What not to wear: Behind the scenes at the L.A. auditions for 'America's Next Top Model'
Mock-Falcon has been "Top Model's" casting director since its Cycle 1 six years ago. “I always tell Tyra, 'You know these girls, who are coming in right now at 18, were babies when the show started and they’ve watched every season.'”
When Tyra decided she wanted to do a shorty edition, she put Mock-Falcon’s team to work. “We always get [submissions] in the thousands, but when we did the petite cycle, we just got an obscene number," she said. "We filled rooms with tapes."
But for the post-shorty season, it’s back to tall models – only girls who are taller than 5'7. Not that it makes the job any easier. “My job is to bring her the best of what I see out there,” she said. “I bring [Tyra] everything, from what people would think is typical pretty to models people would say, ‘Wow, I don’t see it’ -- but once they’re transformed, they’re in shock. Tyra just wants to see beauty in all shapes and sizes.”
“Some arrive like they’re coming to prom,” she said. They’re like totally glammed up, and we can barely see through all the makeup. Sometimes, the dresses are so big and out of control that we can’t even see who they are underneath that whole thing.”
Aspiring Top Models take note: Mock-Falcon prefers that girls “come in jeans, a tank top and heels, your hair pulled back in a ponytail, and wearing hardly any makeup.”
Out of each group, a few girls were pulled out to record lengthier video. Eighteen-year-old Jessica from Riverside didn’t make the cut. “It was really fast,” she said. “It wasn’t what I expected. I walked in expecting to see Tyra, but it was a bunch of other people.”
Though Shauna and Jessica didn’t get chosen, they both said they’re going to try again next year. “I’ve still got two more years until I’m over the hill,” Shauna said. “I’ll be back next cycle.”
The girls who are selected in L.A. will join thousands of others from castings across the country. Only a fraction of those ladies will actually get the chance to stand in front of the fierceness, Tyra, herself.
Mock-Falcon says the selection process can take three to four months. Yet, even after going through endless auditions, the fans continue to surprise her. “It still shocks us that the girls show up at 2 o'clock in the morning,” she said, "ready to spend a night, even if it’s pouring rain. They bring their tents and their cots and they sit outside. It still amazes me!”
-- Jethro Nededog
Photos: From top, girls wait to audition for Cycle 14 of "America's Next Top Model"; Michelle Mock-Falcon; Shauna (left) and Jessica; at bottom, a member of the "Model" crew offers the girls tips. Credit: Allison DiBiase