In fact, a few weeks ago, America’s Next Top Model had an episode where the contestants had to adopt two different ethnicities for a photo shoot. Tyra said she wanted them to adopt biracial identities because they were in Hawaii, which is home to people of various ethnicities. Thus, the contestants were asked to portray ethnicities including, Mexican and Greek, Tibetan and Egyptian, Moroccan and Russian, Native American and East Indian, Botswanan and Polynesian, and Japanese and Malagasy. Here is a picture of one of the contestants after getting a lot of make up done to blacken her face to make her seem as though she is Batswanan/polynesian:
I personally think that this photo shoot reinforces racial stereotypes by making these various races appear more “exotic” and “foreign”. The fact that this contestant was asked to adopt a different race and was made to look darker and thrust into a setting that looks primitive and tribal reinforces notions of the other. The gaze is “commonly regarded as awarding more power to the person who is looking than to the person who is the object of the look.” Thus, the fact that Tyra is making these models adopt various ethnicities that are going to become objects of the look reinforces the idea of the “other” and the fact that they are subjugated in the media.