• Wed, Dec 4 - 1:30 pm ET

The 5 Most Valubable Things I’ve Learned From Watching America’s Next Top Model

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Remember that one time when you were going to get something done, but then you turned on the TV and saw there was an America’s Next Top Model marathon on? And all of a sudden you were incapable of doing any of the important stuff you actually needed to do and ended up spending the whole day watching Tyra Banks coach the wannabe models instead?

Yeah, I’ve been there, too. But today is no day to curse Tyra Banks and the time you didn’t finish your history assignment because you decided to watch the cycle 7 marathon on Oxygen rather than write your paper.

Today is Tyra Banks’s 40th birthday, and in honor of Tyra reaching the big 4-0 while managing to still be one of the most beautiful women in the world, it’s time to celebrate her greatest gift to pop culture. And no, I don’t mean her Twitter account. Obviously, I’m talking about America’s Next Top Model. Because even though you may feel as if those Saturdays spent on the couch watching unfairly skinny girls compete in weirdo challenges and photo shoots were an unproductive waste of time, I’m here to tell you that you probably learned a lot. I know I sure did, and to help celebrate Tyra’s birthday, I’m going to share my top five ANTM lessons with you.

1. Some people deserve to be models, and other people don’t.

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Back in my younger years, I used to think it was a bit strange when people would talk about deserving rewards like winning a reality TV show or a top model contract. Sure, you can work hard and earn that stuff, but does anyone really deserve a modeling contract? Isn’t that something that a few lucky, extremely attractive people happen to get?

But now I know that logic was a big old bunch of hooey. At pretty much every elimination after Tyra whittles down her model hopefuls to the bottom two contestants, she’ll wax poetic about each of the girls’ shortcomings before asking the all-important question: Who deserves to stay and who deserves to pack her belongings and go home? Then, of course, she’ll send one girl packing, so there’s no confusion as to which girl is which.

2. If you can’t smize, then you don’t deserve to be a model.

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Thanks to Tyra, I no longer have to yell something stupid like, “Say cheese!” when taking family photos. Now, I can sound like a pro-model by telling my family to “Smize!”

For those of you, like my father, who aren’t quite on my level when it comes to model lingo, “smize” means to “smile with your eyes.” (Get it??) And from what I’ve seen from watching ANTM for the last ten years (That’s right, this show has been on the air for a whole decade), if you can’t smize, then you simply don’t deserve to be America’s next top model.

3. It’s totally acceptable to lie in your TV show’s title.

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Maybe back in the early years of ANTM Tyra might actually have believed her show’s winner could become one of the modeling world’s elite, but at this point, I think it’s pretty obvious that there aren’t any top models being discovered on the show.

Future ex-wives of Peter Brady? You betcha (Adrianne Curry, here’s to looking at you). I’ve also heard that some of the show’s contestants make appearances at castings for Project Runway, but I’d hardly call that top model status. But whatever. Why let the facts get in the way of a catchy TV show title?

4. You can make a lot of money by teaching people how to walk.

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Once upon a time when I was a young girl trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, I tossed around career choices like teacher, veterinarian, and travel agent. Never did it cross my mind that I could earn a living by teaching people how to walk. Meanwhile, J Alexander aka Miss J aka my second favorite half of the Mr. and Miss J team has made beaucoup bucks doing just that.

I mean, helloooo, I’ve been walking ever since right after I stopped crawling. That’s more than two decades of experience. Could there be a career more perfectly suited for me?

Oh, what’s that you say, you have to know how to walk in heels to be a walking coach? Alrighty then, I guess I’ll have to go back to the career drawing board.

5. Tyra Banks can and has rocked every possible hairstyle on the planet.

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Long, short, curled, straight, blonde, black, brown, red, up, down, sideways, backwards…any hairstyle you can possibly imagine, Tyra Banks has already tried it. And it looked fabulous on her.

I know this shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. She is one of the most famous models ever to walk the runway. I guess sometimes I forget that, unlike every contestant who has ever and will ever appear on her show, Tyra actually was one of America’s top models.

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  • Jill O’Rourke

    Every time Tyra demonstrates the smize, a Victoria’s Secret model gets her wings.