Nigel Barker, who was on America’s Next Top Model for 17 seasons (seventeen–think about that, people) returns to reality tv with Oxygen’s The Face on February 12.
The fashion industry might not be shying away from television exposure now, but according to Barker, that wasn’t always the case.
In an interview with DuJour, Barker, who was shooting for the likes of Versace and Jil Sander before being approached by Tyra Banks 10 years ago, says the “upward spiral” of his career took a huge hit when he first joined ANTM.
“The Vogues and various people – they wouldn’t touch me,” Barker confesses. “They wouldn’t even look at my book.”
But Barker cites the presence of industry powerhouses like Andre Leon Talley, who sat on the judging panel in recent seasons Top Model, and Naomi Campbell, who mentors on The Face, as evidence of how the industry is embracing the change. “The more exposure you get and the more the general public knows you, the better,” says Barker.
To wit: The Face features a challenge shot by Patrick Demarchelier where the winner is chosen by Stefano Tonchi of W. Barker says his new show isn’t aiming to be the heir apparent to ANTM: “Top Model is all about the craziness,” he explains, “The Face is much more true-to-the-business.”