There is a current episode of America’s Next Top Model, Game, where Tyra and Jay ask the models to create and record a short song, then shoot a video with their directors with the intent of creating a viral YouTube video. They open with a challenge from Madison, a current viral video child star with some videos holding over 50,000 views.
The models go through a process of writing a song about their lives and recording with their guest judge, Game. Each model then goes through the process of modeling for a video to accompany their song with the intent of going viral. Each model must incorporate both the line “pot ledom – top model backwards” and random clips of Tyra and Keenan Cahill dressed in some ridiculous getup, left.
Can a video constructed in this manner may ever be considered viral, even if it somehow gained a decent amount of exposure? Rebecca Black’s Friday is a perfect example of a successfully viral video that mirrors this kind of professional video production, but there is still this pesky question of intent. Can these ANTM videos be considered authentic? Does the video’s authenticity affect eligibility of being viral? There are plenty of other teen videos created under the company that produced Rebecca Black’s, but for some reason hers seemed to catch on. If, within a community that cultivates the amateur and accidental stardom, a user creates a video with the intent of going viral as the main motivating factor, can it be considered an original work or should it be brushed off as fake? Farennikova and Prinz discuss this question of authenticity in the first chapter of Fashion, Philosophy for Everyone in asking if intentions matter. If we compare the theory of successful/’cool’ fashion to successful/’popular’ videos on YouTube, than it stands to reason that, like the people who dress to impress, those who create videos with intent of going viral will in fact appear to be what Russell later calls ‘try-hards’ or fashion victims.
The creators of the show seem to feel they have come across a sort of secret formula that they feel will indeed land them viral status. Their decision to include things like ‘pot ledom’ and tyra banks in silly outfits would seem to be their stab at giving the video a more authentic feel. With the backing of a popular TV Show and a very transparent motivation, the low exposure the videos have gotten so far would indicate that even the TV show viewers aren’t watching them. Are ANTM’s videos the fashion victims of YouTube?
It’s somewhat telling that most popular and remixed video of the few created is that of Allison Harvard, the weirdest and most unique model on the current season of ANTM. People seem to be drawn to her uniqueness and inherent authenticity stemming from her look.