Big Changes At Top Model: Kimora & ALT To Join Cast

Guess who's returning to America's Next Top Model as a judge? The woman the Gatecrasher column calls Tyra Banks' "on-again, off-again frenemy," Kimora Lee Simmons. And rumor has it Miss J will be off the judges panel.

As you may know, Miss J — Jay Alexander — is promoting his book, Follow the Model: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise and Power, at the moment. According to The New York Times, his book describes his experiences as a "big black freak of nature in chiffon."

Gatecrasher claims that Miss J will no longer be a judge, but return to his original role as a runway coach. Sitting in his spot on the judging panel will be none other than Louis Vuitton-obsessed Vogue editor at large Andre Leon Talley.

What will this mean for the show? Kimora and ALT are, to put it delicately, "big" personalities. Neither are known for holding back. And unlike Janice Dickinson, Twiggy (and, to some extent, Miss J), Kimora and ALT are actual relevant forces in the fashion world: Baby Phat's fashion show is always a spectacle, and the line is successful, despite rumors that corporate owner Kellwood might file for bankruptcy; Vogue is basically the pinnacle of American fashion and would bring cachet to the show (which is experiencing the lowest ratings of its 13 seasons).

We'll have to wait and see what happens, but Miss J's strength does lie in working directly with models. For the Times, he quite charmingly teaches fashion critic Cathy Horyn how to walk; and having him stuck behind the judging table — and not working with the ANTM contestants, dispensing his extensive knowledge on how to properly remove a glove — seems like a waste. That said, his growing sleeves/Afro/bowties would be missed.

'Top Model' To Get Major Makeover With Kimora Lee Simmons As New Judge [Gatecrasher]
It Was No Walk in the Park [NY Times]