By admin|Thursday, April 28, 2005 | 12:59 am | 19 Comments
While I love that the entire season of America’s Next Top Model has taken place in Los Angeles, it does deprive us of one of the greatest parts of the show, and that is watching the models as they travel. These girls have no clue what they are talking about when the background is American culture. And while it was nice when I had to augment everybody’s knowledge Los Angeles (some appreciating it more than others), it would be even better if we got a wonderful “I eat Japanese, I love Panda Express” type of moment. So when I learned that the remaining six top models would be traveling to an undisclosed location, I could barely control my excitement.The Deadly Sins shoot was a decent concept, but I thought the pictures were so very underwhelming. The new Tyra mail for this week asked the girls who was ready to get wild. Tyra is usually very transparent with her punny messages, so we were all expecting that some sort of wildlife would be involved. We were proven correct and the girls met Miss Jay somewhere in the Valley for some up and close with some animals. Jay said that he was going to bring out three animals, and they were going to have to learn how to mimic that animal and pose like that animal.
Everybody loves the animal segment of every show ever produced, but a lot of the girls were quite apprehensive about being part of the animal segment. They were less excited about learning from the animals and more worried that they were going to eaten alive. Luckily, some of the young ladies had a plan. Take Christina for instance. If she was in danger, she had the perfect plan. She would turn around and run, because that’s what she does best, and thank God she’s fast.
Now, I understand that Christina may be unfamiliar with animals, but I can’t think of one person who has ever recommended running away from an animal out to get you. What sort of animal did she think they were going to pose with, a manatee? Christina was soon desponded to learn from the two animal handlers, Jet and Eric, that the last thing you wanted to do was run away from an animal. It would be as useless as trying to beat Star Jones to a Krispy Kreme when the “Fresh Donuts” sign is lit up.
The first two animals were a leopard and a cheetah, and things went off without a hitch. The tiger sound a little hungry as it stared at Jay Alexander, but probably decided it didn’t want the aftertaste from all the makeup he wears. The last animal to come out was a bear, and I know it was a bear, but did this bear ever have a slobber problem. But despite a little foam at the mouth, each girl was given a chance to have the bear eat a marshmallow out of their mouth.
I like dogs, but I really never understood the pleasure people had when their dog licked them all over the face. Yeah, yeah, a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human mouth, yada, yada, yada. I’m sorry, your dog doesn’t floss, or brush it’s teeth before it goes to bed – you don’t have to make out with it. And this bear? Are you kidding me? I am surprised Kahlen was the only one who didn’t see anything wrong with going lip to lip with a bear. Then again, there are some pretty bad kissers out there. This bear seemed to know what it was doing something you can’t say about a lot of humans out there. (BTW, when I mention bad kissers, I must mention this girl one of my college roommates dated. Her name is SS, and she kissed like a fish (dead fish actually). There Matt, now everybody knows, are you happy?)
After getting their pecks in with the bear, they were all told to pose like each of the animals. The producers did a really good job of finding shots of the animals that really looked like the shots of the girls as they were posing. Overall, this was kind of a lackluster event. It was raining outside, and it looked like Jay Alexander wanted to get his weave out of the rain as soon as possible. In the end, Brittany won because she used her face a lot and projected the most animal instinct of all of the girls. She got to pick two girls for her prize, but before we learned what it was, Tyra came out. She said that the girls were going to pose with some lions in the caged off area behind them. The girls barely had a chance to get scared, when Tyra gave them the actual suprise – they were flying to Africa.
Immediately, everybody started jumping around, very excited that they would get to go to Africa. I was thinking that they should hold off their excitement until they knew exactly where they were going in Africa. This is not like saying “You’re going to Jamaica”, depending on what part of Africa they are sent to, they might have to be wary of (in no particular order), ethnic cleansing (Sudan), ebola (Angola), meddling dictators (almost everywhere), and even polio. The only places I would be more worried about traveling is Baghdad (obvious) and India(they still report cases of the plague every year). As it was, I was a little too paranoid, and the girls learned that they would be going to Cape Town, South Africa, and Tyra joined them in their little impromptu celebration.
Our models weren’t going to see their loft again, so they packed up everything and got on a plane to South Africa. For those of us who are Amazing Race fans, we got a very nice little plane travel graphic. I think it added a nice touch, even though it made it seem like there was a direct flight from LAX to Cape Town, which I don’t believe is the case. It was so funny when I saw it, I had to share it with you(notice the great background music):
Click on the plane to play
And just like when the Amazing Race made it to South Africa, we were greeted with file footage. It didn’t seem like it was a straight lift from the South African Tourism Board like the CBS producers gave us though. The girls seemed to be really enjoying themselves, well, except for Michelle. She has never really fit in with anybody in the house. She doesn’t really relate to anybody, and although the girls don’t pick on her, nobody goes out of their way to hang out with her, and I am sure that affects her mindset tremendously.
Still, if you want your team to like you, you need to have some people skills. While Keenya and Brittany are making jokes in the van, Michelle is trying to help them learn proper South African etiquette, like not pointing. Maybe you could have a conversation with Naima about the difference between culture and I am sure if you had a mobile or some wind chimes, you could get Kahlen to talk to you forever, but Keenya and Brittany are not the ones you try and engage in deep conversation.
Everybody eventually made it to a game preserve, and when they got there, the drums started playing. Brittany was really getting into it, and was trying her best to look good at dancing. In fact, everybody got to dancing at least a little bit. The rhythm didn’t get to Michelle though, and she sort of just sulked at one end. We all know how badly she wants it, but she lets it consumer he so much she can barely function. Tyra bounces in (and do I mane BOUNCING in), and she begins to fill everybody in on how South Africa is an up and comer in the world of high fashion with everything from traditional dress to haute couture. After a little more explanation, Tyra bounces off, and left the girls to go on safari.
Safaris are cool, even if it is just Busch Gardens. When you are actually going out into the African bush, it is something special. The girls got started and the first animal they saw was a hippo. The guide mentioned that a hippo weights almost two tons, to which Kahlen said “That’s the same amount as Keenya”. Keenya was one of the bigger girls coming in, and I am not sure if she was confident with how she has been placing in the competition, but she has really let herself go, and it’s not like she is struggling eating right and can’t keep the weight off, she is simply pigging out all the time. Kahlen is so reserved, it was funny to see her make a joke, and just as funny watching her get so embarrassed after telling it.
The contestants went through the Safari using an vehicle that was pretty much open on the side. That was fine as they were going through the areas with the crocodiles, rhinoceroses , water buffalo and such, but when it came to go through the area with the lions, you could tell the girls wished they had a little more protection. They were told by their guide that they should be quiet and not make any sudden movements for fear of attracting the lions. That was practically an invitation for Brittany to make loud noises and sudden movements. She was having fun scaring all the other girls, and was enjoying listening to them say “Shhhh” whenever she said so much as a whisper. Then the lions started taking notice, and some of them were motioning towards the truck. Everybody was dead serious, but the truck got away and they were able to finish their tour without too many problems.
Until this time, we had no clue what Brittany’s prize would be for winning the Los Angeles portion, but the girls found out soon enough. They stopped their travels in the middle of the bush somewhere near a camp site. Brittany, Christina, and Keenya would get luxury hotel arrangements, while Kahlen, Michelle, and Naima would get to sleep outside, AND they had to build their own tent. With Michelle and Kahlen on their side, the outdoor stuff wasn’t all that hard, and while they others did get to sleep in actual beds, it appears the hotel was clean, but not THAT clean. There were bugs and roaches all over the place, and they even had to clean their hot tub from critters.
Everybody met up for breakfast, and Keenya continued to pig out. She says she is a fan of carbs, but she seemed like she was a fan of anything. But for all the shit she was getting from everybody else, she didn’t seem worried. The girl who won from Cycle One had a little bit of a weight problem, so it’s not like Keenya couldn’t overcome it.
Keenya might have wanted to adjust that attitude when she learned of the next shoot. They all met Jay Manuel in a vehicle I can only describe as the Safari popemobile, and learned that they were going to be doing a shoot for Lubriderm and they had picked out an animal that they each looked like for the picture. Kahlen was a springbok, Christina an ostrich, Brittany a giraffe, Michelle a zebra, and Naima a cheetah. Oh, what about Keenya? What animal did Jay think she could portray? An elephant. Ouch! It would have been easier to be a hippo. After receiving a gluttony sin and an elephant photo shoot, you would think that Keenya might get a hint.
In addition to having to pose with some Lubriderm, the girls had to pose with a crocodile. As dangerous as it sounds, the cro looked almost drugged. It didn’t move at all. Perhaps it was just trying to stay warm in the sun, but it didn’t even flinch when Kahlen fell on top of it. This was a great shoot, and although everybody still needed a lot of instruction from Jay in terms of their bodies and faces, it seemed like there was going to be a bunch of strong pictures, and that was the case. Since there are only six, I’ll include all of them:
I had a feeling it was going to be between Michelle and Keenya, they have just been talking about both of them too much for that not to be the case. And although Keenya was doing her best to eat her way out of the competition, Michelle seemed like she was determined to out worry everybody until they died. Again, she wanted it so bad, but her body language said she didn’t want to be there. Naima even asked if she was feeling alienated while everybody was at dinner. Michelle couldn’t even come up with the obvious answer to that question. Not a great way to integrate yourself within the group. Sure, it’s hard to express your feelings sometimes, but this isn’t the second week. Almost everybody is friends, and Michelle would have to get used to having everybody around. And while I think most of the reason why people don’t like her is cattiness among everybody else, you do get more friends if you look like you want to be around.
For the judging, the girls were told they would get a chance to pose with five different objects, each representing a different emotion – anger, fear, aloof, passion, and happiness. They were told to use the props in helping them display the emotion. Anger was easy, and a lot of people got fear, happiness, and passion, but aloof was a disaster, and the judges were not interested in helping them at all.
In the end, we got a bunch of funny faces and poses, but the only exciting part was when Tyra asked Janice to help demonstrate passion to Christina, and Janice planted a big one on Tyra’s lips, then wrestled her to the floor and tried to get her to make out. In the process, she flashed everybody her bare ass. Nigel looked like he was sporting half a chub, and asked to join in. When you are good at something, things just come naturally. For Janice, drunken tomfoolery is what she’s good at. Actually, it was really great, so here is a second video clip:
Click on the two lovebirds to play
In general, the judges were very impressed with Kahlen, Naima, Christina, and Brittany. Kahlen had a great chameleon quality, and liked how Naima posed with every single ounce of her body, right down to her toes. Christina was a very good ostrich, but they are still trying to get some emotion out of her. As for Brittany, they told her that she had to be more alluring and less whoring. She went crazy to win the challenge in LA, but on camera they told her that her face looked best when it was relaxed.
That leaves just Keenya and Michelle. Keenya got a lot of shit for her weight. Tyra always advocates being healthy, but this is the modeling business and “you’ve got to fit into the clothes”. She emphasized that they had to do a lot of retouching in the stomach, something that would never happen for somebody so young and experienced if she was on a real shoot. You have to be supermodel to let yourself go, and Tyra let us all know that she put in her dues, and now if something happens they’ll retouch. I guess all that IBS has her slightly bloated.
Michelle’s problem was not her look. The judges loved her features, but she is just always on the verge of breakdown. She can barely take it on the photo shoots, looks miserable during the rest of the time, and breaks down no matter what people say during judging. In the real world of modeling, she would have to get a lot tougher to make it.
The judges ended up choosing Keenya. They said that it would take a miracle to save either one of them from their flaws, but they felt that Keenya had a better chance. Michelle wasn’t one of my favorites, but I was rooting for her as the underdog. Sure she had no business with a lot of those hot girls, but when the camera found her at the right time, she took some of the best shots of the group. If she wasn’t such a basket case, she probably could have made it farther. As it stands now, I don’t think she is going back to wrestling.