Back in May former America’s Next Top Model contestant, Winnie Harlow, slammed the modeling competition show saying it “didn’t do anything” to advance her now-skyrocketing career. Now, ANTM creator and host, Tyra Banks, just broke her silence on Harlow’s comments.
During a stop on Watch What Happens Live Harlow said that it was actually photographer Nick Knight, not Banks, who helped get her modeling career moving.
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“[My success] started after the show, ’cause that really didn’t do anything for my career. Which, it doesn’t do anything for any model’s career, realistically,” the ANTM cycle 21 finalist said. “A photographer from London hit me up — major photographer Nick Knight — and he was like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen your photos online, and I want to do a shoot with you.’ It went viral, and I got campaigns from there, and it hasn’t stopped since.”
Banks made her own visit to the WWHL clubhouse on Thursday and addressed Harlow’s claims on air.
“I discovered her on Instagram and she [was] on this show, so what do you think that means?” Banks said. “I have nothing but love for my girls. And my girls come from so many walks of life and so much pain and so much hardship and so much story. And a lot of times when people express themselves in certain ways, there’s a reason. And I will respect her confidentially and her life but I have to give love to her.”
She continued: “They’re all my babies, they’re all my babies, even the ones that act out are still my babies.” To which WWHL host Andy Cohen quipped, “That’s how I feel about the Housewives.”
Harlow did seem to backtrack a bit when Cohen asked her during her interview if she thinks she made it in the industry “in spite” the show.
“I wouldn’t like to say that,” Harlow said. “It’s still a part of my history, and I’m really grateful for everything that I’ve done to get where I am. But, you know.”
Ever since Harlow’s 2014 ANTM appearance, she’s been nabbing high-fashion campaigns, editorials and runway shows ever since. She dominated the catwalk during the Spring 2019 season and just made history at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
For the first time ever, Victoria’s Secret featured a model with vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of pigmentation loss on the skin, on the runway at its annual show (airing Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. on ABC).
“It means the world to me,” the first-timer told PEOPLE. “Victoria’s Secret might be the biggest show there is because of how many people are able to watch it around the world, so to be a part of diversifying the Victoria’s Secret Angel landscape is a true honor that I’m so proud of.”