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dear ms. tyra banks, i...

...think you are great. honest. i really love top model. i've watched since day 1, and eva was my favorite, and i loved naima, and danielle, and i thought yoanna was absolutely beautiful. and when i was little, and i was skinny and tall for my age, and i promised to be super tall adult, people encouraged me to be you when i grew up.

i am so glad you are doing what you want to do with your life. i loved you in higher learning. you were a unique and talented model. retiring from one wildly successful career at a vastly young age to pursue another. ms. banks, i'm proud of you. and you said you wanted to get a talk show, and you went out and got one. hats off to you.

but the other morning, i saw you on good morning america, one of my favorite shows, talking about an episode of said talk show where you would be investigating modeling scams, schemes that promise to make models of impressionable young women, but that really only exploit them. you have said that exposing these schemes was your personal crusade, and i think you could really be the one to do just that. if anybody knows about making it in the modeling world, surely, that would be you.

but then i learned more about the epsiode and it's set up for accomplishing your purpose. and it profoundly saddened me. apparently, you set up your own fake scheme, hired a fake photographer and makeup artist, solicited hopeful models, and brought them down to a fake photo shoot to see what would transpire.

apparently, some of these young women went so far as to get naked for this phony photo session. and then you came in and told them it was fake and asked them why they did it.

here's my take: this "investigative action" did not expose modeling scams. it was a modeling scam. i can't say you didn't set up the hopefuls for a real shot at a real agency, because i didn't get to see the entire episode. i was at work, and i have no video recording device, so i am relying on what i heard you say on gma and on what i have read on your website. i can only hope you did something to make up for their lost time. and i as think your heart is in the right place, and as i think you are sincere in your efforts, i am pretty sure you did something for them. i can't imagine otherwise.

but...by putting on this experiment in this manner, you became that same scam you are crusading against. then you used that footage, footage of these young women being duped, possibly nakedly, for your television show. i can't help but think that that was not a good setup. nor did it expose scams, it did not expose the scam artists, it did not expose their lechery, it exposed the vulnerability and gullibility of the girls you want to protect.

and i also can't help but think about the first episode of this season of top model, wherein you asked the semifinalist to stand for a nude, outdoor photo shoot before the final competition even began. is that much different from asking for them to get naked for an open call? i know that top model is an actual and legitimate competition, but you congratulated the girls on the talk show who refused to take off their clothes just because a photographer asked them to. but girls have been eliminated from the competition on top model for just the same reason. is it a double standard?

it's a harsh, cruel world out there, and young women need to be prepared. might i suggest that a better investigative model might have been to send a trained, professional model, or actor, into an actual modeling scam setup and taped that? then no one innocent (and perhaps naive) aspiring model has to be embarassed on television, and you don't have to do anything to compensate for their hurt.

just a thought. i'm not an investigative reporter either, but i thought i'd make the suggestion.

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