Better watch out, Tyra - the runway just got even more crowded.
Michael Flutie, 53, who midwifed the modeling careers of Milla Jovovich, Stephanie Seymour and Alexis Bledel, is the creator, co-producer and model consultant on the new reality series "Scouted," to debut Monday night on E!
In the "docu-soap," as Flutie calls it, hundreds of young girls scouted from around the country are winnowed down to 15, who are then flown to New York City. Next, in Flutie's West Village offices, they are restyled and remade by a bevy of experts and vie to be represented in their nascent modeling careers by One Management.
amNY spoke with Flutie.
How is "Scouted" different from all the other television shows about aspiring models? There are no celebrities. We're not sending the girls to icebergs and having them float canoes. You see the true essence, the heartfelt passion, of the industry. Ours is something very similar to the "American Idol" process: You start out with a girl scouted in a parking lot who would never dream of being a model, meet her and her family, and follow her through the Darwinian selection. The show is also a Cinderella story. It shows that you have to pursue your dreams and never ever give up on anything you have a lot of passion about. Like this show! It took me four years and 16 "nos" to get it made.
You talked about the need for diversity in the industry, but did you recruit a single woman with a normal BMI as a prospective model? The girls are 15 to 20, and one is 22. Part of her story is that she's a little old. Like athletes, models have to start young: You can start swimming at 24, but you can't start a career as an Olympic swimmer at 24. If your proportions are correct, you will fit a size 0 or 2 - that's just the mandate of the industry. Size is a defining editing tool, but good models don't just have physical beauty, but personality and talent.
What do the girls who make it through the "Scouted" gantlet win - is there a cash prize? No! They win the opportunity to enter a highly competitive world. They are given the tools - a team of professional experts - to help them succeed. This is real life; there are no guarantees.
On TV: "Scouted" debuts Monday night at 10 p.m. on E!