This week on America’s Top Model, the girls learn that being a model is more than looking pretty, letting rock stars sniff cocaine off your tight inner thighs, and breeding unfairly beautiful babies with the hottest Hollywood hunks. Although it is primarily looking pretty, letting rock stars sniff snow off your stems, and giving birth to genetic juggernauts with the rich & famous, it is also a business. That means: it’s fuelled by, you know, like, money and stuff. And that when you start to get too long in the tooth to tromp around in your skivvies, you can always license your name out the yin-yang, start your own line of yoga wear or reasonably priced cotton casuals, maybe even produce your own…TV show? That’s the biznass, baby! Let’s get to work.
Laughing All the Way to the Banks
The show begins with the comforting news that Michelle’s impetigo is rapidly on the mend and the other girls are in no immediate danger of some apocalyptic, flesh-eating, Cabin Fever-type virus. Lluvy asks, “Now you can rub your head on our pillows?” Ooh, is that a come-on? I hope so, because if it’s a dig, then Miss Bottom Two certainly has no room to talk. Lluvy, who has narrowly escaped elimination twice already, says, “I know I have to step it up, like 110%.” (I never got this phrase, oft-spoken by athletes. Isn’t 110% mathematically impossible? Even if it were not, what would one do with that extra 10%, isn’t that excessive? Wasteful? Would it end up in a landfill, making a Native-American Tribal Chief cry? But I digress…)
TyraMail arrives: “Top models need to have good figures. How Bankable are you?” They are taken to an office in an undisclosed location where a mysterious man in a suit appears and hands them some “confidentiality agreement” contracts which they must sign in order to gain entry to the inner office—and until they put their name on that dotted line, they are stuck in the waiting room. The girls squint at the lengthy, complicated text in confusion, and Mr. Mysterioso (or could it be…Mr. Mephistopheles?!!) rushes them along, saying, “We don’t have much time.” After struggling to read the contract, our bewildered babes simply skip to the end and sign in order to get on with the day. Bad move.
They enter the inner office where someone is sitting, facing the other direction, in one of those nice, high-backed, fancy-schmancy executive chairs. It swivels around and who do we see? Hmm, could it be…SATAN satan satan satan?!! [Where the heck is that echo coming from?!!] Hang on to your holy water, those fiery flames are not eternal hellfire, it’s simply the red mane of our fearless leader, the Scarlet Mistress TyTy. Could she give the devil a run for his money though? I don’t doubt it. And she probably looks better in a thong.
Anyone paying any attention to the credits knows that the show is brought to you by “Bankable Productions,” Tyra’s company, which is where the girls are today, and where, appropriately, Tyra plans to teach them about the business side of modeling. Assisting with today’s lesson is Carolyn London, Tyra’s mama, with whom we’re all well-acquainted from past cycles—she is uniquely qualified to be there today, because she was Tyra’s manager for the first seven years of her career. Also joining them is Mr. Mysterioso/Mephistopheles, or Don Banks, Tyra’s dad, and Joe I’m-Not-Important-Enough-to-Get-a-Caption-on-my-Difficult-Last-Name, a lawyer and Tyra’s fifth-cousin on her daddy-side 12 times removed. Just kidding with that last part—or am I? Tyra’s nepotism seems so boundless, I’m thinking it’s her uncle operating the camera, her aunt doing catering, and a god-son sweeping up the loft at night.
Tyra informs the girls that just now, they basically signed their lives away. Among other things, the contract specifies that Don Banks now owns them “in perpetuity” (that’s forevah, folks!) and obligates them to jump five times every time they hear the word “model.” Eh, it’s nowhere near as restrictive as the 19 Entertainment contract, but it’s pretty darn bad. Joe, the lawyer, tells them they should never sign anything if they ever have any doubts as to what a contract contains. The girls breathe a sigh of relief when Joe adds that the agreements end by saying they are “unenforceable” and therefore, not real (Or are they? Muah haha hahahaha!!!).
The next paragraph is boring but important, especially for any of you beauties out there in FORTland considering a career in modeling, and Tyra’s really doing a public service by bringing this up. She asks if anyone’s ever been approached someone saying, “You’re beautiful, you should be a model” but then asks for all this money to get your career started. A lot of the girls had indeed had this experience, and Tyra tells them if any business (a so-called “agency” or modeling school) asks them for any money upfront, it is a SCAM! Don’t do it, people! A naïve, teenaged SFG once almost forked over a load of cash for a “portfolio” until she realized at 5’2” she would have a better chance modeling for the cover of a Keebler box than for the cover of Vogue. Real modeling agencies invest in you, not the other way around. The girls’ eyes glaze over while Banks & Co. continue dispensing valuable advice (like surround yourself with experts, make sure you work with reputable people, be prepared for intense public scrutiny, etc.) then the long day is done.
Moons Over My Hammy
To blow off some steam, the girls decide to go out and have some fun. They go to the Electric Lotus for dinner, where they (literally) kick off their shoes and sit down on the floor to enjoy an exotic meal and drinks. And more drinks. And a couple more drinks. Who’s in the black light zone this week? Not Rebecca, who is conspicuously downing a glass of plain, old H20. It’s pretty clear tonight’s black light babe is Brittany, who drunkenly accosts the teetotaling Rebecca: “Whush goin’ on wi’ you? Er you shush a frickin’ loossher that you can’t have a damn drink?” Everyone starts to look nervous (recalling, perhaps, Tiffany’s vertical scream from the last trip through the black light zone) as Brittany consumes tequila chased by an entire bottle of wine, and gets more and more animated and obnoxious than she already is perfectly sober! The volume of her voice escalates. She insults Lluvy (who is already feeling tender) by pointing out she has 3 out of 4 bad photos. She then proceeds to climb atop the table in this elegant little dining room, kick off the tablecloth, and go-go dance like there’s ants in her pants.
“Brittany drank too much and started being very disrespectful of this restaurant,” Kahlen says. Yes, Brittany appears the most flagrantly wasted, although to be fair, Tiffany does a flashdance (and by flash, I see that her panties do not match her dress), the generally well-behaved Naima is shown (briefly) atop the table herself, and most everyone else (save for Kahlen and Rebecca, who are off in a corner, looking like prim church ladies) seems to be joining along in the fun. Brittany, however, is the only one getting down on the floor to do odd yoga/tantric sex poses. Is this any way to represent America’s Next Top Model?
Speaking of representation, on the way home, Brittany’s crotch is represented by a huge patch o’ pixellation as she dangles over the top of the car seats with her booty exposed high up in the air. I hope that driver is paying attention to the road more than his rearview mirror—but ho mama, that is some rear view. Brittany is babbling nearly incoherently, but it sounds like she’s mad that Kahlen didn’t join in on the drunken debauchery. Then—Bam!—Brittany kicks it up a notch by hiking up her (not-very-long-in-the-first-place) skirt and—Slam!—slapping her ass up against the window to moon innocent Los Angelenos—Wham!—not once, but (no pun intended) twice.
Easy, Sleazy, Blotto CoverGirl
Morning: the bedraggled Brittany nurses a hangover and jokes about needing another drink. TyraMail tells them after all their hard work, “now it’s time to party. Be gorgeous at 2:15.” The girls squeal, there is much jumping and excitement. Funny how Michelle is supposed to be the wrestler, and yet it’s Brittany who leaps on top of Tiffany and topples her over, but not after wrapping her leg around Tiffany and humping her like Empress Minnie in heat. When Tiffany runs around yanking girls’ pants down and exposing their panties (including Michelle’s and Christina’s), I get a flash of brilliance: Oh, I am so pitching an idea to an adult studio called “America’s Next Topless Model.” Watch for it on Pay-Per-View!
The girls all put on their best in black, and get dolled up for their afternoon event. In their matching black dresses (actually, Naima’s the only one who chose pants) with matching flower corsages, they all look like lovely little debutantes as they gather outside a posh house in Bel Air. Jay greets them and tells them today they will attending a party to unveil [mustbuywetslicks]CoverGirl’s[eetsmellslikecupcakes] “new look.” Jay instructs them to “meet and impress everyone in there.” Of course, it’s not ANTM if there’s no secrets, and this party is actually a challenge filled with fashion industry insiders (like Elle magazine’s Eva Chen, Elle Girl’s Anaïs Lombard, Rachel Hayes from Cosmopolitan, and CoverGirl marketing director, Paul Yocum) who will be secretly judging the girls on the following criteria: confidence, poise, interaction, and “how well their beauty shines, inside and out.”
As they enter the home, where an elaborate CoverGirl display of makeup has been constructed, they are greeted by an actual, real-live working model and CoverGirl, Kiara. Brittany is very, well, Brittany: blowsy, bodacious, and bigger than life—and all about the alcohol. At one point, she is double-fisting drinks in front of Kiara and Eva Chen from Elle. Keenyah is a quite articulate and elegant schmoozer, not as kissass as Rebecca, awkward like Michelle, goofy like Lluvy, or wallflower as Tiffany. Christina makes a big gaffe when Cosmo’s Rachel Hayes asks if she has a favorite CoverGirl model. “I don’t know some of the new girls…like I don’t know who she is,” Psycho Eyes says, pointing directly at a picture of—ouch—Kiara, the girl who greeted her at the door moments before.
At end of the evening, Jay gathers the girls and reveals that tonight was not just a party, it was a challenge. Uh DUH!!! He gives some notes from the judges: Tiffany was “glued” to the makeup all night and the judges never got to know her; Kahlen had “a great look and skin”; Naima was “a bit too quiet”; Keenyah was “very poised and would rock any industry party”; Christina got busted for “not paying attention to the people [she] met”; the judges “couldn’t get anything out of” Tatiana; Lluvy was “knowledgeable” about her “unique beauty” (what in sam hill is that supposed to mean?); Rebecca has “a great body”; they were “concerned” that Brittany seemed more occupied with boozing than schmoozing, and Michelle seemed uncomfortable in a too-short skirt.
The winner tonight is Keenyah, who will be rewarded with a night at a beachfront hotel, and is shocked because “I never win.” She must be looking for a par-tay in that hotel room, because she picks Brittany who, in terms of fun factor, is roughly equivalent to two 2½ barrels of monkeys. But apparently the two girls have become very close, and Tiffany, sounding a wee bit bitter, drawls, “I don’t know if Keenyah’s looking for this big sister. But Brittany and Keenyah need to stick together; they need to get cut together.”
Keenyah and Brittany are brought to the beautiful Santa Monica beach, where they will spend their night in the lap o’ luxury, in a beachfront room filled with champagne, desserts, and a cheese platter. A cheese platter!!! (I’m sorry, I just loves me some cheese.) Well, ANTM is fancy enough to spring for a cheese platter, but curiously, not more than one bed. Keenyah plops down in it, providing us some more pixellated butt-ness. Bow chikka bow bow!!!
In the Fashion District, far from the roaring waves of the Pacific Ocean, or elegant cheese assortments, the other girls read their TyraMail: “The competition’s getting tougher. Are you running out of gas? Be ready at 6:30 in the morning.” Back in Santa Monica, the Keenyah and Brittany have received TyraMail of their own: “Enjoy your VIP surroundings. As an added bonus to your win, you have the privilege of showing up fashionably late.” Huzzah! The girls pop the bubbly, and Brittany proposes a toast to her “very best friend in the house.”
Back at the loft, Lluvy calls her boyfriend and cries over the phone because, “I don’t think I’m beautiful; I think I’m weird-looking, different.” Lluvy worries about the photo shoot tomorrow, because if she doesn’t hit it, she could be going home.
In the land of luscious thread-count sheets, Keenyah and Brittany have woken up and are served breakfast-in-bed by a room-service waiter for whom this may be the closest he’ll ever get to the fantasy of having two gorgeous girls in bed together. Ah, I can see the guy at home now: “Dear Penthouse Forum, I swear this is true…I really brought these two honeys the bacon, and the huevos, oh yeah.” Well, technically, he wouldn’t be lying…Keettany also get deep-tissue, full body messages (in the spa, not from the room-service waiter), and they go out for a romp on the beach near the famous Santa Monica Pier.
Meanwhile, the plebs have been woken up at the crack o’ dawn and shuttled off to work like cattle. They are brought out a ghost town in the desert just outside Los Angeles, and are dumped in front of a deserted gas station where Mr. Jay tells them that today’s challenge will involve “gale force winds” and “torrential rain.” Just because he has hair the color of X-men’s ‘Storm’ doesn’t mean Jay has her mutant powers, however; these weather effects will be created by good, ol’ Hollywood machines.
It’s a gas station, so naturally the girls will be turned into sexy lady mechanics, because what is hotter than a chick who knows what to do with a dipstick? Somehow, this whole thing is sounding a little more Playboy than fashion editorial to me, but you don’t want to hear me quibble. Let’s get back to the broads in wet t-shirts. In the multi-tasking spirit of ANTM, the photographer today will be the girls’ regular makeup artist Mathu. Is it that Tyra wants to help her people move up in the world, or that the real photog didn’t show?
Kahlen, looking like an underage lot lizard, is first. In the background, they put another model (in this case, Christina, who looks like an older lot lizard) to “make it more dynamic” although this detail they drop and you’ll never remember it later. At least I didn’t. It’s harder to look sexy in wind and rain than anyone thinks, but Kahlen seems to do a pretty good job. Tiffany “nails it,” according to Mathu, who likes her strong poses. Christina’s looking pretty out there too, although I swear it looks like she has less rain than the others. Jay hollers at Michelle, God love her, who is working the ‘beat-up tranny’ look, for more energy. Naima gets a “Bravo” from Mathu, and Jay likes her variation.
I’m not sure why, but they pose Rebecca in a lot of ‘backdoor booty’ shots that would look incredibly obscene, but with her cheery Doublemint smile, just turn out to be an odd study in contrasts. Mathu makes a “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” crack that I beat him to by several weeks—Ha! Jay tells Becca she needs to work on her “sexuality”—could she just get a sexy transfusion from Brittany, who’s got an excess of the stuff?
Tatiana is a standout, and if she seems comfortable around the tires and gas pumps, it’s because, as she says, “I used to work on cars a lot.” Woohoo, sex-ay lady mechanic! Jay thinks it’s her best shoot to date. Lluvy—not lookin’ so comfortable; Jay tries coaxing her to smile, laugh, or give more than her singular googly-eyed expression. “That was…interesting,” Jay says in a kiss-of-death type of way. When Jay asks if Lluvy thinks she’s “sexy” and she says no, and she doesn’t know how to be, and he rightfully retorts, “How do you expect to model if you don’t think you’re sexy?”
Just as all the girls are feeling exhausted and cruddy after the long, hard shoot, in float Queen Keenyah and Princess Brittany, all relaxed from their day in the life of luxury. According to Jay, Keenyah “did a good job, but she went too fast.” Brittany is wary of looking too “triple X” and my goodness, when one is whipping your hair back in a wet-shirt and barely-there skirt, how could you not? Jay finds her “reminiscent of the early Janice Dickinson” in this shoot. They return home to find TyraMail announcing the impending doom that is elimination elimination elimination elimination. [Again, where the hell is that damn echo coming from?!!]
Lluvy Rays: Blocked
Judging is heralded by yet another fairly stunning Tyra pic, which I highly doubt was shot by makeup artist Mathu. Speak of the devil, today’s guest judge is Mathu Anderson, and he joins the regular crew of Janice, Nigel, Nolé, and of course Tyra.
Today’s test will be to create, in 5 minutes, the packaging for a perfume that represents their personalities, and then give a 1 minute sales pitch to the judges. The judges seem game for a little fun, because they decide to do a little role-playing themselves (kinky little judges): Janice is Babs Firestein from Brooklyn, New Yawk; Nolé is (not too creatively) Nolé Le Pue de France; Nigel is Johnny Hott, from Chelsea, England (Rowrrrrr!); Mathu is Igor Slutsky from Russia; and Tyra is Precious Tang from Louisiana (Sa Da Ty!!!).
The girls all have a go at hawking their fragrances, with varying success (The good: Naima reaching out to all markets, even janitors—is this a reference to Lluvy? The bad: Michelle’s attempt to say fenimi—fenimine—feni—oh screw it—correctly), while the judges ham up their characters so much they crack up the girls. Brittany comes up and tells everyone about her new fragrance, “Deliciously Tacky,” which she says is for a man or a woman. What I want to know is will it appeal to hermaphrodites with that not-so-fresh feeling.? Tyra says, forget the perfume, she wants to see the “Deliciously Tacky Dance” and Brittany is only all too happy to oblige them with a hoe-down that would make Ashlee Simpson look like Martha Graham.
Evaluations: Brittany is slammed for her drinking at the CoverGirl party, and despite her justifications, they tell her she has to be aware of what type of client she’s hanging around. “CoverGirl is fun but also very professional,” explains a conspicuously dubbed insert. Oh yeah, who’s your sponsor? Say it! Say it!!! In terms of her fragrance sales pitch, Mathu says Brittany’s negative is she’s a fool; her positive: she’s a fool. Yes, we love her for her crazy antics, but it could easily go too far. Her picture is much beloved, especially by Janice, who deems it “perfect,” and while I do think Brit looks fine, from what I see of the quality of the pictures, I’m starting to think the real photographer didn’t show that day (sorry, Mathu).
Tyra commends Kahlen for keeping cool during the judges’ craziness, and her picture gets high praise; Nigel says, “You have a kick-ass body…You look like a Bond girl!” Christina’s sales pitch is ripped up for being “cold, clinical”; Janice says, “You have absolutely no idea who you are.” Then Christina cries about how she saw people walk all over her mom and she doesn’t want it to happen to her, which softens the judges to her and they end up love her “sexy” picture. Tatiana also gets low marks for her sales pitch, but high marks for her photo; Mathu compliments her for being “the only girl to understand the head flip.” Tiffany’s perfume presentation was received as “dorky,” and, alas, her picture fails to please. Nigel thinks she doesn’t work her face enough; Janice says it is a prime example of how women should not get their chests tattooed; Mathu says a lot of the shots were “stripperish” (um, I believe you said she “nailed it” earlier, just what are you saying she’s nailed?).
As with Kahlen, Tyra says Naima dealt with the crazy judges well, and then asks if there are crazy people in her family. Naima politely declines not to answer. Her picture gets a mixed response, it’s seen as “hot” by Janice and Mathu (who adds that Naima was “amazing to shoot”) but too “crotchy” by Ty, Nigel, and Nolé. Keenyah’s presentation was “cute” but Nigel thinks she should take it up a notch; her picture looks like, “the very first photo shoot you’ve ever done” and is “disappointing.” Rebecca’s presentation was too “girl scout” and Janice thinks she sounds “rehearsed”; they love her body/booty position in the photo but thinks her face looks “awkward.” Lluvy was a “bubbling fool” in presentation, and in her photo, her eyes look “dopey” again. Nolé tells Michelle that he likes her because she somehow reminds him of himself. Well, I know at least one thing they most certainly don’t have in common—romance with girls! But I digress. Her picture draws a lot of “wows” from the judges, except for Nolé who says that he likes the picture from distance, but the close-up looks like “Carrie at the end of the movie.”
The judges deliberate, mainly reiterating their earlier opinions, except we learn that Janice doesn’t like Tatiana’s “Pekinese, punched look in the face” and Christina’s breakdown in front of the panel exposed a new, vulnerable side to them that they seem to like. Also, Nigel seems disturbed by Michelle’s Angry Bunny “twitches” and clenched fists. Rebecca is starting to be seen as a “stock runway model” but perhaps not America’s Next Top Model. Nolé thinks Lluvy is a “wet chihuahua on an espresso” but Tyra thinks she has a face of a “star” she just doesn’t know what to do with it. The judges then get into a discussion of bodies. Janice says Naima has the best body there, and Mathu says she could lose 5 or 10 lbs. Janice then has a body dysmorphic freak-out, declaring, “They’re all fat, the entire room is fat, I’m fat, you’re all fat!!!” Looks like it’s gonna be paper for dinner tonight, girls!
Tyra hands back photos to the girls—Kahlen, Brittany, Naima, Christina, Michelle, Tatiana, Tiffany, and Keenyah—leaving Lluvy and Rebecca in the bottom two. Tyra says the reason they are the two in front of her tonight is because “week after week your critique is the same.” There’s been no development. Rebecca is seen as “safe” and “boring”; Lluvy has potential, but her pictures still are not delivering. The picture goes to Rebecca, and Lluvy leaves the girls in a flurry of hugs and tearful goodbyes.
Lluvy says being a model has been her dream since she was a little girl, but now that she knows she’s “not a CoverGirl girl” and is “strangely beautiful,” her future career is uncertain. “I’m so lost right now, I have no idea,” she says, wiping her eyes. Let’s hope she finds her way.
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