Rita Ora Talks Ashley Graham, Tyra Banks’ ‘ANTM’ Legacy

Rita Ora may be the new host of America’s Next Top Model, but that doesn’t mean she’s looking to replace Tyra Banks. The British pop star knows where she stands. Rita admitted in a recent interview that she’s going to offer something different on the show.

Some assume that Rita Ora is set to replace Tyra Banks on the show. However, the model still works behind the scenes as the show’s executive producer. Ora promises that she will keep the supermodel’s legacy intact.

“[Tyra] is so supportive. She is the queen,” Ora told Entertainment Tonight. “This was never filling anyone’s shoes – this was a taking her legacy and really making it our own with a new panel.”

The 26-year-old added, “She is still the executive producer and actually makes a cameo in the beginning of the episode.”

As for Ora’s experience on the competitive reality show, she says that she “fell in love with the girls.”

“I wanted to really find a superstar. I think we all do – somebody that can really compete in this industry in the world we live in and with social media, just being a superstar in all boundaries.”

Ashley Graham will be a judge on the new season of ANTM. She also told ET that Banks has been a positive force in changing the new era of the series.

“She and I text a lot,” the 28-year-old model said. “She sends encouraging voice memos, and I save them all. She really is an uplifting woman.”

Ora previously said that she would rather follow the path of Victoria Beckham rather than Banks. She has an interest in becoming the next celebrity fashion designer. She has been collaborating with Adidas since the release of her debut album, Ora. She recently unveiled her 15th and final collection with the athletic brand, but she hopes to start her own fashion brand within the next year.

“It’s not the end. It’s just a new chapter,” she said with a smile, reports the Belfast Telegraph. “I’ll never stop collaborating. But it’s all about doing it on your own, I think. It will take a long time. Look at Victoria Beckham. She was in the Spice Girls, and now she’s an incredible designer.”

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Rita Ora admits she won't replace Tyra Banks on 'ANTM.' [Image by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for iHeart]

Rita hasn’t completely ditched music yet. She revealed that her new album is underway and almost ready for its release. Rita made an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show the other day and was asked a question that has been on her fans’ minds.

“Do you care about the singing anymore?” Williams bluntly asked.

Over the years, Ora has become a fixture in the fashion world. She got her start as a singer, but her debut album was never released in the U.S., reports Just Jared. Ora is only known on the stateside for her hit songs “How We Do” and “Black Widow.”

“Of course!” Rita responded. “The thing is, I’ve been in such a hoo-hah with the music that it kind of turned into a thing where I wanted to out-do myself. So, I started doing other things. And why not? You have an empire!”

“That’s what I want to do,” she continued. “Being 26, running America’s Next Top Model, which by the way is one of my favorite shows of all time, I feel like I’m one of the most powerful I’ve ever been in in my life.”

Check out the rest of Ora’s interview with Williams in the video below.

The “Hot Right Now” singer also admitted that she is in awe of Ashley Graham. The model has broken major boundaries in the fashion and modeling industry, becoming one of the first plus-size women to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

“I feel like this show is really going to make people understand not only her struggle, and what she had to do to get there, but also inspire the contestants – it’s OK to be said no to,” Rita told Out magazine. “She knows more than anybody what ‘no’ feels like. People told me all the time, even me: ‘You’re too big to be in the campaigns.’ So I can only imagine what Ashley goes through.”

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Ashley Graham and Rita Ora can relate to each other's struggles in the fashion industry. [Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for VH1]

Graham shared the same sentiments in her interview with ET. She admitted that she received some harsh insults.

“I’ve gotten a lot of criticism in the modeling world,” she said. “I’ve been told I’m too fat, I’m not good enough and that I’m never going to be a cover girl. Those are things I never want to tell anybody because everybody has a chance.”

Watch Rita Ora and Ashley Graham on America’s Next Top Model, which premieres on Monday, December 12 at 10 p.m. ET on VH1. Watch the trailer for the new season below.

[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]