It wasn’t an easy decision for Naomi to get into reality TV. After fielding numerous offers to appear on different competition series or requests to let the cameras into her everyday life, Naomi decided that bringing “The Face” to Oxygen was the right move for her.
But in an industry where things can get catty on the catwalk, many wasted no time drawing comparisons between “The Face” and “ANTM,” which was created by her one-time rival Tyra Banks. In fact, when Naomi spoke to reporters about “The Face” this week, it was the first question she was asked.
“Well, first of all, I am different. I am before Tyra,” Naomi said, reminding everyone that she was working the runway and slaying photo spreads before Tyra ever smized. But, giving credit where credit is due, Naomi commended Tyra on the success of “ANTM.”
“I have a lot of respect for Tyra and what she’s done with ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and taking it all over the world and what she’s done for young women out there who want to be in the fashion industry,” she said.
However, it did not go unnoticed that “The Face” does have a transplant from “ANTM.” Noted photographer Nigel Barker, who sat beside Tyra for several seasons as a judge, is now hosting Naomi’s show. Still, Naomi feels her show will offer up something never seen before in the world of modeling competitions.
“I don’t like to compare anything that I do,” said Naomi. “This show is a completely different type of format.”
For starters, “The Face” features three teams led by one of the supermodel mentors: Naomi, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova. Not only that, but each challenge sees the teams working with real clients each and every week. But the biggest difference on “The Face” is that the aspiring models are closely coached by their mentors.
“I think one of the fundamental differences between ‘The Face’ and other modeling shows is, frankly, the tone,” said Executive Producer Eden Gaha. “One of the reasons why Naomi even agreed to this show in the first place was that it was all about mentoring. It was all about showing these young girls what this [business] is really like.”
And as a mentor, Naomi said that she was all about tough love and realistic advice. “I’m very honest and I’m quite tough with my girls because I won’t be with them to hold their hand going through castings and out there in the real world,” Naomi explained. She revealed that like any good coach she always pushes her mentees to do better in the most constructive way possible.
“I praise them when they do things great and encourage them, and when they do something that I think is not right in the world as I know it, in our business, I tell them that,” the supermodel said.
“I care very much about my girls, and I want them to get as much out of me as possible,” Naomi revealed, adding that she still keeps in touch with her flock of fledgling models even though the competition is over. “[I was] available to them really 24/7 the whole time that i was with them as I am available to my girls and my team now, who I still talk to up until this day.”
Check out Naomi and more Black supermodels below!