‘Tyra Banks loves all things Indian’

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Tyra Banks, the presenter and executive producer of “America’s Next Top Model”, loves all things Indian and had been wanting to bring a version of her globally popular show to the country, says the show’s co-executive producer Ken Mok.

“India’s Next Top Model”, the Indian version of the model hunt, began this year.

“India has always been an extremely important market for us. Tyra Banks loves all things Indian and we’ve been wanting to come to India for quite some time now. So, to see that our franchise is doing well, that is truly gratifying,” Mok told IANS in an email interview.

“Hopefully one day we’ll be able to come to India and work with the Indian version,” he added.

The Indian version of the American TV show features model-actress Lisa Haydon, VJ Anusha Dandekar, image consultant and grooming expert Neeraj Gaba and celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani grooming the contestants, so that they compete for the title of ‘India’s Next Top Model’.

“I think the talent on ‘India’s Next Top Model’ is great. They’ve been doing a great job on offering advice and insight to the girls,” Mok added.

“America’s Next Top Model”, which is in its 22nd cycle, has enjoyed immense popularity since its inception.

Looking back to the initial years of the show, Mok says the show “has come a long way since it’s inception”.

“I think one of the ways we’ve been on for so long is that, just like ever-changing fashion world – we’ve constantly kept the show fresh and reinvented ourselves over time, such as incorporating social media and now, introducing men into the mix,” he said.

Honing future supermodels on reality TV series may not be a novel concept anymore. However, Mok says “television is a powerful tool that can really shape perceptions”.

“With ‘India’s Next Top Model’, I see a franchise that can really grow and become a powerhouse in the Indian market. We have become a cultural standard in the US and we’ve seen our show help shape and change the fashion industry. I think India’s version will grow into that status as well,” he added.

About his association with supermodel Tyra Banks, who has been a mainstay with “America’s Next Top Model” since the show’s inception, Mok said: “She is not only my partner, but my good friend – a multi talented, incredibly smart and hard working individual. She’s a great role model for young women everywhere”.

Asked about his opinion on current reality TV shows, Mok said: “Unfortunately, a lot of reality shows nowadays delve into areas that I’m not so interested in. But I think reality series are no different from scripted series. There are some that are good, bad and in between.”

“I am very proud of ‘America’s Next Top Model’, though. We really strive to maintain the quality and standards of the show year in and year out,” he added.

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