Remember those ever-so-precious posters with a little kitten hanging from a branch, encouraging the reader to “hang in there.” Yeah, those kittens were cute, if cloyingly so. Our remaining twelve models don’t have the luxury of looking cute, because, after all, this is all about high fashion and supermodeldom. It’s a place where cute is out, minding your angles is in, and a good strong rope is a must.
Wherein we learn Bianca can be a bit of a bitch.
Tonight’s episode starts out with some girls out on the house’s deck, by the pool. They aren’t chillaxin’ by that lovely pool, but workin’ it. And by workin’ it, I mean stomping around like they are mules with ants to kill. Kimberly tells us that she comes from a small town where they only have churches and horses, but she has what it takes to be a model. Clearly she has seen the horse stomp before, and emulates the movement as she practices her runway walk. Bianca “helps” her by giving her pointers, which Bianca confesses were really not aimed to help at all. After all, this is a competition. Anyone else notice how much prettier Bianca is when her hair is pulled back and that awful magenta isn’t showing? She goes from Saaphyri to sensational with a mere change of hair.
While Bianca and Kimberly have their session out on the deck, inside some other girls are giving Heather a make-over. The make-over comes down to a ‘ho-over, with the added three tons of make-up, but the girls, especially Saleisha, have good intentions. Heather doesn’t seem freaked out by the attention and actually may have had a good time bonding with the other girls. Drawing this happy little scene to a close is the receipt of a Tyra-o-gram (Tyra Mail is so tired, isn’t it?). Apparently Ms. Banks is on a writing spree this episode, as this is the first of four such missives. This one cryptically says that you have to have your stuff together to be a top model, but they can all go crazy for now. The first point is somewhat debatable, given what we all know about models, but as long as “crazy” doesn’t involve Britney Spears, I’m down for the ride.
Wherein we learn that Miss J understudied for the part of Nurse Ratched.
So the girls arrive at what seems to be a haunted asylum. The same Halloween make-up guys from last week likely dressed the set. The models all shriek in fear at the crazy lights and mad people running about but they are soon greeted by Miss J dressed as an old-school nurse. He is there to cure them of their fashion ailments and work on their runway walks. Out comes a rack of straight jackets; the girls will have to don these jackets and some heels and do a runway walk. Miss J explains that they will have to deal with restrictive clothing in couture fashion shows, and this is a great way to practice. Or a great way to humiliate a dozen girls on national television.
All of the girls do their best runway walks. Miss J singles out Heather for looking awkward with her neck. He thinks something is sexy about Janet’s walk, and says Bianca needs to have a softer look in the face. Saleisa’s walk, probably from having a bit more experience than the others, is good. After his quick critiques, Miss J is on her way.
Back at the house, a discussion breaks out in a bedroom about the relative level of experience some of the girls have. Kimberly says her only photo shoot experience is her dad taking pictures of her. Saleisa has had runway experience, but gets defensive when Bianca starts asking questions. Then the requisite shouting match breaks out, with Bianca telling Saleisa she’s “border-line plus-sized.” Saleisa eventually storms out, and Bianca tells Kimberly that she is to the point where she could start cutting up clothes and warns that no one should let her red hair fool them—she can be VERY high fashion.
Wherein we learn the point of the straight jackets.
Another Tyra Mail arrives which only states that the models have survived the madhouse and are about to be successes. Well, that’s informative, isn’t it? The girls arrive on what may be the top of a building somewhere and are met by Roy Campbell, fashion show producer. He tells the girls they are going to be in a fashion show for designer Colleen Quen, who also appears on the scene. Heather has seen Colleen Quen’s work, which puts her ahead of me in the game. Colleen’s fashions are apparently quite restrictive and she instructs the girls that they will have to bring her garments to life through their walks. She will judge each girl and pick a winner, who will go with her to Paris and walk in her show there. It is important that the girls bring out what she envisions her outfits to say, which I believe is “bound by hideous fashion.”
After the models get their hair and make-up done, the show starts. Ambreal is saddled with some purple pom-pom dress but manages to saunter down the runway fairly well. Chantal is in a white gown but looks like her neck is stiff. Bianca manages a pretty good strut, while Jenah is practically trapped in a monstrosity with a train in the front and the back. I’m amazed she didn’t fall on her face. Victoria walks down the runway looking like she’s still in the haunted asylum, and, in voice over, tells us that she’s amazed that fashion means so much to people. For an ivy leaguer, she’s pretty clueless, as this is obviously a modeling competition that involves fashion.
Heather wears a flowery dress and walks slowly and somewhat stiffly. Ebony has a lot of shaking going on in her walk, and on the way back clips and/or body-checks Sarah as she comes out on the runway. Saleisha works the runway hard, noting in the voice over that she really wants to win. Lisa has a golden outfit on and walks like there’s a pole jammed where one ought not jam a pole. Kimberly is forced to wear a hideous tiered dress and looks like she knows it’s butt-ugly. Finally, Janet comes down in an outfit that can only be described as Queen of the Forest goes Hunting. She does a good job on the runway.
After the show, Colleen has a few comments for some of the girls. She thinks Heather’s posture could be better, Saleish could stand even taller, Bianca needs a warmer expression, and Kimberly had an empty soul. Ouch! Ebony is called out for running into Sarah, but Ebony didn’t realize that it was that big of a deal. I kind of believe her—it came off as more nervousness than intentional sabotage. Colleen then picks Saleisha as the winner, but Bianca says there is no way she should not be on that trip to Paris rather than Saleisha.
Wherein we learn where the “high” in “high fashion” comes from.
Our third Tyra Mail of the evening arrives at the house the day after the fashion show. In it Tyra writes that if the models want to be on top, then they have to learn the ropes of high fashion. Jenah just knows this has to do with ropes and dangling, and is super-excited because she loves rock climbing. Sure enough, they arrive to their photo shoot (in the eco-friendly bus, naturally), Jay Manuel tells them that they are going to climb an indoor rock wall in gowns and heels while wearing conceptual, editorial makeup. Matthew Jordan Smith, one of the first photographers to shoot Tyra, will snap the pics.
The photo shoot goes by pretty quickly; Lisa has issues with heights and Janet has some difficulty with the climb. Jay tells Bianca she looks “horsey”, which can’t be good. After Victoria’s photo shoot, Jay asks her what she thought of up on the ropes. She says she envisioned herself as a sea nymph on acid scaling a wall in the sunshine; I think she captured that look pretty well. Jay thinks Ambreal’s body language was great but she needed to work on her facial expression. Ebony looks goofy up on the ropes, and Kimberly growls like a weak lion while on the wall. Jenah’s climbing experience comes out and she’s at total ease on the ropes. Heather photographs beautifully, seemingly with no effort. After the shoot is over, Jay tells them all that they shouldn’t self-analyze each frame they shoot; I guess he means they shouldn’t be thinking about acid-tripping sea nymphs.
After the shoot, the girls go back to the house where they find the last letter from Tyra for tonight. This letter only says that they will meet with the judges the next day and one girl will be eliminated. Color me shocked! With this news, Kimberly comments that she wants to stay around so she can learn more, Saleisha is cognizant that this is a competition, and Heather hates to see anyone go because she likes the girls. Bianca, showing her softer side, says she’s really pleased to see Heather learning and thinks she’ll go far—until Bianca has to stop her!
Wherein we learn Tyra cannot do a French accent properly.
It’s time for the girls to face the judges’ panel and Tyra greets them in some kind of Pucci-like Jetson dress and employs what has to be the worst faux French accent I’ve ever heard. She should have had that fixed in post—it was embarrassing. The usual cadre of judges is present: Tyra, Twiggy, Nigel, and Miss J (in an afro wig this time). Roy from the runway show is also sitting in on this panel.
The judging starts with Heather’s photographs. Roy says she should be proud, and Tyra asks her about her ability to make eye contact with things that aren’t in the frame. Heather says that in her drawing, she always draws the eyes first and studied a lot of people’s eyes for her art. Janet is next; Twiggy thinks the shot is really a fashion photograph, but Tyra thinks Janet looked self-conscious. Ebony is told she needs to show more self-confidence in the photos but, more importantly, in front of the judges. Kimberly’s shot isn’t that well received, because, as Nigel says, her face looks scrunched up. Tyra thinks Kimberly’s beauty but her uniqueness isn’t translating into the photographs. Chantal’s photograph made her look like she was falling and not in control as she should be.
Tyra told Sarah that the camera loves her face. Lisa pretty much gets the same critique Tyra gave Janet: her pose was good but her face showed she was too self-conscious about the shoot. Saleish’s shot was praised by Twiggy for being risky, but Tyra says that she needs to work on her angles so she’s not just the pretty girl-next-door type. Bianca’s photograph makes her look like she’s mega-pissed at the world, and Miss J does not like it. Nigel thinks she needs to work on her face angles. Nigel thought Victoria’s psychedelic nymph looked bright, confident and sexy, and Tyra loves she did the model arm pretzel. However, Victoria and Twiggy have a little exchange which Twiggy takes as confrontational. Twiggy needs to grow thicker skin.
Ambreal’s shot makes her look like she’s levitating and is pretty damn cool. Twiggy says it is very elegant—the only elegant one she’s seen yet. Not to be outdone by that comment, Tyra says that Jenah’s picture is elegant and Nigel proclaims it the best picture. It truly was amazing—be sure to check it out in the photo shoot thread. Jenah confesses she had two years of working a s rock climbing instructor; Tyra proclaims confidence as the key to a successful photo shoot.
Wherein we learn where too much hootchie can do a girl in.
The judges send the models away for their deliberation. They think Heather’s and Janet’s pictures are beautiful. They like Bianca in person, but the photograph isn’t doing it for them. Roy likes Ebony’s shot and Tyra thinks Kimberly’s picture is still too hootchie. She’s still hung up on the exceedingly tacky black vest shot Kimberly had in her audition packet. Now that I’ve seen it, it’ll be burned in my memory too. Thanks, Tyra. They like Chantal’s face and think Sarah looked awkward. Lisa’s shot was great because she was in control and Saleisha took a big risk, which Twiggy still loves. Roy thought Jenah’s picture was brilliant. Ambreal’s shot is just okay by Twiggy but she thinks Victoria is after her personally. Miss J thinks Victoria is an odd one snuck into the competition by Tyra to give him fits.
The girls are called back in, and their photos are handed out by Tyra. Eventually it gets down to between Bianca and Kimberly. Tyra tells Kimberly that she is a beautiful girl with high fashion potential in person but in the photo shoots, she comes off as just another pretty girl. Tyra then says that she loved Bianca’s shot, but the other judges didn’t so much. With that, she tells Bianca she’ll have to please more than Tyra the next time, because she’s in. Kimberly is out and breaks down crying. All the girls give her hugs, and, as she packs to leave, she wishes for her boyfriend’s company and is embarrassed she’s the second to be booted.
Come back next week for make-overs and head shavings! Woo-hoo!