ANTM8 Premiere, Pt. 2 Recap: Politics As Usual
For part one of this AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL Cycle 8 Premiere recap, click here).
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL Cycle 8 continues with yet more signs of the hastening of the apocalypse: Tyra gets deep, tackling tough issues head-on (apply directly to your five-head!) in a photo shoot that makes the political pitiful; plus our model newbies do their first walk-off for charity.
Methinks They Doth Not Protest Enough
The finalists enjoy their first day with a walk through Hollywood. As they stride down the street, a motorcyclist rides up towing an ANTM sign that has a picture of Tyra with the caption “Be a Role Model.” The biker takes off his helmet to reveal that their mystery man is Mr. Jay. He says being a Top Model requires more than just a pretty face, it also requires the ability to make a statement. Uh, are you sure about that? Because last I checked, it pretty much was still just about being a pretty face.
To wit, their first assignment is to make a strong statement. That’s right, time for their first photo shoot already! Jay explains that the fashion industry is a “really political world where we all have different kinds of political views.” The girls head to the studio where they are being asked to portray each side of the following controversial issues: Kathleen is anti-fur, Brittany is pro-fur; Natasha is pro-choice, Jael is pro-life (and obviously not happy about that); Sarah believes in “life in prison” whereas Jaslene is for the death penalty; Felicia believes only in straight marriage, but Whitney and Samantha are paired up for gay marriage; Dionne’s a vegan (where’s her spaghetti?), but Cassandra is a carnivore; finally, Renee is anti-gun, but Diana is pro-gun. Please tell me they’re going to dress her up as Charlton Heston!
Jay emphasizes that each girl must sell the political view she is assigned, whether or not she agrees with it; then it’s time to introduce their first photographer who turns out to be none other than Nigel Barker, resident hunk on the ANTM judging panel. Screams ensue. Kathleen’s hypothesis is “Every model wants to date Nigel Barker because he’s so tall.” I think it’s a bit more than that, because hey, Carrot Top is pretty tall, and I don’t see hot models slavering over him.
The girls get styled for their shoot. Renee busts out the baby pictures and starts crying—bad idea when you’re in the middle of hair and make up! A close up of Renee’s crying face puts the gigantic moley-moley-mole on the right side of her nose front and center of my screen. Although, to be fair, we have a new 62” HDTV and I’m getting distracted by all of sorts of little things I never noticed before. Jael is sick with a “nasty cold,” and is coughing, feverish, and worried how it will affect her shoot today.
Brittany is the first to shoot, and her set-up is front row at a fashion show, where she must play the part of an imperious, pro-fur, reech beetch decked out in pounds of pelts, natch. Brittany says she doesn’t personally have a problem with fur, but finds having the head of animal on her shoulder a little disturbing. Nigel says Brittany gave him exactly what he wanted, which was a “slight air of arrogance.”
Kathleen is supposed to be anti-fur, but in reality, “I really do like fur, it makes you look hot.” Kathleen seems terribly confused as to how to portray an anti-fur stance. “I hate fur,” she says robotically, as she stands atop a mountain of fur with a paint brush in her hand. Nigel can’t seem to coax Kathleen to give him what he wants, so he calls Jay out for coaching. The more they explain, however, the more confused Kathleen seems to get.
As “pro-death” girl, Jaslene is dressed up as an executioner in studded black and must pose with a noose, a chair that is supposed to look electric, and a mace. In other words, they got medieval on Jaslene’s ass. Jay tells her he wants “that Latina fire,” and does her best to look tough. Determined to stand out, she does a good enough job to earn a “well done” from Nigel.
Sarah is handcuffed to prison bars for her portrayal of life imprisonment. She talks about how in the past she has already worked with “a lot of amazing photographers” so she imagines Nigel will be expecting more from her. For all her experience, Nigel is disappointed by Sarah’s performance, saying, “I’m surprised how little I got from Sarah. Her face did nothing for me; she had one look.”
Diana is transformed into a Lara Croftian, gun-totin’ Tomb Raider for her shoot. Nigel encourages her to let loose, even “a little kitsch” for her pro-gun photo. For her part, Diana thinks “guns are bad” except if you need it for protection. Nigel wants “action” and asks her to jump; Jay seems to feel that Diana didn’t “commit” to her action enough, though, which makes photos “fall flat.”
Renee’s anti-gun character is a Flower Power hippy chick straight out of the 1960s. Nigel wants a peaceful face, and Renee admits that that is a hard expression to portray. As the shoots progress, I am amazed at how Tyra and crew manage to take such big, hot button issues as war and human rights and reduce them to trivial, little caricatures for fashion. Now that takes a special kind of gall.
Meanwhile, Jael is still sick and has been saying she feels like she’s going to pass out. It’s her turn before the camera, however; dressed in a conservative dress and covered with crosses, she is supposed to act like she’s chained herself outside a clinic door. Making her job all the more difficult is the fact that she’s absolutely pro-life. Jael is much lower energy than Jay or anyone would have expected; after the shoot she is upset with herself for having done so poorly.
Backstage, Jael spots some hula hoops and tries hooping herself into a better mood. Renee joins her, but later expresses annoyance at Jael’s friendliness saying, “I know Jael’s all about being best friends with everybody, but hey, to each his own. I know she’s not going to win this competition.” Well Renee is right about one thing—when she described herself as “catty,” she wasn’t kidding. But Sarah is also puzzled by Jael’s behavior, about to pass out one moment, then hula hooping the next; she’s wondering if Jael’s sickness was just an excuse for doing poorly, or a way of psyching herself out.
Natasha is next and Nigel speaks with her beforehand to make sure she understands her position. “I am getting rid of the baby, right?” Natasha replies. Nigel quickly clarifies, “It’s your choice. You’re not getting rid of baby, I hope.” Anything you want to talk your hubby about, Natasha? Natasha struggles a bit with her shoot, and admits, “I prefer not gonna be involved in the poleeteeks, I prefer just be a model.” Nigel says Natasha seemingly had no awareness of the photographer or light placement and “she would face all kinds of strange directions.”
Here comes the bride! Actually, two brides: Whitney and Samantha come out both dressed in white to pose before a rainbow background for their gay marriage photo. Samantha, the “little southern belle” says that she found the picture a little difficult since she has a boyfriend back at home; Whitney’s not in the least bit troubled, because “playing college basketball kind of helped with the lesbian scene.”
Felicia, dressed in a prim, traditional wedding gown, amuses Nigel with her British accent (when he finds out she’s from Houston, he’s impressed). She has a partner for her marriage pic too: only it’s a creepy male mannequin in a black tuxedo. Come on, Tyra, couldn't afford a male model…or at least a RealDoll? Jay thinks Felicia “needs to step it up,” because she didn’t work it or play off the mannequin enough.
Dionne, vegan girl, sits atop a table covered only in fruits and vegetables. Nigel thinks she could have “had more fun with it” and unfortunately did not take her ‘modeling to “top level.” On the flipside, Cassandra’s table is “meat galore”; Jay orders her to tear apart a roast chicken because it’s “more editorial” than just picking up a hamburger. I bet you don’t hear that often at the Vogue offices.
Ultimately, Jay declares that he found all the girls to be “very flat across the board today” despite trying hard on their first shoot. I myself can’t believe how lackluster most of the performances were, for a theme that revolves around such passionate topics. For a shoot this controversial, I would expect some Kahlen from the “Deadly Sin” Shoot-type intensity, but what we’re getting is more Roadkill’s Final Moments in Headlights-type. I’ve seen more emotion in the Sears Family Portrait Studio, people!
Be It Ever So Humble, There’s No Place Like Reality TV Home
After a long day, the girls finally get their reward. A big, pimped out limo comes to pick them up. Inside, amidst the pillows, rhinestones, and Tyra photos is the girls’ first official TyraMail. It contains a key and says, “Welcome to the Fashion House of History.” The girls are driven to a beautiful, modern mansion that is as toned down and tasteful as a Reality TV house can get.
The new house’s theme is “Top Model Museum” so there is a lot of black, white, and grey with subtle touches of color and a floral silhouette motif. The main attractions, however, are the rooms based on all the previous winners of ANTM. The Eva room contains her spider picture and choice quotes on the wall; Danielle, Naima, and Yoanna have their own rooms too. There’s also a Winners’ Wall in the main hall that greets all who enter.
As usual, the heart of the house is the runway in the living room. This one is flanked from all sides by the watchful eyes of Tyra’s portraits. Kathleen, Cassandra and Jaslene go up to break in the catwalk; Jaslene, in particular, is excited because she is a self-proclaimed “runway fiend.”
After trash-talking Jael earlier, Renee no longer seems to mind her friendliness. Renee thinks Jael “keeps me fun” because Renee admits she can take the competition “too seriously at times.” The two are playing dress up with wigs and boxing gloves, hugging and smooching like old buddies. Jael says she thinks Renee is “wonderful” and despite being Jael’s complete “opposite,” Jael appreciates the differences in their characters.
Whitney wells up with tears at the sight of the glittering lights of Los Angeles at night. She finally realizes how far she’s made it, and is overcome with emotion.
Before long, it’s morning, and many of the girls are hanging out by the pool, taking pictures, and getting to know one another. Kathleen is positive and compliments everyone for having their own “unique beautifulness.” Jaslene finds Kathleen the “most outspoken” in the house but “she know what to say and when to say it.”
Other girls are sharing a smoke outside. Sarah is blabbing about her goal to “shoot Vogue” by the time she’s 25. Renee asks for clarification, shoot Vogue or be in Vogue? Sarah’s clear, she wants to be the photographer. Sarah also talks about how she wants to act, and how great people have told her she was at acting. What acting has she done, I wonder? I’m totally seeing Peter Pan in the 4th grade. Or, no she’s too professional for that, how about young Sandy Duncan from a Lifetime Bio Pic? A hobbit from a local stage version of Lord of the Rings?
Renee thinks Sarah is “full of herself” and interrupts her brag session by asking, “Do you feel like it’s hard for you to focus cuz you can’t focus 100% on your modeling if you have all these other things.” Renee also points out that there are tons of girls who would love to be here solely for modeling. Sarah gets her size 0 panties in a bunch, “How dare you tell me want I want to be here for. I’m here to model, I’m not here to get ridiculed.”
TyraMail announces “One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.” No, they’re not being asked to pose on a pile of garbage at a landfill. The girls meet Miss J. and Phillip Bloch, stylist to the stars, at Goodwill, which Phillip explains is “not only a great to shop” but a wonderful organization that places a vocationally challenged person in a new job “every 57 seconds of every business day.”
The first part of the girls’ challenge today involves hunting through the racks of the huge Goodwill store to create an outfit that best expresses their personal style—in 3 minutes! Some girls have a harder time doing the secondhand thing than others. Jael loves “wearing clothes that tell a story.” Renee says she doesn’t go thrift-shopping much. No problem for Kathleen, she proudly declares, “I rock the thrift shops!”
After the mad dash to find an outfit is through, Miss J. announces the second part of their challenge. Outside the doors, the girls will immediately go out and do a fashion show (hosted by Phillip) for a crowd of people. There will be an auction and the model whose outfit gets the highest bid will win the challenge; also, the bonus is that all the proceeds will go to Goodwill.
Natasha comes out in layered tank tops and stonewashed mom jeans to generous applause. Kathleen came out a “straight up Brooklyn hoochie,” according to Miss J., “but with a twist…she has a great personality.” Renee’s boho chic look is a hit with Miss J. and Phillip. Dionne gives us “the new length in pants”; Brittany serves up a “tomboy” look; Felicia has a sexy Klute coat on that yields hoots from the audience; Jaslene has an 80’s vibe; and Diana has the sexy secretary thing going on. Finally, Sarah comes out in a fuchsia trench and says she wasn’t scared, reminding us all yet again that’s she worked fashion shows before. It does beg the question why she’s even bothering with this show if she was so successful before. Thanks for condescending to be here with the rest of us mere mortals, Sarah!
Whitney works her menswear-inspired outfit expertly. Samantha looks a bit less comfortable, but perhaps her stiffness is simply because she might be freezing in the thin, animal print negligee-looking slipdress she decided to wear on the outdoor runway. Miss J. says that it is possible to “buy secondhand and make it work”; he feels Jael made her simple but colorful outfit work, and she enjoyed her walk, saying the crowd “empowered” her and made her feel beautiful. Cassandra looks like a crazy lady with her mismatched floppy hat, print dress, and odd belt.
At the end of the day, the fashion raised $286.50. The winner whose outfit got the highest bid gets to sign the extra large check that Miss J. is having too much fun parading around like a sexy card girl between rounds at a boxing match. Phillip hands the magic marker to sign the check to Jael. Renee, instead of being happy for her friend, looks angry and in confessional says that the only reason Jael won is “because she’s thrift-shopper…it’s not even like it was a modeling thing. It’s not fair at all.” Ooh, she kinda two-faced. Jael is excited but worries how the other girls will react to her winning, since she’s not a competitive person by nature.
Renee comments again on how Jael always wants to be best friends with everyone (since when was being friendly a crime?) and she seems to think Jael is holding back. At the house, Renee takes Jael aside for a smoke and basically tries to start shiznit, baiting Jael to say bad things about the others. “You act like everything’s okay all the time, and I know that you get annoyed with these girls.” Jael wonders why Renee can’t accept that that’s how she genuinely feels, and tells Renee not to project her own personal feelings on her behavior.” If I were Jael, I’d reconsider my friendship with Renee, who plays the sensitive mommy when it’s convenient but is a muckraker and an instigator when she thinks no one’s watching; Jael’s already feeling drained by Renee’s negativity. So much for the myth of mothers being more nurturing and loving!
No! Sleep! For Brooklyn!
TyraMail announces that the first meeting with the judges is soon to come. As the girls get ready for bed, the nerves kick in. “You never know what’s going to happen in panel,” Kathleen confesses; she feels she did well with her performance at the runway challenge, but still worries over being the first person kicked off. She also adds, prophetically, that she thinks the first person eliminated doesn’t get a fair chance to prove themselves. “Don’t think like that,” Jaslene reassures her; they share a hug, and Jaslene encourages Kathleen to let the tears out, saying that she herself cried many times the night she was eliminated in Cycle 7.
Elsewhere, Sarah is confident that she’s not going home. Renee has finally found a bitching buddy in Diana. They whisper to each other in bed about how annoying they find the other girls. It’s petty, immature stuff that unfortunately reflects more badly on themselves than the other girls, especially Renee who does the brunt of the bitching and is really living up to her self-described cattiness.
It’s finally time for the first official finalist elimination of Cycle 8. Tyra (I like her working the flat hair right now) has her customary interpretation of the week’s photo shoot theme; this week, she is painted blue and red, sitting regally before the American flag. In the elimination room, Tyra greets the 13 finalists, who will be 13 no more by the end of this session.
But first, the fun stuff. The grand prize package for this year’s Cycle includes: a contract with Elite modeling agency, a cover and spread for Seventeen magazine, a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl, and…and that’s it this year? No more Gilles Bensimon? Damn, just when I perfected my snooty faux French accent! Of course, we have, as ever, our lovely panel of judges, which consists of fashion photographer Nigel Barker, runway trainer J. Alexander, and fashion icon Twiggy, who flew out to America when she was 16½ to do aSeventeen cover herself.
The evaluations begin with Jael, whom Tyra mentions was the challenge winner that week. Jael confesses her worry that winning would change how the other girls treated her, and Tyra snaps, “So you want to dull your shine to be liked?” Jael reluctantly confesses that might be true. Nigel advises her to do the best she can to give the others something to live up to. They take a look at her pro-life picture (she points out she’s actually pro-choice) and unfortunately Jael misses the mark. She says she was sick, but Tyra dismisses that as just another excuse. “I have been sick right here, and I have had to not only look right, but lead this panel,” Tyra says sternly.
Natasha’s pro-choice picture looks like she’s disappearing into the wall behind her. Tyra jibes Natasha, saying there is more expression on her face now, standing before panel, than in this picture, which is supposed to be about a very provocative issue. “There’s no connection with the camera,” according to Twiggy.
Dionne is the vegan in the picture although, “Personally, I like my meat,” she says. Nigel compliments her “strong face” and Twiggy says the pic is “pretty” but questions whether it is strong enough to really send a message. Tyra says the pic is good but not great, and could have used more neck.
Cassandra’s pro-meat picture is received quite well in comparison to many of the girls’. Twiggy says the message really does come across; Tyra likes the emotion she gives, saying it really does look like she loves the meat. Cassandra also looks “nice” and “pretty.”
Nigel says he was “slightly disappointed” by Renee, largely because all the shots from her looked the same. Tyra thinks Sarah looks “scared” both in the photo and in front of panel; Nigel agrees, adding that in the studio she was also “timid.” Renee decides now is the time to pull out the Child Card, because apropos of nothing she starts babbling about how she’s always thinking of her son and how she’s doing this all for him, blah blah. What does this have to do with turning in a sucky performance? And Renee’s not timid and scared when she’s trash talking her competitors behind their backs. Interesting.
Diana’s pro-gun photo just misses target. Twiggy finds her eyes “slightly dead” and Miss J. says the face is “almost there,” but Nigel agrees she’s “weak in the eyes.” On the plus side for this plus-sizer, Nigel says he enjoyed shooting Diana and gives her props for pulling off a jumping shot.
Tyra asks for Kathleen’s views on her topic, which was anti-fur. Kathleen responds that she thinks it’s okay to use an animal’s coat as long as you don’t kill it for its pelt. “If it’s already dead, then you can take the skin off and just make a coat.” This sends half the room into a giggle fit, but Tyra presses on, asking, “How would it already be dead?” In her adorable Brooklyn accent, Kathleen asks, “Animals fight each other in the jungle, right, in the woods?” Adamantly anti-fur Twiggy disabuses poor Kathleen of her belief, saying, “Unfortunately, that’s not how they get fur coats.” Nigel tells Kathleen that he didn’t feel she completely understood the concept of her shoot. “I know, right?” Kathleen says with good-natured cluelessness. Tyra offers that some anti-fur protesters are very aggressive, and she could have used that in her shot; instead Kathleen looks like “I don’t know.” Kathleen says she didn’t want to ask more questions because she “didn’t want to seem slow.” “Well…” Miss J. squeaks, implying that it was bit late for that. He says she doesn’t look the least bit angry in the shot, and he feels angry that she didn’t get it.
Brittany’s pro-fur picture is a hit. Twiggy thinks Brittany accurately captured the mood, but Miss J. would have liked to see her carriage lifted a bit. Nigel says it’s “striking, like a bird.”
The happy couple, Samantha and Whitney, comes before the panel. Whitney says playing college basketball definitely “exposed” her to the same-sex contingent; and although it may be new to Samantha, she doesn’t feel it’s right to tell anyone they’re not allowed to marry whoever it is they love, so she’s “fine with it.” Their picture gets a fairly positive reaction; Nigel thinks it was good job except neither of them listened to directions to cheat their bodies toward the camera in the shot. Whitney’s body gets lost in the bulky suit. Samantha seems to steal the limelight in this photo; Twiggy is most impressed with Samantha’s “beautiful neck.
Felicia says, “I love men,” so straight marriage was not a problem for her. The panel thinks she did a good job. Tyra says it looks like “Bridal Magazine” and Nigel thinks she and her mannequin man look like the figures on top of a cake.
Jaslene’s pro-death penalty pic is deemed a “strong photograph” according to Twiggy. The whole panel coos over the close-up of her eyes, which Tyra describes as “something extra special.” Still, Tyra asks where the Jaslene personality has gone. Jaslene whips some out, announcing, “If you guys want me to stomp down 180 steps, I will stomp down 180 steps, and you best believe that last step will be just as fierce as the first one.” Tyra reminds Jaslene to show more of that fire that got her cast on the show, warning, “Just ‘cause you got the job doesn’t mean you’re gonna keep the job.”
Sarah’s life-in-prison picture gets a chilly reception. Nigel says neither he nor Mr. Jay feel she did very well; he scolds her for having the same face in every single shot. Tyra says Sarah could have gone with the resigned inmate or the crazy inmate look, and she did neither.
The judges discuss the cycle 8 finalists for the first time. In deliberations, the panel seems scared that Renee may “crack under pressure”; Jaslene is “fierce”; Felicia has “beautiful bone structure” (and Tyra thinks that, in this photo at least, she looks more like Noemie Lenoir than herself); Samantha has the face but lacks personality so far; Whitney has the personality for sure, but disappears in this week’s photo; they love Brittany’s photo; they worry that Kathleen is “clueless”; Cassandra’s photo is powerful but they’re unsure whether she has the “model looks” they seek; Dionne is all about 1b at the top and 30 at the bottom; Sarah “didn’t deliver” and Twiggy finds her middle portion “difficult to look at”; Diana is “perfectly proportioned” but is “deadpan” in the face; Natasha is “relying on pretty”; Jael is “tall” and looks like an “exotic blonde” which Nigel says is rare. Tyra is excited to reveal why, mentioning Jael is half black. Nigel and Twiggy are stunned; sadly they agree that she didn’t really deliver at this shoot. Tyra is concerned over Jael’s need to be liked getting in the way of her wanting to win.
Tyra finally addresses the finalists. She berates them for their disappointing performance, saying she is “the least satisfied” she’s ever been with an ANTM photo shoot. “As controversial it was, the majority of you just stood there,” Tyra says disapprovingly. Hopefully they will improve, but only 12 will get that chance after tonight. Tyra hands photos back to: Jaslene, Brittany, Felicia, Diana, Samantha, Cassandra, Renee, Sarah, Dionne, Whitney, and Natasha.
Only room for one more and it’s down to Kathleen and Jael. Tyra says it’s between “the girl with the bright spirit and hair to match, that just…doesn’t have a clue,” or “the girl with the funky, quirky personal style and the great personality who is afraid to succeed because she wants to be liked.” The final photo goes to Jael. “You can still be liked and be successful,” Tyra reassures her.
Unbelievably, this means Kathleen is going home. I seriously thought Brooklyn would be representing for a long time this cycle, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. “I feel sad right now,” Kathleen admits as she packs her suitcase to leave, “I feel like I didn’t get a chance to compete.” Still it means a lot to her that Tyra saw potential in her and chose her at all. Remaining ever positive, Kathleen declares, “I’m not going to go home and sit on my couch like a couch potato,” instead she will continue to pursue modeling. Good luck, Kathleen!
Are you ready to make nice? Email me your political views to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com!
Last edited by SnowflakeGirl; 03-09-2007 at 02:49 AM.
Sending good vibes and warm fuzzies your way..., SnowflakeGirl All New AMERICA'S TOP MODEL Recaps! Premiere Pt. 1 & Pt. 2, Ep. 3, Ep. 4, Dinah's Dynamite Ep. 5, Ep. 6, Ep. 7, Ep. 8, Ep. 9, Ep. 10, Ep. 11, Finale Relive every beautiful moment of America's Next Top Model...Click here for links to prior season recaps & interviews.
count to ten.
Great recap, SnowflakeGirl! Got me LMAO!
Um... Sarah has a child?
Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl;2263618;
Another great recap Snowy!!
But I think you confused Sarah and Renee, the quote in the post above is about Renee I think.
I think that paragraph was meant to be about Renee
Originally Posted by nightfall_realm;2263637;
I don't wanna get fat like you
Don't even believe in the F Word...FAT
...Perhaps you meant PEE AYTCH AY TEE
- Stacy Ann and Whitney- ANTM 10
Thanks for part 2 of your awesome recap, Snowy!
Good job Snowy, but girl you need to get more catty...don't hold back. I love your insightful observations with a twist.......we all LOVE to hate Tyra and crew and this season looks promising. Go SG!
Last edited by kimanis; 03-03-2007 at 04:27 PM.
From the corner of my eye
Hee. You rock, Snowy-Punkin.
Tyra, shut up.
You are awesome, SnowflakeGirl. I love your hilarious way with words.
Aint I a lil devil?
ah, my favorite part about ANTM.... Lady Snowflake's recaps! Yay!
Pink Elephants on Parade!
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