'Canada's Next Top Model' host focused more on fashion than infighting in season 3

Jay Manuel, host and executive producer of "Canada's Next Top Model," has had enough of the "catwalk, catfight" cliches plaguing the Gemini Award-winning show.

TORONTO - Jay Manuel, host and executive producer of "Canada's Next Top Model," has had enough of the "catwalk, catfight" cliches plaguing the Gemini Award-winning show.

And so as shooting began earlier this year for cycle 3 of the series, debuting next Tuesday on CTV, the Toronto-raised fashion guru tried to focus more on the professional, rather than the personal, drama.

"The fashion is definitely very, very strong this season," Manuel said in a recent telephone interview from New York, where he lives.

"I just feel that negative spin that gets put on reality shows and what have you, and 'Oh, it's all about the catfights' ... I don't like setting things up to be divisive like that."

"Of course people are going to get on each other's nerves," Manuel added, "and you're going to see that and the drama is definitely there, but it's woven into the show in a very different way because of what the girls are experiencing."

Those experiences include international travel - a first for the show.

"With the travel, there's drama," said Manuel. "There's the obvious drama that you may think, but there are two very, very interesting storylines with two of the trips that I think people are going to be glued to their seats as they watch it unfold."

This season, 11 Canadian beauties, chosen from a countrywide audition tour, live under the same roof in Toronto as they compete for a modelling contract with Elmer Olsen Model Management, a $100,000 beauty contract from P&G Beauty and a spread in Fashion Magazine.

Manuel, who works as a photo-shoot director on the American version of the series, said he wanted the hopefuls to walk away with valuable lessons this season and "have it really be rooted in real fashion."

"I've really been blessed to be a part of this industry for so many years. I've lived here in New York for 17 years now and I just really wanted to bring all those experiences to the girls," he said. "The drama is just going to fall in place. It's just going to happen. "

"I just wanted to plan out the entire series as something that was truly legitimate to the world of fashion so that we're really finding a top model, and not: 'Ooo, what's great television? Oh, let's put them here and they're going to go crazy!' I just didn't think that way."

"America's Next Top Model" announced in March that its next season will feature contestants five foot seven and under, which is shorter than the industry standard of five foot nine.

Manuel said he'd consider adding unconventional model hopefuls to the Canadian show if the market demanded it.

"I think if we were to go forward and do another cycle of 'Canada's Next Top Model,' to me, again, I would look at the market and see what is important," he said. "Maybe it's important to (have) a plus-sized competition because there's a huge market for plus-sized modelling."

"Canada's Next Top Model" will air on CTV on Tuesdays and will repeat on Star and FashionTelevisionChannel on Wednesdays, on MTV Canada on Thursdays and on A Channel on Fridays.

Judges include Manuel, "Fashion Television"'s Jeanne Beker, supermodel Yasmin Warsame and Montreal-born photographer Mike Ruiz. Nole Marin returns as creative director.

 
 
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