“America’s Next Top Model” might have walked the catwalk at the SUB Atrium on Monday evening — if she was tall enough to reach the stage.
More than 80 women auditioned for the hit reality series at the casting call hosted by Albuquerque’s local CW affiliate, but dozens of others who showed up were told they didn’t measure up. Before hopefuls could audition, they had to be at least as tall as the “model stick,” which meant they had to be at least 5 feet 7 inches.
Emily Burshard, who auditioned at the casting call, said she was surprised there were so few contestants, but saw women turned away because they didn’t meet the height requirement.
“They were disappointed, but if the judges are looking for a certain type and they don’t fit that type, then it’s understandable,” the 6-foot-2-inch Burshard said.
Looking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s numbers, it’s no wonder New Mexico women don’t stack up. A little less than half of New Mexico’s population identify as Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the average Hispanic female is 5 feet, 2 inches, two inches shorter than the national average for females, according to the CDC.
CW Creative Director Chris Iller said representatives wanted at least 100 audition tapes from the casting call to give producers. He said he was disappointed with Monday’s turnout, and he said more than 1,000 women auditioned in Albuquerque after the show’s producers dropped the height requirement for one season two years ago.
“The producers said they will not accept anyone under 5-7 because that is the height requirement for the cycle that they are looking for,” he said. “Those are the girls that will make it to the show.”
Channelle Barelas showed up at the SUB Atrium only to be told she was too short to for the show.
Although she couldn’t audition, Barelas, an avid “America’s Next Top Model” fan, decided to stay and watch the women who were tall enough.
“It hasn’t looked too promising,” she said. “I’ve only seen one girl who I think deserves to be on the show. They all just kind of blend in together, and all of them have been kind of scared. It’s like the whole fishbowl effect.”
CW representatives said most women didn’t understand they were not judges. Iller said representatives were simply ensuring the women met the height requirement and had all necessary materials for their audition packages, but had no say in who would end up on the show.
“What we are doing here at the local level is providing a service,” he said. “We’ll videotape them doing their walk, videotape their interview. We check it all for mistakes. They leave here knowing that we’ve looked their packet over.”
In addition to a height requirement, women had to provide a government-issued form of ID, three photographs (one face close-up, one full body shot clothed and one full body shot in a swimsuit) and a videotaped interview conducted by a CW representative at the casting call.
The interviewer read from a list of questions, which included “How competitive are you?”, “Would you do anything to win the competition?”, and “What do you think about your competition outside in the line today? How would you compare yourself to the girls outside in the line?”
Genevieve Murphy-Wix showed up to the casting call unaware she was going to have to provide a swimsuit photo. She said she rushed to the store and bought a suit, even though she was unsure of her chances compared to other women.
“There’s a lot of girls who probably a lot prettier than I am,” Murphy-Wix said. “But I have the height thing going for me, so that’s what I was looking at.”
Burshard walked off the catwalk and into her boyfriend’s arms for a hug. She is uncertain about her chances, but she said she possesses a quality that the show’s judges look for.
“I have that fierceness,” Burshard said.