“As a plus woman, being seen only 1 percent of the time is a real thing. Period. After watching #ANTM last night I was super excited to see my girl Ashley Graham, but bummed out not to see any plus contestants,” the Orange is the New Black star, 27, posted on Instagram on Tuesday. “A curvy judge but no curvy contestants? Out of all 24 girls not one was plus.”
Brooks commended the show for having a diverse cast, but feels it was a missed opportunity to not include a curvy model.
“You had an Asian, African, a red head, transgender, an androgynous sister, even twins… but not one plus-size woman, when 67 percent of women are plus in the U.S.?” she continued. “This could’ve been a perfect opportunity for them to highlight fabulous designers that also do plus fashion or highlight strictly plus designers that rarely get any shine. They could’ve also highlighted the struggles that come with being plus. We could’ve at least gotten to 2 percent.”
The actress says this would have been an ideal season to have a curvy girl on the show because Ashley Graham — who joined as a judge this season — could have served as a role model for her.
“The plus competitor would’ve been able to lean on the fact that a reflection of herself (Ashley Graham) was in the room reminding her that her dream is possible,” Brooks says in her post.
WATCH: Tyra Banks Announces New Judging Panel and Host for America’s Next Top Model
Brooks goes on to say that despite the lack of curvy women on the show this season, she hopes they will be seen more everywhere in the future.
“We are worth these incredible opportunities,” she writes. “We deserve to be seen. I’m going to continue to push back and speak up for that young girl that wants to model, wants to act, wants to be up front, and needs to be reminded that she is just as deserving as anyone else.”
On Wednesday, Graham — who was featured alongside Brooks in Lane Bryant’s fall 2016 campaign — spoke out in defense of America’s Next Top Model, and shared that she hopes her inclusion on the judging panel paves the way for more curvy women to be on the show.
“I’m proud to be part of one of the most diverse seasons of ANTM, and I truly hope that me being on the judging panel inspires and encourages more people of every size and shape to audition for the show and to pursue all of their passions without feeling held back because of their size,” she posted on Instagram. “I will always advocate for #BeautyBeyondSize, and together we will open more doors for size diversity so that everyone is represented equally. Everyone using their voices to stand up for curves makes me hopeful that we will see another curvy and fierce individual win the competition!”