Tyra Banks has found herself in a new controversy stemming from her time as creator and host of America's Next Top Model, with one of the contestants now publically calling out her and the producers over a pay discrepancy. Recently, some tweets about Banks and ANTM caught quite a bit of attention for claims that the contestants made very little money while the host earned millions. Now, Season 9 alum Sarah Hartshorne has spoken out and shared her experience with the New York Post.
"We were not paid a penny for being on the show," the former plus-size model stated. "We were given a $38 daily cash stipend that we had to use to pay for our own food." She added that producers "didn't even give us a microwave to heat the food up." Hartshorne, who is now 34 and was only 18 when she first appeared on the show, went on to share that the conditions they were expected to compete under were very challenging.
"Production kept us in the dark about almost everything because they wanted to keep us on edge. Us being confused, tired, stressed, sleep-deprived and hungry just made for better TV," she told the NY Post. "We never knew where we were going at any given time. They would transport us from place to place in a windowless van and we'd have to face every situation totally clueless and out of sorts."
Hartshorne also claimed that she and other contestants were not allowed to communicate with some of their loved ones while competing. "Production had us sign hundreds of contracts, including non-disclosure agreements," she said. "And anyone that we wanted to talk to on the phone outside of the show had to sign the NDA, too. My grandpa didn't want to sign it, so I couldn't speak to him for the weeks we were shooting."
Ultimately, Hartshorne feels that "being on America's Next Top Model didn't really open doors in the modeling world for a lot of people." She also claimed that she's not aware of any winners or contestants with who Banks remained in contact once the seasons ended. "It just gives aspiring models a glimpse of what to expect if we want to make it in the industry," Hartshorne added.
Finally, Hartshorne confessed that she "personally" does not "regret doing the show, but I know that a lot of people who do and I totally understand where they're coming from." She concluded, "At the time, most of us didn't have the platform or the strength to speak up for ourselves or to leave the show altogether. But I hope this Twitter reckoning resonates with those who did us wrong."