article about Robin
Model reality: Latest TV brainchild tests beauties in beastly conditions
By Barbara Bradley
May 20, 2003
What: America's Next Top Model
When: 8 tonight
Where: WLMT-TV Channel 30
Bikini waxes, cat fights, Tyra Banks and a Memphis day care assistant battling to become the next top model: Now that's a reality show!
At least that's what the creators of America's Next Top Model, which premieres tonight, hope you'll think.
In the show, 10 young women are whisked off to New York and thrust into model boot camp for eight weeks. Each week, one is eliminated. The winner gets a crack at a Revlon modeling contract and other goodies.
Among them is Robin Manning, 27, a former Miss Nashville who has a master's degree in education from Tennessee State University.
Manning charges the plate with down-home brass, telling Banks on the first episode:
"You can't get enough of me. I'm unique. I'm fun. Five minutes of bein' around me and you'll go home and tell your friends."
"She has so much personality," said Banks, by phone from Los Angeles. When Banks first got a look at Manning, "It was like I love this girl! Fly her to L.A.!"
Supermodel Banks is creator and executive producer of the show along with Ken Mok, a veteran TV producer. Judges are Janice Dickinson, the world's first supermodel; Beau Quillian, fashion editor for Marie Claire magazine; Kimora Lee Simmons, hip-hop fashion designer; and a different special guest each week.
The winner also gets the opportunity to be managed by Wilhelmina Models Wilhemina Models and a guaranteed appearance in Marie Claire magazine.
At 5-10 and 165 pounds, according to the first episode, Manning is the only plus-sized model. Banks insisted on having one.
"The plus-sized industry is taking America by storm because they're realizing a majority of women are plus size," she said. "So to me . . . it's normal sized."
"Honey, I used to weigh 204 pounds," says Manning, "so I'm thankful for this body right here. If you look at the average woman, that's me."
Manning is single and is pursuing an acting career while she works at The Riverview Kansas Community Day Care Center where her mother, Diane Manning, is executive director. Her father, Robert Manning, holds the same post at another local day care center.
Manning graduated from Whitehaven High School, where she was a majorette. She has several pageant titles, including Miss Tennessee State University and Miss Nashville in 2000, said her mother.
Diane Manning called her daughter a big-hearted girl who is always trying to help underprivileged children at the day care center. "She'd use her little pay to buy them clothes and shoes, and she had me buying them too."
Banks adds that Manning "has a lot of different colors.''
"She's a beautiful woman, she's religious, she's kind of a mother figure. I think viewers will be able to see that."
In Tuesday's opening episode, the models scream their way through bikini waxes in preparation for worse to come - a bikini modeling shoot atop a New York skyscraper in bone-chilling weather.
Yes, we get an eyeful, but it's also realistic, said Banks.
"It's important for me to put models through what real girls go through," said Banks. ''They see models shooting on the beach, and you assume it's 90 degrees. Sometimes it's 20 degrees." But "a top model knows how to make you think she's having the best time in the world."
Even in pleasant times, over dinner or at the penthouse where they stay, little skirmishes arise over smoking and religion. Manning, a Christian, and a kind of acting "den mother," is in the thick of both.
Banks appears to be all over the show.
"I think a lot of people thought I was going to be a vanity producer and creator . . . but I'm extremely involved. . . . As we speak I'm in an editing bay editing Episode 3."
Banks drew on her own experience. Hitting Paris straight out of high school, she lived in cramped models' apartments and endured the loneliness of being away from home and the cattiness of competing girls. She went on 30 go-sees (auditions) a day, couldn't speak the language, rode the metro, tried to read maps, etc. "That was my boot camp," she said.
She rose above the pack partly on preparation. She studied everything about the fashion industry and taught herself how to walk so when she hit the showroom auditions she was ready to knock 'em dead.
The would-be models get a taste of her discipline when she brings some of them up sharply for being late for the bikini shoot.
"It's not just about the prettiest face," said Banks. "There's tons of beautiful women everywhere. It's about the complete package: the brains, the beauty, the personality."
Fashion editor Barbara Bradley can be reached at 529-2370.
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The article does say that Robin used to work with her mother, and ILuvRobin mentioned it in another thread that she used to... And if I remember correctly, he also mentioend that he met her once?? or something... (if I remember correctly) But it proves that he knows a lot about Robin. ILuvRobin, if you don't mind, could you please share how you know her with us?? If it's too personal, never mind, and forget about it.
I didn't know she was a Miss Tenesee University!!
yep...she was homecoming queen of TSU and Miss Nashville...I do not know her..The first time I saw her, was on the show...I never said I met her, I wish I did...
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