America’s Most Smartest Model begins tonight, and I catch up with the show’s host, Mary Alice Stephenson, at VH1’s Save the Music 10th Anniversary Gala.
She tells me Americans generally believe beauty and brains don’t belong together, judging by party girls like Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. “All these girls are out of control, focusing on drinking and partying, and not doing things that are important to do with the fame they have,” she tells me.
But what supermodels double as good role models? “Heidi Klum is smart, she’s a great mom, she’s a great businesswoman. She does a lot of charity and gives back. What you see on Project Runway is the tip of the iceberg. She runs a huge business. She has a lot of different entities and jewelry lines going on all over the world.”
Mary also gives a shout-out to Tyra Banks. “She found her voice. She understood how to take a moment in fashion and turn it into an empire. She knows what people and kids want. She’s also done such good in the world. Tyra gives back with her girls camp.”
Fascinating fact: “Gisele has a huge real estate business in Brazil.”