#1420 TV3 clarifies Top Model nudity – “The wrong shot went up”

Michaela Steenkamp as shot by Jackie Meiring for NZ’s Next Top Model. Photo: TV3

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.


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  1. Gen says


    This is an interesting issue. I think it’s a shame that you didn’t credit the fact that it was first raised by another journalist on another forum first though.

  2. old girl says

    it is t.v show nothing more nothing less, each girl has a role to play, they do not know that but will see it when the watch later….I have only watch 2 shows and the yelling and silly care-on I was over it. Also have seen a couple of the girls out and about who are still on the show.silly really….watch good fashion show like ….the day before……on the doco channel so good best thing on t.v for me a the moment and have rewatched them…that is my 2 cents worth anyway

  3. Brielle says

    That’s not STRICTLY true that TV 3 only aired the edited shots at 7.30pm last Friday night.
    Last night I re-watched the episode using a MySky recording (not an online version, so this is a direct copy of the original and there is no way TV3 can do anything to change this copy) and while the close ups of the photos were edited, when you look at the photos on the screen behind the girls and the judges, those version were not edited. They were at a bit of a distance, so most people probably wouldn’t notice anyway, but the fact remains that the original unedited versions WERE in fact aired at 7.30pm Friday night.
    However, I hope that this incident doesn’t come to be the end of New Zealand’s Next Top Model, as I believe that this show is a great opportunity for New Zealand models and an insight in to the world of fashion in New Zealand, as well as being good entertainment.
    It is a little sad that there is a lot of backstabbing and gossiping among the girls, but real life is usually like that with young people. And you can’t agree to be in reality TV without knowing you’re going to need a tough skin anyway. None of those girls will have gone their whole lives without viewing reality TV and knowing that any of those bad situations might happen to them if they agree to be on a show like that.

  4. says

    I still think Michaela is the strongest one out of all the girls. I really hope she makes it to top two. She has a quiet strength about her I find endearing.

    I do hope NZNTM producers stop being ******* though. Kiwi’s don’t want to see ***** *****… well I don’t.

  5. Serah says

    I don’t care so much about this issue, but I do care about the Herald revealing the last 6 contestants. They just ruined about 4 weeks of tv. Goddam Herald always cutting everyone’s lunch.

  6. Rebeccah says

    I actually see a bigger problem than with the semi-nudity, which I agree is questionable with under 18 year old girls. As you have touched on, this season of NZ’s Next Top Model seems to be actively encouraging nastiness about girls in the name of ‘drama’. I don’t think that’s ever nice, but it’s particularly unpleasant when this season’s girl to dislike is a 16 year old school girl. In my opinion, the way Lara is being talked about is a form of bullying. Editing the show to put a lot of horrible backbiting about a 16 year old girl who seems totally oblivious to what is being said about her, is not ok.
    It’s kinda like NZ is sharing a joke at her expense. I haven’t seen anything which justifies what is being said about her, not that I think that would make it ok, maybe a little more understandable.
    I wonder what her family and friends think when they watch it, and I wonder what Lara will think when she sees this. I would be devastated if that was me, and I’m in my late 20s. If I was still at school, I can’t imagine what impact it might have.
    Just my two cents.

  7. Mellow145 says

    I don’t see what the problem is; i want you to remember that we all were born naked…..If that wan’t meant to be, we all would be born with clothes on!
    Pffff, why don’t people make issues about really important things like child-abuse, natural desasters where lots of people are dealing with no food, no water to drink, diseases, people dying etc. Do i need to say more??? Please people, look at yourself and try to make the best of your life, in stead of spending your precious time to issues like this……

    Irene, The Netherlands

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