines develop? How do you decide which “stories” to focus on?
The stories are dictated by who is succeeding and who is not at the challenges, with an eye to how they are interacting with each other; they are determined by those standout models that do exceptionally well or are particularly challenged during each round.
How important is a model’s personal story to their casting?
We are looking for talented people who have the drive to succeed and their personal life story is interesting as it makes them who they are today and effects how passionate they are in their work.
How much does personality come into the casting of contestants?
It’s important; they have to be interesting people, but with a very high level of talent. We wouldn’t pick anyone who didn’t have the ability to succeed in the industry.
Do you feel the need to find characters and stories hinders you from choosing the best models? Or do you believe that a strong personality is something unique that is needed in a potential supermodel?
A strong personality is very important to being a successful supermodel, though we did not turn down gorgeous people for lack of personality.
A question from one of our Twitter Users, rneorr @BuddyTV
Would they ever cast a plus size model?
We are looking for a supermodel, and when plus size models make it to that level, we will happily cast one.
Since the show is a big success now, do you only find contestants through casting calls? Or is there still hope for someone shopping at the local mall that we always hear about?
We hope to reach the person shopping in the mall when we do our casting calls they are one and the same. We don’t currently have scouts out, but we publicize our casting calls and do grassroots marketing to reach all those people passionate about being in the industry. We also allow people to send in videotapes if they can’t make the casting calls – so really the playing field is level for all who seek to try out.
Some casual observers would think MMAS was just Bravo’s copycat on ANTM. But for people who aren’t already big fans, set the record straight. What makes MMAS its own series? Why is it more than just another modeling show?
We are serious about looking for people who would be big successes in the modeling world. Talent is the first priority.
ANTM is a hugely successful, really entertaining show, but we don’t have the same format. In the real world of modeling, some models work in print, some on runways – we are looking for that well – rounded model that can do it all. We are being very honest and realistic about what it takes to succeed in the modeling world; our challenges are created with that in mind, our catwalks are created with that in mind – it’s really about judging those kinds of skills and finding extraordinary talent.
We look to the real life challenges of real models and formulate our challenges off those scenarios. We test the full scoop that a model has to have to succeed as a supermodel. It’s good TV, but it’s true to the industry.
–Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of Bravo)