Tyra Banks is getting re-dragged over some old America’s Next Top Model clips, one of which shows the host urging one contestant, Dani Evans, to close the gap in between her two front teeth. Now, Dani is responding to the backlash, giving fans some background information on the whole situation.
In the footage, Tyra tells the contestant that the gap in her teeth isn’t marketable before implying that her decision not to close it will lead to her elimination.
“So Danielle, you went to the dentist but you refused to have your gap closed,” Banks told Evans in the 2006 episode. “Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in your mouth?”
“Yes, why not?” Evans responds.
“This is all people see …” the host continued. “It’s not marketable.”
This video (among other, similar clips) resurfacing ignited some serious backlash all across social media, especially when some pointed out that a white contestant from America’s Next Top Model had her gap professionally widened at Banks’ request.
One famous model with a very visible gap, Slick Woods, reposted the video on her Instagram page, saying the episode did a number on her own self-esteem when she was young.
With the controversy taking over the internet, Dani Evans decided it was time to put in her two cents. The 34-year-old model said she did not feel like commenting on the situation was necessary when contacted by news outlets, but once she read Woods’ post, she felt like she needed to share her side of the story.
Evans explained the behind-the-scenes events that led up to Banks’ comments, revealing that all the contestants were sent to the dentist in small groups. When she arrived, she told the doctor she just wanted a cleaning and a whitening, but was repeatedly asked if she wanted to close her gap. Evans declined, even though the gap was something that used to make her cry when she was a child, since her family couldn’t afford braces to close it.
Moving on to the episode’s elimination scene, Dani said the following:
“So, I go forward and Tyra’s like, ‘Why didn’t you get your gap closed?’ I’m like, ‘Huh?’ She like, ‘I told you to get your gap closed.’ I’m like, ‘No you didn’t'” Evans said. “In that moment, I knew what was happening. I knew that I was basically set up.”
“So Tyra says to me, ‘If I send you back to the dentist, will get your gap closed?’ And I meet her with another question: ‘So, what you’re saying is, if I tell you no, you’re gonna send me home tonight?'”
According to Dani, she and Tyra went back and forth until she finally agreed to partially close the gap.
“I was not going to allow something that is physical on my face to stop me from getting out to make a better life for myself …” she said. “Nothing or no one was going to stand in my way. And it wasn’t about copping out, it was about understanding what really carries weight and holds value in my life—and teeth wasn’t one of them.”
You can check out Evans’ full response for yourself down below: