|by Syrone Harvey
On last week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, a much relieved Coryn was eliminated from the competition. But before the feisty beauty received her walking papers, she had the sweet satisfaction of standing up against Lisa’s continuous ridicule. More than likely the words, “alcoholic bitch” still linger in Lisa’s ears.
Nik is still seething about Jayla “borrowing” her secret (I sleep with a nightlight) during the Secret Platinum commercial shoot. Oddly, Jayla’s demeanor has become rather snippy and biting. (And we thought Lisa was the lone winner of the “open mouth, insert foot” award.) “She’s angry with me and treating me poorly. That shows me right there that she’s not a mature enough person to handle the situation, and she’s not going to last long,” Jayla jeers.
The next day Tyra surprises the girls with an impromptu photo shoot that she will be coaching. The photo shoot, captured in black and white, will be natural and edgy as well as dark and mysterious. Nicole is the first one before the camera. Tyra smears a glob of Vaseline on Nicole’s cheeks, nose and forehead to give the appearance high cheekbones. “I’ve never put Vaseline on my face before,” Nicole says.
Next, Tyra moves towards Lisa with yet another glob of Vaseline. This time she rubs it into Lisa’s hair to create an ethereal kind of image. Tyra asks Nik why she is so nervous. Nik knows that her last photo shoot wasn’t all that great. The pressure is on. She realizes she either needs to nail this, or she might be heading home.
When Jayla appears before the camera, Tyra tells her to give an “I’m a baby and I’m a virgin” kind of look. Frizzy haired Bre is comfortable working under Tyra’s direction. “She gives off an energy,” Bre says.
A bra clad Kim is next. As Kim’s bra straps hang loosely from her shoulders, Tyra tells her, “Look like, I’m innocent. I’m just a baby.” Although Kim feels confident about her ability to offer a high fashion look, she worries about playing a feminine role. On the other hand, Kyle is more positive and feels with the right training and coaching, she could be the best.
The girls arrive home to Tyra Mail. Nicole immediately grabs it, reads it and then gives a squeal, “You are going to Paris tomorrow!” she says. She’s actually just jerking their chains. The message really reads, “Are you a diamond in the rough?” The girls good-heartedly fall for Nicole’s little “joke.” They settle into a silly, goofy kind of mood. “Me and Kim always joke that we’re the only sane ones left,” Kyle remarks as the girls are bouncing all over the place.
Kyle and Kim have developed a close friendship. “She’s like my best friend in the house,” Kim says. They play the “what-if” game and talk about how it would feel to move to New York to pursue a modeling career. Kyle admits she has basically planned her life around her boyfriend’s. Kim tells her, “That is not okay; to plan your life at all regarding someone else. You have to do things for yourself.” Kim has a good head on her shoulders. But Jayla eavesdrops on their conversation. She feels in order to win the competition you have to be a smart person and you can’t just feed off of what other people say. “Kyle to me just doesn’t seem like the kind of person that’s very intelligent,” she says.
The next morning the limo takes the models to Griffith Park where they are introduced to Eric Viscovicz, trainer for Camp Technique. He tells the girls they will be doing a series of obstacles. “To be a top model, you have to be tougher than your competition,” he explains.
Bubbly Lisa jumps up and down like an excited kangaroo. She is chosen to be the first model to attempt the obstacles. First she must climb over a vine covered wall and then carry (drag) a weighted dummy on to the second point. The fun part comes next. She slithers beneath a net like apparatus and through a mud filled pit. The girls are headed for a good work out and a good roll in the mud.
Jayla has a revelation. She realizes the need to work out. She says, “I’m getting older and I’m gonna get fatter, but I really don’t think this is the way to go about it.” On the sidelines, the waiting girls cringe as the other competitors wallow around in the mud. Bre, Kim and Kyle manage to make it through the obstacle course although Kyle doesn’t appear to be as into it as the other girls.
Prissy Nicole struggles to clamber up the wall. She grapples with the dummy and barely makes it through the mud. “I’m going to barf. That was so nasty,” she whines. She should take a lesson from Nik. As Nik scales the wall, her sweat pants drop to her knees, exposing her butt. She giggles then pulls them up, only to have them droop down again, and again and again. Yet she continues through the mud. She maintains her happy go lucky attitude even with a wardrobe malfunction.
Eric hands the muddied girls a message from Tyra which says, “You’re dirty you’re grimy, you’re stinky, you’re smelly; so today you’re gonna have to fake the funk.” The girls wonder what they might be in for. Kim doesn’t mind a little dirt and grime as long as it gets her closer to the top. The grungy, smelly models head off in their plastic clad limo and arrive at an unknown destination in L.A.
Surprise! They meet Ellegirl Magazine editor, Brandon Holley who reveals their first challenge. They will undergo a mock “go see” where somewhere beneath the caked up mud their natural personalities are to shine through. When Brandon asks how Bre feels, she says she is certain her pictures will come across as confident and assured.
Lisa is asked what she would bring to the cover of Ellegirl Magazine. Lisa comments on how the girls on the cover all have the same smiling expressions. “My smile would be like this,” she says, showing off her teeth. Nik is asked how she “dares to be different.” She responds by saying she likes to have fun whether it’s playing in the mud, getting into things or messing things up.
Jayla says her taste in music sets her apart from everyone else. The editor agrees. Nicole admits she wasn’t thrilled about the mud, but did okay even though it was a little smelly. “I’m surprised that Ellegirl would even want to talk to our smelly butts,” Nicole remarks. Kyle, the small town girl feels comfortable speaking with the editing team of Ellegirl Magazine.
Kim says her style is in the way she expresses herself, including her sexuality. Brandon wonders how Kim would react wearing a super frilly girlie, girl outfit. Kim replies, “One of the main aspects of modeling is being really versatile.”
With the “go see” finished, the girls return. “The winner of this challenge,” she says, “will get to have a one on one lesson with a fashion industry expert on how to model. They feel Lisa showed great energy. (Lisa beams.) Jayla acted as if she was under a lot of stress and seemed ready to crack. Bre showed a lot of confidence but unfortunately, it didn’t come across as well in her Polaroid. Nik needs a little more energy. Nicole shows an American Sweetheart type of look which appeals to a lot of people. “Kim,” Brandon says, “is tough and has developed her own thing, but she has to be willing to change things up a little bit.” Kyles’s Dairy Queen persona is also appealing. But although she is striking and has great bone structure she needs to improve her range of expressions in front of the camera.
They declare Lisa as the overall winner of this challenge. She will receive a personal, one on one fashion crash course. This leaves Kim feeling confused. “They told me I was fantastic but as usual my posing wasn’t perfect in the pictures so they chose Lisa. I personally think she is the least pretty out of everyone here.” (Good thing Lisa wasn’t within hearing distance.) Lisa is thrilled with her win.
The grungy models head home, eager for a shower. Kyle admits she is feeling somewhat depressed that she didn’t do as well as she had hoped she would. Meanwhile, Lisa arrives for her one on one session with celebrity stylist Todd Hallman. Lisa will have kind of an edge over the others, with Todd critiquing her walk, her style, her fashion etc.
At home, all the girls except Jayla race for the showers. A mud-caked Jayla plops into bed. Walking by, Kim says, “Jayla I can’t believe you didn’t take a shower and you’re sitting in bed.” She casually answers, “I have a towel down.” Kim says, “Gross. That’s disgusting dude. Take a shower before you sit on my bed.” Jayla feels Kim is a little too sarcastic about things. She surmises Kim must feel she isn’t doing too well based on her attitude. True, Kim is feeling a little bummed about the outcome of things, but her sarcasm could be caused by her stinky roommate.
Lisa gains more insight on walking, posing and maintaining proper care as a model. She is hopeful her personal session with Todd has given her the upper hand. Todd feels Lisa is amazing and has a lot to offer, especially her piercing eyes.
Tyra Mail arrives. It says, “Vroom, Vroom. Be ready tomorrow at 8:15 a.m.” The girls guess their next challenge will somehow deal with cars. The girls take a little time to get prepared. Kim and Kyle sit outside. Kim eats while Kyle plucks her eyebrows. Kim is concerned about the upcoming challenge; she’s worried that in each competition she is barely hanging on by a string. She is determined to do better. Her goal is to rock at least one challenge or do well at one photo shoot.
The girls arrive at what appears to be an auto showcase. This week they learned about inner confidence, and how it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it. Jay says to the girls, “We’re going to ride that fine line between sexy versus sleazy. Tyra is the master of this. She knows how to work it.” The models will do a shoot for Ford Fusion, a super hot car. The emphasis will be on being grown and sexy. The girls will become modern versions of a 40’s pin up girl. The eventual winner of ANTM will have their photo placed in an ad for Ford Fusion.
The girls get dolled up. Since this is a girlie and more feminine type of photo shoot, Kim is feeling very uneasy. The air is filled with fashions of the 40’s. From fishnet stockings, bright pink lace up boots to tightly bound corsets, the girls eagerly anticipate this unique photo opportunity. Rob Talty, the hair stylist, works with a coppery red colored wig for Kim. He is surprised at how girlie and pretty she is.
Photographer, Richard Dean has a potpourri of 40’s style talent to work with. The girls are clad in sassy yet sexy colorful fashions. The corsets prove to be an obstacle for some of the models since they’re tight and restrictive making it difficult to breathe. “If you feel like you’re going to pass out, let us know, okay?” Jay says.
He is totally surprised by Kim’s photo shoot which turns out to be very feminine and sexy. Nik feels hesitant about her shoot after Jay noted how she struggled at the beginning.
Kyle is beautiful. Jay compares her to Ashley Judd. Nik watches and admits she feels nerve wracked because Kyle appears so gorgeous. Jayla, always the hater, says, “Everyone says Kyle is so beautiful, but I really think that Kyle lacks a lot of depth. I really think she has next to no personality.”
Tyra Mail arrives reminding them of tomorrow’s meeting with the judges. To blow off some steam the models head to Venice Cantina, where they enjoy some chill time and a night of dancing. Everyone is getting into the fun, except for Kyle who is feeling apprehensive about tomorrow’s judging. Because of her bad photos Nik also worries she may be heading home.
The girls appear before the usual panel of judges, including Richard Dean as a guest judge. “You’re all looking mighty sexified,” Tyra greets them. “This week you all learned about looking sexy versus looking sleazy and having confidence from within. Today I want you to visually express what sexy means to you.” The girls head to a room filled with a variety of clothing. They have 3 minutes to select an outfit and model what they consider to be sexy.
Lisa appears before the judges wearing a simple white tank top and jeans. Twiggy and Nigel both feel Lisa portrays sexy well in her simple outfit. Nicole walks out wearing a black, table cloth looking dress. She tells the judges she is wearing a sexy black dress. Ms J gives a buzz of disagreement. Tyra says Nicole’s look isn’t working for her.
Bre enters wearing a casual outfit of loose fitting shorts and a simple t shirt. “Sexy is being yourself,” she explains. The judges agree but suggest she take down her hair which greatly improves her sexy look.
Kyle walks out in a washed out looking shirt and a short, sassy skirt. The judges aren’t pleased. Nigel feels Kyle isn’t thinking. Twiggy doesn’t like the shirt. “You’re not selling it,” Tyra says. Next out is Jayla wearing a casual black and white striped halter shirt combined with skin tight, relaxed jeans. The judges feel that her casual look nails the sexy look they want to see.
Nik walks out with a cute black dress, and her hair pulled back in a coiffed bun. But, the judges feel she isn’t giving an impression of sexy by the way she isn’t selling the outfit. Kim comes out resembling a preppy, sassy tennis player which meets with the judges’ approval. The judges review the two photo shots of each girl. They share a mixed bag of critiques.
Bre’s natural photo shoot comes across beautifully. But her pin up photo isn’t embraced. Nik’s pin up shot appears a bit athletic. Nicole’s photos are wonderful. Tyra says, “I would’ve liked to have seen you give us little subtle variations.” Nicole responds, “I feel like I’ve definitely picked it up. I feel like I am way over one step over.” Tyra corrects her and says, “There’s one thing that my mother doesn’t like. When she’s telling somebody something and they quickly reply, “Ok, ok, ok.” It’s defensive and you do it every single week and it’s not likeable and you’re a sweet girl.” Nicole smiles, grits her teeth and says, “I’ll work on it. I really don’t realize that I’m doing it.”
Kyle’s natural photo shoot has a beautiful outcome. Tyra feels she needs to “know” she can be beautiful without trying so hard. Although her pin up shot is great the judges feel she has so much more potential than what she is showing. “Don’t worry about the competition. Trust your own power.”
Kim is the last model before the judges. They are amazed at her pin up photo. “It’s beyond amazing,” Tyra says. Nigel feels for the first time Kim has shown a side they haven’t seen before. They are all very pleased. The girls are excused as the judges deliberate their decision. Twiggy feels the choices are becoming more difficult. Kim has been taking what the judges have been saying into consideration and applying it to her shoots. Kyle is up and down, but her inner picture seems as if nothing is there. They don’t feel she is showing it. Nik lacks self confidence. They wonder if she may be intimidated in front of the cameras. They recognize Jayla appears to be taking more risks. Nicole has strong potential. But she has a teenage adolescent thing going on. Bre has a lot of spunk but she isn’t showing Top Model quality. On the other hand, Lisa appears a little old but has a good grasp of the shoots.
The girls return and stand before the judges. The judges had a tough time reviewing 2 photos of each girl. Kim is called first. “You know you rocked this week,” Tyra says. Lisa is called next, then Nik. Tyra tells Nik she needs to be sexy and supple. Jayla is called, then finally Nicole. Bre and Kyle are the last models remaining.
“One of you we feel wants this so bad. She has studied modeling more than most of these girls. The judges behind me see a sweet pretty girl who might do well selling commercial print modeling, but they’re not sure she could sell a Chanel Couture gown,” Tyra says looking at Bre.
“Then the judges look at you and we see someone with all the potential in the world. She may have the best body here, the tallest girl here, the face that can be in commercials, that can be edgy but we see a girl who just might be stuck in her hometown. We see someone that’s stuck being pretty and we’re not sure you can be a palette that can be painted on and be transformed.” Tyra addresses a teary-eyed Kyle.
“So one girl with all the wants … I have to be this, and I have to be America’s Next Top Model; and another girl the judges think ‘strong looks, not enough'”, Tyra says as she pulls out Bre’s photo. “This one picture breathes strong potential,” Tyra explains. Kyle is chosen for elimination.
Kyle looks almost stunned. She sobs as she embraces the other girls. “I really thought that I was going to stay. I know I have all the potential in the world, but I just didn’t know how to use it. I definitely thought I was going to go farther than this. It hurts my feelings a lot that they didn’t see that I was improving cause I really did feel like I was. So it hurts. It’s hard to see it all go. I mean, I’ve been living here for so long now that it’s like, this is life. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I go home now. It’s weird.” She says as parting words.
The competition is slowly dwindling down. This has so far been a journey of disappointments, self discovery and growth. For many, this competition is simply the first step of walking this magical path.
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