Former America’s Next Top Model Contestant Toccara Jones Defends Tyra Banks Amid Controversy


Toccara Jones is defending Tyra Banks from new allegations that producers only paid America’s Next Top Model contestants $40 a day.

The former contestant, who competed in season three of the reality show, spoke to TMZ about Sarah Hartshorne‘s recent allegations about her experience in 2007.

When it comes to the show’s executive producer, Jones said, “There’s no canceling Tyra.”

“This is the modeling world,” Toccara said. “[Tyra] didn’t create this. She just showed y’all [what it’s like] and she became the face of it.”

Toccara said that criticism of this nature “comes with the territory” of being a high-profile model like Tyra, adding that it’s a testament to her influence that “people are still talking about the franchise.” 

Moreover, Toccara said she thinks that ANTM is a contest and no one should expect payment for participating in a show of this sort. 

“The whole purpose of a contest is to win a prize,” she explained. “It’s for the exposure… And no, we don’t get residuals or anything like that, but we did sign a contract and they did feed us and we were able to buy our own personal items if we needed to.”

She confirmed they did receive a $40 per diem, which is paid for each day that the contestant worked.

For Toccara, the experience was worth it, as she said, “Every job that I’ve received after that, I received residuals.”

Sarah alleged on Twitter on Monday, Nov. 29 that she and the other contestants were given “$40 a day, no residuals, and we had to pay for food.”

E! News reached out to Tyra and ANTM for comment.

Sarah’s tweet went viral, with many ANTM viewers commenting on the perceived inequities. And since Tyra was an executive producer and judge on the series, she has been made the target of critics’ ire.

However, a source with knowledge of ANTM production tells E! News, “This has nothing to do with Tyra. It’s a production issue.”

The series has received its share of backlash since it ended in 2018. People have pointed out the problematic themed shoots that contestants participated in, including a Cycle 13 challenge that featured the models with darkened skin. Additionally, Tyra made harsh comments about their appearances.

Tyra acknowledged those concerns in a 2020 tweet, writing, “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”




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