Last week on America’s Next Top Model we saw Katarzyna – a front-runner early on – sent home. Whitney, who shared the bottom two with Kat, is still shocked she wasn’t the one to get the boot. We begin this week’s episode with Whitney, once again, vowing to work harder and appear more natural in her photos and to prove to the judges that she wants to be there. It’s like her weekly mantra now. Anya decides to stay above it all and just focus on herself instead of worrying about the other girls.
Back at the apartment, the walls have been covered with pictures of cycle 9 winner, Saleisha. It’s like the fashion version of one of those scary haunted houses. I’d still have nightmares about that haircut of hers….even without 10 foot high photos of her around every corner. Dominique calls herself the Saleisha of this cycle. This explains a lot. Speaking of Dominique (and why should Dominique be the only one talking about her?), Fatima can’t believe she’s still in the competition and neither can Whitney. Whitney slams Dominique’s eating habits, saying she even gets up in the middle of the night to eat. Cue the shot of Dominique digging through her bag for snacks and pining for a Snickers bar. Dominique tells us she doesn’t care if the other girls like her or not. She then rolls out one of the biggest clichés in reality TV. It’s the old “I’m not here to make friends” bit. Please, we know you care what everyone thinks about you. You can stop denying it.
Fatima admits she’ll be sad if she doesn’t win any challenges. Anya, on the other hand, is feeling super-confident about her chances at this week’s challenge. So far, she’s been really impressed with her performance at the challenges.
“Take a picture, you might last longer. Love, Tyra”
The next morning, the girls hop into the shuttle bus for a ride to a park, where they find Paulina in the midst of a photo shoot. Anya praises Paulina’s energy in front of the camera. Paulina introduces the girls to photographer Francesco Licata, who tells the girls he will be teaching them something that I can’t understand because his accent is so thick. Okay, it seems that this challenge will be about showing them how things look from behind the camera so they can do better in front of the camera. The girls will take turns as the photographer today. Before the actual challenge, they each get a few minutes of training. Whitney says she could see the strengths and weaknesses of each girl as she photographed them. Dominique manages to irritate Fatima, who says Dominique isn’t being competitive: she’s being disrespectful.
With their little training session over, Anne Shoket, Editor-In-Chief of Seventeen Magazine appears. The challenge this week will be a photo shoot. The model? Paulina herself. Each of them will get five minutes to shoot. They will be evaluated on two things: 1) how they work with the model and 2) how the pictures look. The winner will receive 50 extra frames at the next photo shoot.
Fatima goes first. Anya watches and comments on Fatima’s performance. She compliments Fatima, saying she directed Paulina, but was respectful. Paulina felt Fatima was strong and secure. Dominique steps behind the camera next and she doesn’t seem to be able to give Paulina any direction at all. She just tells her to have fun. Any directions she does give Paulina sound like this: “You should be walking, but not walking all the way.” Wah? Anya tells us Dominique wasn’t very sure of herself and wasn’t in control of the situation. Paulina felt Dominique was uncertain and, although she seemed to want to accomplish something different with her shoot, she didn’t know how to go about it.
Whitney takes her turn and she directs Paulina well. Whitney knows she has to impress Paulina because she’s both a supermodel and a judge. She feels confident and thinks she communicated well with Paulina. Paulina tells us Whitney was lots of fun to shoot with and that she didn’t show any hesitation: she jumped right in. Anya is last with the camera and she starts out by handing Paulina a big bunch of leaves. She takes a picture as Paulina throws them into the air. It’s a good idea, but when we see the photo a few minutes later, it’s clear the result isn’t as good as the idea: the leaves block Paulina’s face. Whitney thinks Anya doesn’t really know how to focus her energy: she’s just a big ball of radiation. Like Plutonium. Paulina agrees with Whitney, saying Anya needs to narrow her focus.
The girls meet with Paulina and Ann Shoket for their critiques. Ann tells Whitney that her beauty shots of Paulina were great and Paulina says she enjoyed shooting with Whitney. She had a firm hand and didn’t hesitate. Anya’s idea just weren’t fully realized. Paulina did have the most fun with her, but it didn’t work enough of the time. Ann compliments Fatima for trying lots of different things, although that’s just what Anya got criticized for. Fatima’s photos gave them lots of options and Paulina admits she felt the most relaxed with Fatima. Unfortunately, Dominique’s sense of composition wasn’t so hot. Ann says there were a lot of “cactus hats” on Paulina. Paulina tells Dominique that she wanted to help her find her vision, but she got led to a cactus instead.
The winner of this week’s challenge is Fatima, who squeals like a little girl. This is her first challenge win.
Back at apartment, Fatima works on her walk, as Anya and Whitney look on. Dominique watches too and rolls her eyes. She tells us Fatima’s problem: she just can’t bring it. Dominique shows off her astonishingly impressive self-esteem, telling us she believes in herself more than any of the other do and that gives her an advantage. She rambles on about herself and her self-confidence so more and Anya tells us what we already knew: it’s exhausting being around Dominique. Dominique? Still talking. About herself. A lot.
Tyra Mail: “They’re out for blood but they will give you a taste of fame”
This week’s photo shoot is a night shoot. Mr. Jay greets the ladies and explains that, for this shoot, the girls will be styled like 1950’s movies stars and will pose pretend they’re being stalked by a paparazzo. To help them get into the part will be a hot Italian male model. This week’s photographer – and you knew this was coming sooner or later – is the “noted” Nigel Barker himself. Mr. Jay urges the girls to be natural and avoid posing. With that little bit of foreshadowing out of the way, let’s see how they did.
Anya steps onto set with big, blonde hair and bigger black eyebrows. It’s very Madonna “Truth of Dare.” She’s clad in a black, sequined mini dress and a gold, lamé-ish jacket. Who wore that in the 50’s? Gina Lolabrigida? Nigel thinks Anya looks too model-y. So now that’s a bad thing? Mr. Jay urges Anya too work on looking more naturally surprised instead of posing. He even tries to distract her, which seems to work. Nigel says Anya isn’t a great model, but she has potential. Mr. Jay wonders what Anya will do at a photo shoot without the training wheels (i.e. Mr. Jay standing off camera directing her every move).
Fatima is feeling a definite advantage over the other girls after her challenge prize of 50 extra frames at this shoot. It doesn’t seem like she’ll need those extra frames: she looks fantastic. Like a real 1950’s movie star like Dorothy Dandridge. Mr. Jay reminds Fatima that the photos should look like a snapshot. Unfortunately, Fatima isn’t really paying attention to where the camera is and Mr. Jay has to remind her that pictures of the back of head aren’t so great. As Fatima’s time continues, Mr. Jay thinks that maybe those 50 frames will come in handy. Before those 50 frames are shot, Fatima has a chance to see her film. It’s like she’s getting a second chance at the shoot after seeing her mistakes. Mr. Jay urges her to get in the fight, but she moves listlessly in front of the camera and Nigel calls her “uninspiring.” Beautiful, but uninspiring.
Whitney is just plain stoked to be working with Nigel. She really wants to impress him and show him that she can take direction. She’s wearing the heck out of a leopard prints skirt and black blouse. Unfortunately, she’s a bit too “pose-y” for Nigel and even Mr. Jay’s direction doesn’t seem to make a difference. While he thought she looked great, but it really wasn’t her best shoot.
Dominique gives herself a little pep talk before her shoot. She thinks she can turn it up more than the other girls. Sadly, she looks very draggish and Mr. Jay thinks her poses look too staged. He urges Dominique to let go of her poses and pretend this is moving film instead of still. Nigel tells her she looks fantastic and urges her to be herself. Mr. Jay thinks Dominique definitely took a step back this week.
In the end, Mr. Jay isn’t all that pleased with any of the girls. He doesn’t know what happened. Anya is bummed out after Mr. Jay’s assessment: she thought she did okay. Whitney says she’s always nervous about panel but, after last week, she knows she needs to have a great picture.
Oh, hell. It’s the same damn thing every week and I’m not going to type it out. We can all recite it by heart at this point. Tomorrow the girls will go to panel and one of them will get the boot. Moving on.
Tyra, sporting demented Farrah Fawcett hair, welcomes the girls to panel. She gives the rundown on the prizes and then introduces the judges, including this week’s guest judge, Ann Shoket.
Anya is up first. Tyra calls the picture “stunning” and Paulina loves it too. Tyra thinks Nigel has managed to take the best picture of Anya to date, saying Anya’s beauty really came through in the photo. Nigel says that shooting Anya before was beneficial: he had her angles worked out already. Nigel then mentions the frustration Mr. Jay felt during the shoot. She looks surprised in the photo only because she genuinely was surprised: she wasn’t in control or her surprise. Paulina talks about the challenge and how Anya lacked focus, but had lots of energy. Ann agrees with Paulina’s assessment, but compliments Anya’s versatility.
Tyra thinks Whitney’s photo shows off her stunning face, but she doesn’t look stunned: she just looks like she’s looking at Nigel. Paulina thinks this is the first photo to really do Whitney’s face justice, but finds the pose a little stiff. Ann praises Whitney’s great shoulders, which really feels like a non-compliment, like saying someone has lovely earlobes. Nigel felt it was hard for Whitney to get into character. The judges think the male model showed more of the expression that Whitney should have expressed: she was more model than actress.
Dominique manages to show up to panel in another tragic outfit featuring leggings and a tight tunic. Tyra commands her to pull the tunic up and Dominique spastically tries to follow her directions, yanking at the waist of her top, pulling at the shoulders and looking puzzled as Tyra (and I) shouts “Pull it up!” repeatedly. Finally, Dominique gets that Tyra wants the top pulled up with the excess tucked in back. Paulina thinks Dominique looks like a beautiful tranny in her photo. Tyra reminds Dominique that she has to be careful because her bone structure can sometimes make her look a little draggish. A little?
Paulina calls Fatima’s photo “romantic” and says her face is beautiful. Fatima reveals that she found this shoot difficult because she’s never been in love. Tyra lectures her: models have to pretend to be many things that they aren’t and their job is to make it look natural. Nigel thinks the photo looks like a Cover Girl shot, but that might not be right for this shoot. Miss J pronounces the photo just a pretty picture.
Tyra shoos the girls out so the judges can deliberate. Nigel thinks Anya’s photo is the best of the bunch, but that she did slip a little this week, literally and figuratively. Ann says Anya’s picture oozes glamour and Miss J thinks the photo just works. Tyra comments on the way Nigel captured Anya’s cat eyes.
While Fatima’s photo is beautiful, Tyra doesn’t think she looks like she’s been caught by a paparazzo. Miss J is tired of hearing models complain about not having any life experience to help them relate to the photo shoot. Nigel tells the other judges that Fatima came off snooty at the shoot and wouldn’t take direction. Tyra thinks Fatima isn’t a good listener.
While Whitney took a beautiful picture, Miss J thinks she could have given more. Ann wishes Whitney had used her body to better advantage. Paulina thinks Whitney looks like she wants to be caught. Tyra reminds her that there are people in the entertainment industry who complain about the paparazzi, but secretly love the attention.
Ann Shoket thinks that Dominique might have some good angles, but this photo isn’t showing off the softest ones. Nigel doesn’t think Dominique’s face can handle that much makeup. Miss J, in his best dragalicious voice, explains that that’s what Cover Girl is for: covering up the man in you. *snort*
There’s no need to list the call out order. It’s a two person list. Anya is called first, followed by a relieved Whitney. That leaves Fatima and Dominique stewing in the bottom two. Tyra assesses the girls. Fatima won this week’s challenge and got 50 extra frames, so her shot should have been amazing and it just wasn’t. Plus, the judges think Fatima talks over them and doesn’t listen. Dominique’s pictures started out pretty bad (I’ll say), but she steadily improved. Right up until this last shoot, when her photo was a hot tranny mess. When she’s standing in front of them, she has a strong face, but in the picture, not so much. In the end, Fatima is in and Dominique is going home.
Fatima cries as Tyra urges her to work on being a better listener. Tyra then congratulates Dominique on how far she’s come. She tells Dominique that her challenge will be to master her face. Dominique hugs the girls goodbye and graciously thanks the judges for the opportunity, saying it has been a blessing. She says she’s proud of herself and then assures us her story isn’t over. Dominique says she feels on top of the world even though she didn’t win. I feel like I’m on top of the world because I don’t have to listen to her yammer on about her great self-esteem any more.
Next Week: Anya, Whitney and Fatima are the final three, but there’s no time to relax: they’ll have a high-stress Cover Girl commercial and a high-fashion runway show before the big announcement of this cycle’s winner.