Saturday, November 17, 2007

Super Models Turn To Super TV Show Hostesses

Models may look pretty, but can they hold a TV show together? The truth is, while the still camera may love leggy models, the TV camera is another beast altogether; it takes a certain gregarious presence to work that small screen. In honor of the return of Heidi Klum and another season of "Project Runway," here's a rundown of the stars who have worked it both in high fashion and in TV-land.

Tyra Banks, "America's Next Top Model"

Honestly, you can't turn on the TV anymore without seeing fresh episodes or reruns of "Top Model," or Tyra's talk show, or … well, Tyra in pretty much anything. Earlier in her career, she was lovely but still a bit awkward as she tried to play traditional acting roles ("Higher Learning," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), but once she realized her own persona was the best role ever, she's been rocking it. Her critiques of the models can sometimes be brutal, but she's been there and always tempers her comments with a nice gravitas. And she's still in the running toward becoming America's Next Top Mogul.

Heidi Klum

The willowy Klum was an early '90s runway phenom who rocketed back to the A-list with the brilliant competitive reality show "Project Runway." Klum's beauty and straightforward presentation work well on the show, where she's the host and head of the panel of judges, but wisely lets contestant coach Tim Gunn have the lion's share of the attention. And her cute German accent somehow makes hearing "Nick, you ahr aught" a little easier to take. Auf Wiedersehen, hiatus; welcome Season 4!

Janice Dickinson, "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency"

The self-billed "world's first supermodel" splashed back into consciousness in early seasons of "ANTM." Yes, she borders on being a caricature, but you can't deny her entertainment value. She jazzed up "The Surreal Life" and has written several books, all snarky. And she's got a healthy ego: "I was Versace's muse, I was Valentino's muse, I was Alaia's muse, Lancetti's muse, Calvin Klein's, Halston's. I could go on and on."

Twiggy, "America's Next Top Model"

This lady has some great genes. Ever since she was the waifish pinup girl for Swinging London and Carnaby Street, she's evolved into a strong actress and is as lovely as ever. She's taken a stab at traditional acting ("The Boy Friend" anyone?) as well as the short-lived 1991 series "Princesses." But she's hit her stride on "ANTM" as a gentle but articulate critic of model performance, and seems to have the modeling biz in good perspective.

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