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Being a top model in Vietnam no longer a tall order

Monday, July 04, 2016, 19:43 GMT+7

A candidate standing only 1.54 meters tall has defied the odds and qualified for the seventh season of Vietnam’s version of the fashion-themed reality television series Next Top Model, with this cycle promising to be surprise-packed, as no standard on shape or size has been set for contestants.

In a playing field like the modeling business, where weight and height contribute in large part to one’s success, this year’s season of Vietnam’s Next Top Model has broken the rules to scrap all appearance requirements and allow any modeling enthusiast to apply to be in the cast.

Next Top Model is a fashion-themed reality television show where contestants compete in runway walks, improvised acting, photo shoots, and fashion challenges to claim the title, often coming with a modeling contract with a major agency and a cover shoot for a fashion magazine.

The show's format was first brought to Vietnam in 2010 under the name Vietnam’s Next Top Model (VNTM), and has been aired annually since.

For the past six seasons, the show had set a minimum height of 1.75 meters for female contestants and 1.85 meters for male contestants, corresponding to international standards for catwalk models.

For this year’s season, however, the show’s organizers decided to scrap all standards on appearance, be it height or weight, and let everyone apply as long as they had a passion for professional modeling.

Speaking at the press conference to announce the show’s format on Tuesday afternoon, Le Thi Quynh Trang, chairwoman of the board of the production company, explained the unusual decision to “break the boundaries” so that models can be discovered with a wider range of body types.

“Vietnam’s Next Top Model seeks not only runway models with superior height and strict body measurements, but also editorial and advertising models with shapes and sizes similar to the average person,” Trang said.

According to the show’s organizers, 24 contestants, divided evenly between men and women, have been selected for the final round of VNTM.

The shortest female qualifier was only 1.54 meters tall, while the shortest male finalist was 1.72 meters, according to the organizers.

The first episode of the 2016 cycle of VNTM will air at 8:00 pm on VTV3 channel on July 17.

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