Wednesday, October 21, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 8

Cover Girl Commercial time came early this season! This week, the remaining 7 models were tested on their ability to perform in front of a video camera instead of a still camera. As usual, some were naturals while others simply fell apart.

For this week's challenge, the models were sent to the set of The Insider, with host Lara and her crew. They were taught some basics about interviewing techniques and then thrown in front of the cameras to do an interview with 90210's Jessica Lowndes. As a trick to see how well the contestants think on their feet, their teleprompter was blanked out after a question or two, leaving them to rely on their own quick thinking to keep the 2 minute interview going.

Jennifer and Erin were memorable as the two that really knew the actress and were able to keep her talking naturally without any dead air time. On the other side of the spectrum, there was poor dyslexic Laura. She started to panic when the teleprompter blanked. She has a hard enough time reading and when they blanked out the prompter, they had a bunch of random letters, and she couldn't tell if she was just having trouble reading or what. I truly felt for her, but she really didn't get over it and find her rhythm. Instead, she did the one thing you can't do on TV, she cursed. Ouch. Of course, that was nothing compared to Nicoles faux-pas of asking the young actress if she'd ever had children before. Awkward! The rest of the group was just so-so.

The challenge winner got a highly coveted reward: A beauty shoot for Seventeen Magazine. Erin was declared the winner and she chose Rae and Jennifer to go with her. High on her win, Erin thought she was the bomb, apparently getting a bit too cocky, which came back to bite her on the ass during the Cover Girl Shoot.

After the challenge, the girls returned home to find a set of boxes waiting for them. In each box was a set of Exact Eye Lights Mascara and shadow along with a stopwatch and a pad and pen. Their instructions were to write their own 25 second script, memorize it, and be ready to do a commercial the following day. Erin, feeling over-confident, was finished in minutes, happily calling out "Done!" and going to bed without much work on memorizing. Others like Nicole and Jennifer stayed up for a long time working on their scripts. You have to wonder why everyone wouldn't take such an important step in the competition more seriously. Everyone who's ever watched the show knows that the commercial is one of the most difficult shoots of the entire competition. It's easy to get rattled or nervous or tongue-tied.

And for Erin, that's exactly what happened. Even though she was happily saying during makeup that she was a winner, she walked onto the set and fell apart. Nigel, who was directing the shoot, was extremely disappointed. He had to call for makeup to fix her face FOUR times because she was crying so much. She never got it together, and I was honestly just rolling my eyes. She should have never acted so cocky, trying to intimidate everyone else, when she wasn't willing to put the time in that was required in order to do a good job.

At the top of the pack was Jennifer, who came across approachable and charming. Nicole also did a great job, finally showing the judges that she is able to put inflection in her voice. She also looked stunning! Brittany, though somewhat robotic, pulled off her lines flawlessly. Sundai had a good script, but geez, the girl had a hard time sounding serious. Her commercial was uncomfortable to watch! And not just in my opinion. Guest judge Kim Kardashian (who is not technically a model but has certainly become comfortable in front of a camera - and is famous for a sex tape she did so needless to say, she's comfortable in front of the video camera), also said Sundai was hard to watch.

The bottom two this week were Erin and Rae. Rae didn't mess up quite as badly on the commercial as Erin did, but in both the challenge and the shoot, she just wasn't memorable. She didn't seem to have any kind of spark or intense desire to be there. In the end, the panel chose to send Rae home. I don't think she minded terribly much either. She was mostly just happy to be going home to see her daughter again. That gives Erin another shot. Let's hope she can find an true inner confidence instead of just that fake mask she tries to put on to intimidate everyone else.

Next week: The model's house is condemned for being a mess! Tyra tells them it's so bad they can't live there any more. Does this mean they are heading out to a foreign country? I wonder where they'll go this time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 7

GO-SEE's! I love watching the go-sees, and trying to guess which models are going to be dumb enough to show up late. I understand the temptation to go to one more go-see, I really do, but if you're only 30 or 40 minutes away from the deadline, you're not going to make it back in time unless the go-see is next door. The cycle's go-see losers? Sundai and Rae. The funny thing is that Rae actually let Sundai talk her into going to one more when they so obviously didn't have time.

The winner of the go-see's was: NICOLE! I can't help but love her! She's got a style about her that just seems cool and calm, and she has, by far, the best look in the group this year. I just don't understand all the Nicole-hating that's going on in the house. Is it jealousy? Sure, she says some strange things from time to time, but for the most part, it seems that she just stays out of everyone's way and keeps to herself. What's the harm in that? Kara had me sitting, mouth open in shock, in front of the TV when she said, "She has the social graces of a fetus." Wow, that is seriously mean! Karma's a bitch, though, isn't Kara? Not only did Neil Lane call her a "disaster" for not having pierced ears when she showed up to model his jewelry, but the casting director of the ad agency said she was greasy and another designer called her 'scruffy'. Ouch, ouch ouch. Not one person liked Kara this week. Rough.

As the winner of the go-see challenge, Nicole won a piece from all of the go-see casting people, including Neil Lane diamond earrings and some awesome outfits. The eye-rolling and hater looks from most of the other girls had me fuming. Erin actually had the audacity to say, "well, you haven't won anything yet, so they might have just wanted you to win." I was literally cheering when Nicole bounced back with, "No, I earned it." And she damn well did earn it. Erin went down 10 points in my book for saying something like that out loud.

Crouching Tiger-Hidden Model
The photo shoot this week was awesome. Each model was dressed in a colorful and flowing frock, then given a choice of traditional asian weapons. Numchucks (no idea how to spell that word), swords, everything. THen, they were taught by a professional how to use their weapon and how to move with a harness on their bodies. This was a great shoot for middle of the season, because it truly tested how much the models have learned. They had to be thinking about their modeling and their faces, but also the length of their bodies, the sleeves on their outfits, and the way they were moving on the harness.

Kara and Sundai stood out as the worst this week during the shoot. Sundai, though cute, was called "Abysmal" by Jay, as she wasn't able to get past the distractions of the weapons and the harness to focus on her modeling. Kara bombed it big time, and honestly I'm not surprised. Anytime a model starts obsessing over the success of someone else in the house, it's only a matter of time before they are booted. Not because Tyra knows about it or disapproves, but because their focus is on someone else instead of themselves. If Kara truly wanted to model, she would be thinking about her own issues and how to improve rather than constantly bitching about Nicole's success.

Some of the best and most impressive on the harness this week were Laura, who really used her weapons to elongate and lengthen her body; Nicole, who looked fierce and in control the entire time; and Jennifer, who just looked natural and amazing in that red outfit.

Guest judge this week was "supermodel" Jessica White. While beautiful, I doubt the use of the term 'supermodel' here. Okay so she's posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition 7 times, does that make her super? I don't know, but anyway, she's successful and that's what is important. Also, I like her because she said Nicole is "my absolutely favorite." With each week that passes, I agree more and more.

The highlight of this week's panel for me was Nigel Smeyezing. It was awesome. He looked like he had something stuck in his eye.

The best photo of the week is: NICOLE. As the winner of yet another thing this week, Nicole has quickly shot to the top of the pack. Nigel still wants to see more personality and inflection in her tone of voice, but she's modeling at the top of the crowd and I think she'll go far.
  • Laura (second place and still on top for me. she needs to step it up though if she wants to truly stand out in this competition)
  • Brittany
  • Erin
  • Jennifer
  • Rae
  • And the bottom two: Kara vs. Sundai.
I just knew Kara was going to be in the bottom 2 this week when they opened the episode with her dissing on Nicole. She should have spent more time worrying about her own problems and less time thinking she was better than everyone else. Sundai was given another week in the competiton and Kara, much to her own surprise, was booted out.

I almost felt sorry for her until she said, "What's the point of being in the competition if I had to go home in the middle? If I didn't win?" I hate that attitude! The point is that you were on an extremely successful TV show where you got tons of exposure. The point is that you got some priceless modeling experience and (hopefully) learned a lot in a short period of time. What a terrible attitude to have. Think about all the girls who didn't make it on to the show. You should be grateful you had the chance, and sad that you wasted your opportunity by letting yourself become distracted. Peace out, Kara. Nicole rules.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 6

It was group week on Top Model, with the remaining 9 contestants modeling and dancing in groups of 3. It's always tough to find a way to really stand out in a group, and sometimes, as Ashley learned, it's harder when the rest of your group is pulling you down. Interestingly enough, she was on both sides of the fence this week... as the puller and the pullee so to speak :).

Benny Ninja, the pose-master extraordinaire, was on hand this week along with Lil' Mama and the Jaberwockies, to teach the models how to express themselves with their bodies instead of just relying on their faces. This is one of the most important lessons a model can learn. After their teach, the girls were split into groups of 3 and given one hour to come up with a dance routine that exemplified happy, sad, and angry, using their bodies only and a mask over their faces. Through the curse of the draw, Ashley, who is the only real dancer in the group, was given Nicole and Erin as her two dance partners. Neither of her partners have a shred of dancing talent, and in fact, Nicole needs some serious work when it comes to learning how to be free and move with her body. Needless to say, their group was at the bottom of the three groups. Laura, Sundai, and Brittany were in the middle, only really shining on their "sad" portion. Rae, Jennifer, and Kara did an excellent job embodying all three emotions and as their reward, they each got to choose a piece of jewelry from the collection of designer Rhonda Faber Green (totaling 17,000 bucks). Again, the looks of sheer jealousy from the other girls this season make me cringe and laugh both at the same time!

Back at the house, it was Ashley who was unable to let the dance competition go. She continued to obsess about it, even going so far as to say "We were the only group dancing real dance moves. If it was me by myself... totally different story." Of course, back in their rooms, dogging Ashley were the houses' new "gossip girls" Jennifer and Kara who were seen numerous times this episode talking about the other girls and speculating about how far each would go in this competition. In my opinion, those two need to be paying more attention to their own modeling instead of spending so much time talking about everyone elses' modeling. In this weeks' photo shoot, both Jennifer and Kara were at the bottom of their groups.

This week's photo shoot was in fabulous Las Vegas on the stage of Cirque de Soleil's show "Mystere". It was all about standing out in the photograph as groups of 3 modeled with groups of 3 performers. Mr. Jay's performance on stage deserves and honorable mention as well. I'm surprised Tyra wasn't there all dressed up in Cirque makeup, though... seemed right up her alley.

Guest judge for the week was Josie Maran, a 5'6" model who has had a successful 19 year career, modeling for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, Victoria's Secret, and various campaigns and magazine covers.

Tyra called each group to the front, then took them through the photo one by one. I have to say, Miss Tyra was cut-throat this week in her critique of the photos. Photo number one was Brittany, Rae, and Jennifer. Rae really stole the photo with her smoldering eyes and fashion forward look, but Brittany was a close second with her bride of Frankenstein awkwardness that worked for this shoot, but Jennifer "brought this picture down." Tyra was brutal, saying that Jennifer's film was awful.

Group two, it was Ashley that pulled the shot down. Tyra said her performance was "very poor", and I have to agree. For all her talk of wanting it and trying her best, she really didn't follow Jay's directions very well about the angles of her body, and it really showed. Laura, on the other hand, had my very favorite photo of the week. She looked sexy and strange and confident and beautiful. Each week, she becomes more and more my favorite. Tyra said she must be drinking "fierce juice." Haha. I agree! Kara was "middling", not really standing out as great. She more just blended in, bringing nothing to the photo.

Group three's downer was Nicole, which was surprising to me because I expected her to shine on this very theatrical and strange photo landscape. Rather than going "golem" and contorting her body, she was just there, plain and uninteresting. Sundai stood out in her group photo, with Tyra saying that she had to choose a picture that wasn't her best just to get a decent shot of Nicole. I think Sundai has improved a lot, but is it enough? Erin did a good job in the photo shoot as well, but I didn't see anything really new and exciting from her. I don't feel that she's really getting better so much as staying decent.

So who goes home?

Best photo this week was given to the best collective group: Rae, Brittany, and Jennifer. I hated to see Jennifer get "best photo" just because she was in a group with the two best. Having one of the weakest photos of the bunch, it didn't seem fair, but fair isn't the name of the game, I guess. She skated by and she better be thanking her lucky stars! Next, Tyra called names individually. Laura, Nicole (who should have really been towards the bottom in my opinion), Sundai, and Erin.

That left Kara and Ashley in the bottom two, and there was no doubt in my mind who was going home. Ashley has been in the bottom two several times, and there was just no saving her this week. She was sent home, giving Kara another week to battle it out.

Next week? Go-sees!!! In L.A. rather than abroad, which is interesting. Also, looks like they are giving the girls cars to drive around the city rather than relying on taxi's who know where they're going. Should be fun! THe photo shoot looks even more fun, though, as the models take to wires Kung-fu style.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 5

So many wonderful things on last night's episode of Top Model! We got to see more of Nigel (and to see his gorgeous wife); we learned how to make up the perfect "smokey eye" from makeup expert Sam Fine; we got to watch Tyra the photographer in action; and best of all, we got to say goodbye to my least favorite model on cycle 13.

First things first, after the girls got over losing Lulu (not that anyone but Ashley really seemed to care), they were whisked away to a top model teach with makeup artist Sam Fine. He taught the models how to make their faces look model perfect in case they are called to a shoot or to a go-see on the spur of the moment. His advice for a model's 4 must-haves?
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Mascara
  • Lip Gloss
The trick is not to cover too much, but to even things out and to make your eyes really pop and your lips shine without looking like you put too much makeup on. It's all about trying to make yourself look as if you don't have makeup on at all. He also taught them how to make up their eyes in a smokey look by applying loose powder below the eye, then concealer on the lid, and finally using a contouring eye brush to apply dark brown below and above the lid. I'm personally planning on giving it a shot asap.

The challenge this week also involved making yourself look great for a spur of the moment interview. Nigel and his wife Crissy Barker (a CoverGirl spokesmodel), met the models at a Walmart during the wee hours and challenged them to a four station race. CLothes, Shoes, Makeup, and Photo were the four stations. The trick was that there weren't enough items at each station for every girl, so speed was important. Apparently, Erin took this contest to heart. The replay video showed her pulling on people's arms, shoving others to the side, and even intentionally throwing another girl's photo on the ground. While you have to admire the fact that Erin wants to win and is willing to go for it, you have to wonder if she will be admired in the industry when she fails to stand out as having anything positive to her determination.

Even though Erin's thirst for a win landed her in the top 3, Nigel and Crissy chose Sundai over Erin and Bianca as the model who made it to the end with the most put-together look. As a reward, Sundai won a $1000 walmart gift card and an online photo at

The next day on the way to the photo shoot, some of the models compared their bruises (which were a direct result of Erin's tirade through walmart the night before) and Erin cried. I think the stress is beginning to show for some of the women, but do you think Erin should really apologize? Maybe, but the others need to realize that the modeling world is cut-throat so stop complaining and get on with it already.

The photoshoot revealed an exciting twist - Tyra as their photographer! These are always some of my favorite shots of the season, so I was anxious to see what she had in store for the girls' this season. What I love is that Tyra keeps showing this season that she truly does care about the career success of the models once they leave the show. She wisely told them that as shorter models, "beauty" shots could be their bread and butter, then she proceeded to help them nail it. Some models, like Kara, Bianca and Ashley... failed to deliver. I think they were nervous and stiff with Tyra. Others like Brittany, Jennifer and Laura were completely at ease and took direction so easily.

The other twist at the shoot was that Mr. Jay and Tyra chose the best photo of the week right there on the set, giving Brittany immunity as well as a photo shoot for (complete with hot male models.) Oooh, the jealousy was so thick, I could feel it in my living room. The looks on the losing models faces as she went through her shoot was pure jealousy and hatred. Wow, 10 models still in the competition and it's already seriously tense. I can't wait to see what happens once we're down to the final 5.

Guest Judge at panel this week was China Chow, a 5'3" model who makes an impressive living as a beauty model. I love that Tyra is bringing in new judges that can serve as role models for these young girls. Hopefully they are looking up the work these models have done and seeing what can work in their own careers. This week's order was:
  1. Brittany (whose final photo was good, but I don't know that it was really the Best... wonder if Tyra would have changed her mind if she had chosen at panel instead.)
  2. Jennifer (trying her own ideas and screaming on set to get a great and powerful shot really paid off)
  3. Rae
  4. Nicole
  5. Erin (whose picture, in my opinion, should have been 1 or 2 this week)
  6. Laura
  7. Sundai (who deserved to be at the top too, this was her best shot ever!)
  8. Kara (yikes)
And the Bottom 2 came down to Ashley vs. Bianca. It's terrible to say it, but I was hoping for Bianca to be sent home. While she seems to know a lot about fashion, she could never quite deliver a wonderful or unique photograph. Her attitude stands in her way and until she can conquer her own issues, she's never going to be a top model. Tyra sent her home, giving Ashley another chance.

Next week, Benny Ninja!!! The girls will learn all about posing. I have a feeling Nicole is going to blow this one out of the water. We'll see!!
Header Image by Colorpiano Illustration