The secret’s out—I’m totally guilty of being an America’s Next Top Model junkie. It’s not like I plan my life around it or record it on Tivo or anything, but if it’s on and I’m home? Game. On. Typically, it’s just a guilty pleasure, but last night, contestant Shannon Stewart gave the show a bit of substance when she proved that models can be role models, too.
So in this week’s episode, interestingly timed to be on the same night as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, ANTM had a challenge where contestants posed (casually laying in a giant bowl of Greek salad, of course) in designer underwear. Shannon Stewart refused to take part, saying that although she poses in bathing suits—and these undies covered just about as much skin as a bikini—she made a promise to herself to never pose in underwear or nude.
Tyra (a former Victoria’s Secret model herself) admired Shannon’s ability to stick to her guns, but it confused the other judges who thought the undies weren’t much different than bikinis she’s modeled in before. They even reminded her that skipping the challenge would lower her chances of winning America’s Next Top Model, but despite all that pressure, Shannon wouldn’t budge.
“I want to save lingerie for my husband,” she says, “When I think about underwear, I think about intimacy, and I think about the bedroom. That’s not something I think the world needs to see.” In the end, Shannon didn’t participate in the shoot. She stood up for what she believed in, even though it didn’t make sense to anybody else and she knew it might cost her the competition.
But the most awesome thing isn’t what Shannon did—it’s what she didn’t do. When you have strong beliefs about something, it’s easy to judge others for not sharing them, or for doing things that you wouldn’t do, but not once did Shannon bash the other girls for going ahead with the shoot and being photographed in their undies. Shannon had the confidence to follow her heart in a really tricky situation, but didn’t impose her beliefs on anybody else. That’s way impressive in my book. If there was a prize for America’s Next Top Role Model? Shannon Stewart would be a shoo-in.
Do you watch ANTM? Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to stand up for what you believed in? Tell us all of that and what you think about Shannon Stewart’s decision in the comments!