is finally responding to a growing controversy
surrounding an America's Next Top Model
promo featuring a 6'2" model with a shockingly small waist.
"In an effort to create a fun and entertaining sneak peek of the upcoming cycle, America’s Next Top Model
released a trailer that was edited in way that misconstrued our overarching message," Banks says in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
"As a leader in celebrating and promoting healthy body image, I must admit that I regrettably didn’t see this clip before it was released to the public, (with multiple Top Model
departments, it's just impossible to review everything) but on behalf of the Top Model
team, these were not the intentions, and we truly apologize for any confusion, anger or disappointment it may have caused," the statement continues.
"The passionate response the trailer has evoked proves that the message to promote and celebrate all different – healthy and natural … - body types has resonated with our viewers and I’m so proud of every one of you who voiced your opinion and participated in this conversation. I have experienced body image scrutiny from one extreme to the next . . . as an awkward, extremely thin pre-teen who couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did, to later being slammed by the media for my fuller, curvier frame," continues Banks, who was the victim of body bullying
in 2006 after unflattering beach shots were splashed across the Internet.
"Driven by these personal experiences," she says, "I am committed to expanding the definition of beauty which includes ALL shapes, sizes and proportions, from skinny to curvy and everything in between. It’s about women telling the world to KISS their … - skinny, wide, droopy, flat, cellulite-covered or FAT -… you know what!"
"Through Top Model
and my other platforms, I am able to connect with women directly," says Banks, an executive producer on the show. "During this season of Top Model
, you will see that Ann (the woman featured in the trailer) provided another opportunity for me to support a young woman struggling with her own body image issues (she's 6'2"; and is the receiver of countless stares and ridicule). Helping young ladies, like Ann and countless others that have confided in me, furthers and supports my core mission.” –Tim Nudd and Michelle Tan