Makeup artist Jay Manuel shared his experience with filming America’s Next Top Model during the recent episode of Just the Sip. He discussed secrets from the hit series including his friendship with his former co-star and ANTM executive producer Tyra Banks. The discussion took place amid Manuel’s press tour for his first novel, The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown.
His debut novel is fictional but he revealed the truth on Just the Sip hosted by Justin Sylvester. According to him, filming ANTM started well but shifted with time. He held the title of Creative Director on the show but he didn’t make all the creative decisions himself. As a matter of fact, he said that he objected to a photo shoot during Cycle 4 wherein the models were asked to swap races.
He said he was uncomfortable while filming that episode and didn’t want to do that shoot all. He wasn’t only uncomfortable with the concept but behind the scenes, the culture was shifting fast. He recalled asking the co-Executive Producer that he couldn’t do the shoot but was told he had to do it and show up. They told him not to worry because they will cover him in the edit and make sure he’s not dragged for it.
Manuel signed a contract with the network for several cycles plus he claimed there was fear culture on set. According to the 47-year-old artist, he had to get along with it. His contract was up in Cycle 8 but the show wanted to renegotiate for additional cycles. He reached out to Tyra Banks first and said he couldn’t come back because he’ll work on other things. She thought she would understand but she told him she’s disappointed.
For three months the ANTM reached out to other artists but they weren’t able to find a replacement for him. Two weeks before their production, they called and asked him to do one more, like a one-off until they find the right person to replace him. He turned down their offer because he had another commitment. However, his lawyer called him and confirmed that the show won’t take no for an answer.
Manuel returned during Cycle 9 as a talent and though he was assured everybody was happy for his return, Tyra gave her the silent treatment. This went on for a while until he received a message telling him to see her in her hotel room and there, she apologized to him. The model told her that she should’ve been more professional.
After she apologized, Manuel signed on to work for additional cycles but his friendship with the executive producer was never the same. However, things did get better between them.