Continuing down the road of terrible episode titles, we got “Take Me to the Photo Shoot” this week, which would have been clever, if the photo shoot involved aliens, but didn’t, so it wasn’t. We actually got a two-shoot episode, though which was kind of neat. The first Tyra Mail told the girls that “a Top Model knows how to be direct,” which lead them to a challenge in which they acted as creative directors for one another, posing in Southpole Jrs. urban chic street hip hop fashion wear clothing designs. (I just felt like using a lot of words to describe a brand that I don’t think had much of a look going for it.) If the budding little Miss Mr. Jays did well, one lucky winner would be rewarded with a fashion spread in Seventeen. What strikes me about this particular challenge is this: knowing the tension between Tyra and Mr. Jay, I felt like asking the girls to do his job was, in some way, her means of erasing him, or at least reminding him of his place in her empire. Let it be known, Mr. Jay, that Tyra could replace you with a model at any minute. Step it up, or resign yourself to hosting Canada’s Next Top Model.
On the other hand, though, it was a good idea for the girls to see what it’s like to direct their sorry asses on a shoot, as well as style and edit their sorry asses. The experience clearly proved valuable for Lemur Allison, who learned enough human language to make an amazing picture of Aminat. It was, however, completely unappreciated by Aminat when she was directing Natalie, as her poor time management led Mr. Jay to snap at her. She was all like, “It’s so not my fault,” and he was all like, “Bitch! Please! You just dumb!” And, despite all that, Anne Shoket from Seventeen somehow thought that what I felt was the worst-looking picture in the bunch was actually the best Seventeen cover-type photo of them all, with Natalie looking listless with her arm over her head, in jeans so whiskered around the thighs they actually made her look like a normal-sized girl. Celia put out a great photo of Fo, except she chose a final shot where the girl’s ankles were cut off, and so Teyona, who directed Celia, won, particularly because she demonstrated good styling techniques, which, amazingly, had nothing to do with Celia herself. For the Seventeen shoot, Teyona brought along her model Celia and her friend Aminat, which apparently angered Fo a little bit, who thought Teyona was her bestie best bestie.
The Tyra Mail for this week’s actual photo shoot suggested, “You haven’t had too much R&R – maybe it’s time for some R&B.” And so Mr. Jay woke all the girls up at 5:30 at the asscrack of dawn and brought the styling team to their abode for hair and makeup – because that’s how real Top Models do it. Then Ciara showed up and they were informed they’d be posing with her in their photoshoot, as crazed fans wound up in her microphone wires. Or, as photographer Mike Ruiz explained, “The metaphor is that you’re tangled in Ciara’s web.” Um, actually, Mike, it’s not really a metaphor anymore when you are literally tangled in things that are attached to the person entrapping you. Poor London had issues with this shoot because she’s gained 15 pounds over the course of the competition, which, to a model, is the equivalent of 100. She was feeling badly about it, but then Mr. Jay felt the need to talk to her about it. He did so gently, but, still, it’s not like she wasn’t aware after last week’s Joe’s Jeans incident. It is somewhat disconcerting that she gains weight so quickly, as this competition is really only, like, 2 months long. To gain 15 pounds in 2 months is a significant amount of weight, but if she’d had that weight on her when she started, no one would even make a deal of it. I still think she’s pretty and takes a fierce photo, even if she’s allegedly model fat now. And so the tragedy of weight-related issues in the fashion industry continues . . . sigh.
At panel, Tyra brought back her damned Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness, this time dishing out the advice that music always helps a model find her groove. Apparently, nearly nude male models carrying Brazil nuts also helps, because after a drawn-out segment where Tyra ate said nuts and tried to guess what they were, it was announced that six of the seven beautiful girls standing before here would join them on a plane to Brazil. The ensuing celebration of Brazilianness seems very scaled back this year, which I assume is due to the economy. They could only afford two Brazilian flags, cheap maracas from the Oriental Trading Company and some paper confetti. Not to mention all the money they spent asking that male model to shell all of those Brazil nuts for The Goddess of Fierce. After a set PA came to sweep up the scaled-back debris, the judging began.
- Natalie: The judges say she really stands out in this picture, which I think we all know is because the stylists froed out her hair in a way that seems impossible. I think she looks a bit zaftig in this shot, as the way the microphone cords cut across her belly make her look a tad on the side of pregnant.
- Aminat: This photo is a total failure. Per Miss J, “What you needed was two cups of crazy and a pinch of insane.” Word.
- Celia: Her photo is “not classically pretty,” but she looks really hardcore in it. She reminds me of Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja.
- Teyona: Girl got a fierce shot this week, what can I say?
- London: Nigel thinks her shot is a bit over the top. Tyra loves that London smiles with her eyes in person, but wonders why that goes away in a photograph. To my dismay, Miss J immediately wonders what she’s been eating. Thanks, Miss J. You’re real fucking nice.
- Fo: Dressed like a movie star from Mexico in the 1940s, Fo delivered a shot this week that was all angles and 100% awesome.
- Lemur Allison: Finally, she delivered a different kind of face in her photo this week. Miss J wishes her body were as dynamic as her face in this shot. She then goes on to compliment her experience working with Mike, which Tyra tells her is not smart because she’s worked with Nigel and he’s sitting right the fuck there. Or, you know, they could not act like children and just listen to what the girl has to say. Whatever.
Callouts: Teyona, Fo, Natalie, Celia and Allison, leaving Aminat and London to wonder whether or not they’ll be able to journey to the Amazon. Strangely, Tyra chose to keep the girl who takes terrible photos over the girl who gained weight and sends London back home to her God while Aminat gets a ticket to the rainforest. Frankly, I would have kept London, who I think has more potential than Aminat. But I guess, as always in the world of fashion, some who is skinny but has no talent is favored over someone who looks like a normal person and has talent.
Whatever, Tyra. You’re just leaving me open to now cast London as a manic pixie dream girl in whatever Cameron Crowe rip-off film I intend to do in the future. I’d give her a small part, to be sure (like the best friend who shows up in three scene) but London’s got that gnarly little Godspell thing going on – that nifty combination when hippie meets Christianity and doesn’t bug the hell out of me – and I think that if she has the acting chops she claims, she could definitely make a cinematic impression.
And yes, wife, casting her on 90210 wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially considering she looks exactly like Jessica Stroup. Maybe she could be a cousin. Or a long-lost sibling, a bastard child from their personal trainer-banging whore of a mother.