We try our best to stay on top of things here at TVgasm, but the rigors of jobs and the desire for a social life sometimes prevents us from always being ahead of the curve. We didn’t get into America’s Next Top Model until somebody suggested it, and we completely missed out on the pleasures of Project Runway despite so many people telling us that we needed to get on that bandwagon (we eventually got on it in the form of a season marathon a few weekends ago). With all that in mind, we eagerly awaited our first Top Model selection show.Selection shows aren’t usually the most thrilling to watch because you get such little information on each person, and it’s hard to read anybody’s personality with such little bits to go on. Plus, some producers feel like a reality show where people end up living together is not complete without the opening arrival to the airport montage. The show is being shot in Los Angeles, and I always to point out landmarks I recognize, but “Check out the Southwest baggage claim” just doesn’t have the same appeal as, say, “That’s where I bumped into Jason Statham on the street”. People know that these girls come from all over the country, largely because they are going to say where they are from when they introduce themselves to the judges. Unless you have two hours to start your season, you can’t waste time with things like that. Isn’t that right Phil Keogan?
The girls make it to their hotel, the Century Plaza located just a few minutes from Beverly Hills, and meet Ms. J Alexander and Mr. Jay Manuel. For those of you new to the game, they are in charge of runway and art direction. They are also not the stars of the show. Our host is Tyra Banks, and she walks in, the girls scream, and she gets to business about telling them what she is looking for. Models have to beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside, but mostly on the outside, she say. It’s a little known fact that Tyra actually wanted to create a show called America’s Next Top Philanthropist, but nobody from the Red Cross would sponsor the idea, so we got a show about models instead.
We got to some of the first interviews with our selection panel (Tyra and the two Jays), and you can tell this is going to be an interesting cast. Last season was famous early on because one girl got tossed after getting in a fight, and making the phrase “bitch threw a beer on my weave” one of the most effective, if not counter-productive, comebacks of all-time. That girl, Tiffany, was back and out to prove that she changed her life. She has a new boyfriend, she has help with her baby, and she is just a happy person. She won’t be throwing tantrums if people throw a beer in her hair, even if it is imported (the beer, not the hair).
Another contestant that jumped right out at us was Brittany. When she walked out, it at first seemed like she was trying to be one of these girls that just had to be “on” all the time, which often means they are the most fake of the bunch. I think Brittany was keeping it pretty real though, because nobody heading into a model competition rehearses the lines “I must have been a drag queen in a previous life” or “I may have a sex change, just so I can get dressed in drag”.
And don’t let me forget to mention the girl who grew up Mormon, but is now an atheist. How hard of a life must she have had. When she told her mom that she didn’t believe in God, her mom said she wished that she had said she was a lesbian or was pregnant. Coming from a Mormon, that is a huge insult. It’s like seeing somebody in Hollywood and asking them if they are from Camarillo or something.
Between our interview segments, we got to see what the girls got to do to pass the time while they were in LA. First up, the pool of course. There can never be a modeling show without plenty of shots of girls in bikinis kickin it by the pool. When the girls start playing truth or dare and we get some gratuitous nudity, all the better.
But no, the fun didn’t stop there. The girls got to go out of their hotel and spend a little time in Los Angeles. Because some of our would be models are under 21, they were split into two groups. The ones who could drink were to be whisked off to one of the hottest clubs in Hollywood. For those that couldn’t drink, they would get a special surprise. And no matter where you live, there are only a certain number of places that are open late and welcome eighteen year olds. The youngins got a chance to go bowling, and it wasn’t even Lucky Strike. We know they didn’t get to booze it up, but you have to admit that bowling with a bunch of people can be fun, as long as you don’t do it every day, and as long as you are drunk. Oh wait, that doesn’t help. These girls were going to be jealous once they heard of the exclusive place the older girls went.
That hot place in LA was….White Lotus? What is this, June 2003? I don’t go to clubs that much, but even my ass knows White Lotus is no longer on the LA hot list. You could make the argument that it was still hot when these girls were in LA and filming the show, but unless they filmed the fourth season before they shot the third season, they got to White Lotus past it’s prime. If they go to the Beauty Bar at all during this season, you know something is wrong.
So although the 21 and up crowd danced and got trashed, it was actually questionable to which group had more fun, but we still had plenty of early interviews to go through, and we soon met two people sure to make waves this season, largely because they are crazy. Brandy, also known as the black girl with the red hair, is attractive enough, even after you come to realize that her hair is not a real fro, but sewn in. But god, the gap in the teeth. Flossing with an electrical cord is not hot.
Then there was the “Lady Kat”, a black girl with short hair, sort of a wide-set eyes, and a slinky way of walking that you could kind of confuse as feline. I think she was called Lady Kat because because she was a fussy bitch. The Kat started going off on some of the roommate’s later that night. Her little outburst prompted Tiffany to give her a little advice about how being the angry black girl does you no good in this competition, although at least she didn’t throw any bottles at anybody.
There was a inexplicable little segment showing the girls running around Griffith Park trying to avoid bees, and then we got to our final round of interviews. One girl, who turned out to be a plus-sized model (only because somebody else said so – she wasn’t that big), was a dead ringer for Reese Witherspoon, and another one from Colorado talked about how she had to ride the short bus to school because people thought she wasn’t smart. Tyra assured her that there were a lot of people who were actors, models, and musicians who wrote the short bus to school. Look for every kid in a wheelchair or wearing a bike helmet to have agents by this time next week.
One of the last models we got to learn about was Estela. I was going to make fun of her because she has a slightly mannish face, and then I learned how she grew up. She was 21 and had a three year old, but she actually fell in love and got married before, and planned to have her kid. It turns out her husband wasn’t so into the marriage and kicked his wife and son out of the house, where they lived homeless for awhile. Tyra was in tears just thinking about it.
After a lingerie runway walk-off, the first cut was made to twenty girls, and those twenty then had their first challenge. Each person had to go into one of those instant photo booths, pose for the camera, and take their own picture. It was sort of interesting, but being confined to such a small space(not to mention the low quality film), you couldn’t really get an idea of what everybody looked like on camera.
The final cuts were made, and it was surprising to see who was left off and who was chosen. The homeless woman was cut, despite her great story and fierce walk. There was also no plus-sized model chosen, even after Tocarra broke new ground during the last season. Our full-figured lady was a distraught, but considering Tocarra now probably has the second best modeling career after Eva, she should cheer up a little. Also missing the cut were the Reese Witherspoon, and our short bus friend. The Kat also didn’t make it, which wasn’t all that bad because she only had one mode, and that was ALL LADY KAT ALL THE TIME. God, enough already.
Again, I think we have a decent cast. Some of the girls were really skinny, as in Angola-skinny, and looking at them walking in bathing suits made me kind of cringe to tell you the truth. Granted, I didn’t see the selection show last season, so I can’t make a comparison, but let’s all root for the models who at least have a smidgen of these “hips” that are all the rage with the kids these days. We also have a couple of moms, an ex-gang member, a pro wrestler, and most everybody seems to have a personality. The girls get their new looks next week, so there should be plenty of bitching and moaning to report for next time.
What do you think of this season so far? Who do you think will win?
PS Send me and e-mail if you think we should have an ANTM contest for picking the winners.