Nigel Barker: 'ANTM' Is A Caricature, 'The Face' Is About The Real World Of Modeling
Nigel Barker is a very busy man. On top of being a television star, photographer, author and entrepreneur, he's hosting a blowout "America's Next Top Model" marathon on Oxygen on Black Friday. The handsome multi-tasker will take you back to the All Stars-filled ANTM season 17, plus unveil some never-before-seen promos from the upcoming show, "The Face." (They're so good, trust us.) But before that happens, let's have a chat with Nigel to hear what he has to say about working with Naomi Campbell versus Tyra Banks and how he spent "8 hours with Taylor Swift."
THE FACE: How is "The Face" different from "America's Next Top Model"?
NIGEL BARKER: Radically! Obviously, they have their similarities as they are both about the modeling industry and competition shows involving supermodels, however ANTM is more of a caricature of the business while "The Face" is about the real world of modeling. "The Face" isn't just a competition between the contestants, but rather it pits three of the worlds' best known supermodels against one another. In "The Face," you get to see how three extremely different supermodels tick and what got them to the top. They each hand-pick their own teams of aspiring models and go head-to-head to create their own potential supermodel by imparting their personal journey of how to make it.
What is it like working with Naomi Campbell VS. Tyra Banks?
I have indeed been very lucky to work with two of the most successful supermodels in the business: Naomi and Tyra. Both are formidable characters who know what they like and what they don't. Both have the ability to walk into a room and stun it into silence with their sheer beauty, but their methods are very different. No need to describe what Tyra is like as you have all seen her on your screens for the better part of the last decade. What I will say is that Naomi is an extraordinary person with passion, drive and a dedication to her craft to the likes of which I have never seen before. Naomi takes no prisoners and if her eyes were daggers you'd better be a good swordsman.
Tell us something we wouldn't know about "The Face"?
What surprised me the most was just how vested in the competition the supermodels would become. Every week it was if Naomi, Karolina and Coco were on the chopping block for who was going home. It makes you appreciate how seriously these mega successful models take their business and why they are at the top of their game. It gives "Game On" a whole new look!
What do you think the contestants on "The Face" learned?
We all received a big dose of reality! They learned that becoming a supermodel requires enormous dedication, passion, motivation, energy and confidence. Only then, if it all comes together, could you prove to be spontaneous and that's when the magic appears.
You just released "8 Hours/Taylor Swift", a photo book of the singer. How did this project come about?
Sony hired me to shoot Taylor for their "Love To Give" campaign and whenever I get the opportunity to photograph an iconic star I always want to push the envelope. So, we proposed shooting straight for 8 hours without any break. Obviously Taylor got the odd moment of free time to change and freshen up but for the most part I photographed and filmed her every motion and breath. The result is three completely distinct looks and three sides of a legend in the making.
Are you planning any other celebrity photo books?
I am currently in the middle of my new book titled "RAW," which is about capturing "RAW" emotion shot in black and white against a simple white background. The simplicity of the shoot juxtaposes perfectly with the range of emotions I've been able to capture. It's almost like therapy as anything goes. The subjects include A-list celebrities to people I randomly meet who fascinate me. You could be next....
What other projects do you have coming up?
It's a busy time at Studio NB with multiple projects cooking. I have two photo books in the works and a cook book I'm collaborating on with my mother. I am working with Macy's to create a whole series of photo-inspired merchandise from Tote bags to chocolate! My wife Crissy and I are launching our very own skincare and cosmetics line inspired by my recent book "Beauty Equation" and finally I'm working on a screenplay of a well known political activist with the aim of directing my first feature film...
What do you think the chances are for a season 2 of "The Face"? Would you like to return as the host?
With 20 years in the fashion business and 10 years on television I have a fair bit of experience in this genre and with that said I have never worked on anything like "The Face." For viewers interested in fashion, modeling and entertainment and for those who think they know what fierce means, you need to see "The Face" or lose face. Will I be back? I never left.....
Be sure to watch Nigel host the "America's Next Top Model" Black Friday marathon on Oxygen (check your local listings for channel details). Friday, November 23 from 8am to 8pm ET/PT.
[Nigel Barker Photo Credits: Walter Sassard for Oxygen Media; Nigel Barker and Taylor Swift Photo Credit: "8 Hours Taylor Swift"]