Lexicon Valley

America’s Next Top Model Gave Us Plenty of Models, but Its Lasting Legacy Will Be Its Lexicon

Tyra Banks’ crazy coinages will live on forever.

Still taken from YouTube.

Wednesday saw some sad surprise Tyramail: Cycle 22 of America’s Next Top Model will be the show’s last. The show has given the modeling world several new faces, but it’s given the world at large something even greater—a few very fun coinages. Reality and game shows have always peppered themselves with catchphrases, and in the Internet age, most have generated at least one meme-able moment or slogan. But ANTM surpassed all of these as Tyra Banks built a reputation for coining irresistibly outlandish words—all of which she loves to explain. Here are a few of her best.


The word smize is by far the most iconic contribution ANTM has made to our vocabularies. To smize is to smile with one’s eyes. This is predominantly used as a verb, as in, “keep smizing,” but can also be used as a noun if desired—e.g., “show me your best smize.” Like a typical smile, smizing is meant to evoke playfulness—but it’s often a more sexual playfulness. Unlike a traditional smile, smizing does not involve upturned corners of the mouth. Instead, one’s lips should be relaxed, and instead the eyes should be smoldering alight—“as if a string is pulling from the top” of your face. If you’re still not quite clear on how to smize, here’s a helpful, albeit bizarre, tutorial from the Queen of Smize herself:


To tooch is to isolate and pop one’s booty out to improve the look of a photo. Unlike smizing, which is not a gendered verb, tooching is specific to women. One must be careful, however, not to “hoochie tooch” by striking an excessively provocative pose. And for those high-fashion shoots, it’s all about the “Gucci Tooch.” Male models’ booty pop requires a slightly different posture, and is called “booching.”

Most models, according to Tyra, are either smizers or toochers. Smizers rely on their fierce facial expressions when shooting while toochers are better at working angles with their body in photographs. A top model, Banks clarifies, is both. Still not sure how to tooch? Here’s a visual aid:


Although smizing and tooching are perhaps Banks’ most memorable and playful coinages, flawsome is the one that strikes to ANTM’s heart. To be flawsome is to accept your flaws—and then own and work them like assets. Banks loves to crack jokes about her planet-sized forehead and has encouraged models to embrace their gapped teeth, their skinny legs, and more.