Remember the tasteless modeling contest American Apparel conducted to find the perfect “booty-ful” model to fit their XL disco pants? Well the fierce contest is over, and the winner was announced a few days ago with Nancy Upton, 24, declared as the next “big” thing to represent the clothing company. Although, Upton clearly received the highest score, American Apparel’s creative director, Iris Alonzo, felt differently about her take on the contest. Upton failed to see the positive outlook that American Apparel was trying to convey, and as a result, disqualified her.
In Upton’s The Daily Beast article, “My Big, Fat Photo Spoof,” she goes on to say, “American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products.”
The Dallas actor and theater artist had no intentions of winning the competition. Rather, she wanted to voice her opinion to the company who was “co-opting the mantra of plus-size empowerment and glazing it with its unmistakable brand of female objectification.”
So, Upton and her photographer friend, Shannon Skloss decided to take and submit images of Upton bathing in ranch dressing, downing chocolate syrup, and stuffing her face with chicken was her way of letting people know about the offense American Apparel has committed. Her photos were accepted and the contest gained steam. On September 8th, the voting was closed and Upton was the clear winner.
But, things turned sour when word got out about Upton’s real intentions about the contest. Alonzo sent Upton a rather, unprofessional open letter to deny her from her winnings.
The letter begins with, “It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge based on your personal distaste for our use of light-hearted language, and that “bootylicous” was too much for you to handle. While we may be a bit TOO inspired by Beyoncé, and do have a tendency to occasionally go pun-crazy, we try not to take ourselves too seriously around here. I wonder if you had taken just a moment to imagine that this campaign could actually be well intentioned, and that my team and I are not out to offend and insult women, would you have still behaved in the same way, mocking the confident and excited participants who put themselves out there?”
So Lovelies, what do you think of this issue? Do you think Upton took the contest way too far or was American Apparel did the right thing to disqualify her?