TV3 has contacted me with another statement clarifying the topless photos of Top Model contestants Amelia Akiko Nakagawa Gough (22) and Michaela Steenkamp (16) that began circulating online after the show's third episode had finished airing on Friday night. According to an email from publicist Nicole Wood, the photos that ended up on the TV3 website were never supposed to see the light of day.
"I see you suggesting on your website and George FM that we "scrambled" to Photoshop Michaela & Amelia. If you watched the show on Friday you would have seen that clearly those shots never appeared on air at a 7:30pm timeslot. They went to air with steam over them and had work done for this the day after we received the images from Jackie Meiring. We were never going to broadcast Michaela "topless". This photoshoot was styled by Kylie Cooke and shot by Jackie (2 women..) - and they all had a chaperone.. their nipples were taped. The fact is, the un-photoshopped ones appeared on on our website as there were two image discs so one got uploaded in error."
A later email from Wood stated, "The wrong shot went up - the one that hadn't been shopped. The point is - no shots went to air without the work - it's a 7:30pm timeslot."
While it is admirable that TV3 reacted to the situation so quickly yesterday, the fact remains that they shot a 16 year old girl topless (albeit with taped nipples). If almost every other contestant was given a boob tube to wear, why wasn't Michaela Steenkamp?
Was it an oversight? Or was it to create dramatic tension and boost ratings?
I'd have to go with the latter – to create dramatic tension. If that wasn't the case, why would they have included a quote from her about how being a Christian wasn't going to stop her doing anything? What makes for better television – a young girl quite happy to be shot topless, or a young girl nervous about being shot topless because of her religious beliefs?
It's food for thought.
Interesting to note is that the episode of Australia's Next Top Model airing tonight will feature a nude photoshoot. It will be fascinating to see how they deal with Britney, the 16 year old contestant still in the running.
I LIKE YOU!