Remember how there was a riot during the New York auditions for Cycle 13 — excuse me — Le Cycle 13? Well, if you wondered in particular why such tiny women could be so full of hellfire, then I’m sure you got all of your answers in last night’s two-hour premiere of ANTM. Let me tell you all something right now: shawt bitches be crazy.
The diminutive hopefuls all gathered at L.A.’s Biltmore hotel to be cut from 32 to 20 to 14 who would continue on in the hopes of become America’s Next Top Model, but first they had to endure a faux casting session with the “normative” modeling industry, only to be interrupted by faux French Tyra who pronounced, in her approximation of a Parisian accent, that this season would give short girls a chance that they normally wouldn’t get in the modeling industry just because of their height. The short girls rejoiced, and then spilled out a sack of crazy all over my TV.
A sampling of insanity:
- Amber the Jesus Freak is straight-up insane. I have no problem with her love of the Lord, but it’s pretty clear that she’s got some kind of personality disorder, what with the screaming, histrionics and random-ass dancing. When she posed before panel in her grandmother’s hat (great hat, but TOO DAMN MUCH for an audition), Mr. Jay called her affected. And that says a lot coming from a dude with ice blonde hair. I’m also terrified about her commitment to scream about celibacy.
- Courtney straight-up broke her foot during a cheer competition and came to this audition in crutches. There is nothing more inappropriately funny than seeing a girl in a bikini on crutches, donning heels and trying to be high fashion. Priceless.
- If Amber weren’t enough crazy, there’s also Sundai, who is sporting a giant weave made out of what I assume is roadkill and hails from Bakersfield, CA. This chick is insane in ways I can’t even begin to describe.
- Amber announces that she dances for the homeless. How does one dance for the homeless, exactly?
- I like Lesbian Lulu a lot. She’s a little saner than the others, but still crazy enough to tattoo her girlfriend’s name on her chest. I appreciate her sense of humor, though, as she’s already thought of modifications to make to that tattoo should she break up with her girlfriend.
- But I adore Nicole. This redhead is exactly the kind of crazy I like. First of all, I can’t believe she’s only 18 as, in her space cadet way, I believe her when she says she’s more mature than her competitors. What are some other things I like about her? Well, her nickname is apparently “Bloody Eyeball” due to a childhood affliction. She can’t sleep and gets up to paint (pretty well, I might add) at 3 a.m. and she carries her stuff to school in a wheelbarrow. Nicole, please move to Seattle and be my kooky fabulous friend. Thanks.
- A quote from super-insane pixie Raven, which I will be using at a job interview someday: “I don’t really have any experience, but I’m cute.”
- Amanda from Louisiana lives in a trailer with her husband and roommates. They do not have a bathroom. This girl is really something, isn’t she?
- Not one, but two animal castrators! One a farm girl who reminds me of a blonde Felicia Day, the other an upper middle class Bohemian who lived on an island and worked on a farm and her tan.
- In addition to two animal castrators, we heard three stories of abuse. I feel for those ladies (Bianca, who cut her hair defiantly after her boyfriend beat her; Sundai, whose mother beat her and she ended up in foster care; and Rae, who was abducted and raped), but what, really, does this have to do with modeling and their desire to model? I’m all for sharing your stories and using them to shape who you are (as Rae seems to achieve), but somehow including them in the audition process of ANTM seems a little exploitative. Save that for the Tyra Show, ladies!
Ultimately, Tyra chose a Top 14, consisting of:
- Jennifer, the Only Asian One
- Erin, about whom I have nothing to say
- Rachel, of the Doe Eyes
- Kara, the Dillettante
- Lulu the Lesbian
- Ashley, who was plucked from the Tyra Show audience
- Brittany the Mathematician from Livermore, CA
- Courtney the Cripple, whom I shall henceforth refer to as Crutchy or Crutchney
- Nicole of the Bloody Eyeballs
- Amber the Jesus Freak
- Laura from Kentucky
The Chosen 14 were sent off to Melrose Avenue and fetched by the Jays for the next round of competition. Mysteriously, Amber the Jesus Freak never appeared and Tyra informed them that she had to leave the show for personal reasons (how . . . nebulous . . .) and that Lisa of the Threaded Brows would be taking her place in the competition.
Immediately, the girls were given makeovers, which I presume is for my benefit so that I don’t forget what any of them look like. The fabulous Sally Herschberger was there to administer the haircuts and Tyra explained her plan for each girl via the Tyra-strator, which is just kooky enough, but way less scary than Magic Mirror Tyra.
- Brittany had her blonde hair dyed dark, presumably so no one would confuse her with Anna Paquin. I heartily approve.
- Erin went ice blonde, and it turned out better than I’d expected.
- Nicole gets her red hair amped up with some saturated color and a crazy-ass giant weave. It is fierce.
- Rachel goes dark brown, which is a good change for her.
- Jennifer gets her hair cut only slightly shorter. I deem this not nearly enough change.
- Sundai gets a Rhianna bob. It’s good times.
- Lisa gets her hair cut slightly shorter. This is also not enough change.
- Crutchney gets her dyed redder and cut shorter. She now has a Kim from Cycle 5-ish do. It is super hot.
- Lulu gets a straight weave and bangs. She now looks like a cute version of Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Flavor of Love 3.
- Bianca gets her eyebrows bleached. She isn’t happy, and I really don’t know how I feel about this.
- Rae gets her blonde hair iced out. It looks great.
- Laura gets highlights, which are fine, I guess.
- Kara also gets highlights and I am indifferent to them.
- Ashley gets a straight black weave with a center part. This makes an immediate dramatic improvement.
With the exception of Bianca’s reaction to her bleached eyebrows, no one was unhappy with their makeovers and everyone looked very pretty. Dare I say these girls acted professionally? I guess everyone’s crazy goes away a bit when you’re getting an $800 cut from Sally Herschberger (who looks fab with the long shag, by the way).
The girls then headed to their new house, which was funhouse themed because, you see, short models are basically children. For some reason, Tyra’s production people stole mannequins with colorful hair from the Limited Too and put them up around the house, as well as funhouse mirrors and, strangely, an ostrich statue. They were then given a Tyra Mail from the Bankable Productions vault that instructed them that their next photoshoot would somehow involve babies (i.e. make them go “gaga”).
I know my husband disagrees with me, but I find that there’s something inherently disturbing in our cultural infantalization of grown women. And here, not only is Tyra putting these women (if I can call them that, as the median age of the contestants appears to be 18) in a childish funhouse, but the photoshoot actually asked them to model in editorial recreations of their baby photos. Outside of the context of the shoot, many of these photos turned out beautifully and the women in them looked like women. But there were certainly others that didn’t transcend the context and ended up being portraits of grown women pretending to be babies . . . or, in one case, looking like an adult baby at a fetish party. I know that this was meant to be in fun, but I just can’t help thinking that asking adult women to emulate the way they were as children is harmful to women in general. I think it’s also got a little bit of sexualizing childhood to it, which is simply not okay in a world where six-year-olds can buy thongs. I’m sorry, guys, but sometimes I just can’t turn my brain off the way Tyra wants me to. So this photoshoot was a little bit offputting.
Furthermore, at panel, the judges hid themselves behind their own baby photos, and it was most disturbing to see Tyra’s baby picture positioned above adult Tyra’s legs. So wrong. So creepy. Not unlike some of the photos:
- Rachel: Her baby photo showed her holding a red purse, so that’s what she did in this picture. I liked this one, but Miss J was right to note that she had one super freaking koala foot for a hand here. It was good, but not great.
- Ashley: I just don’t like this shot of her melting into a couch. I can’t get past the ookiness of an adult woman in a romper in such a vulnerable position.
- Brittany: In her baby picture, she was innocently eating a pixie stick. As an adult, I am pretty sure that pixie stick is full of heroin.
- Jennifer: She was buried in the sand in her baby photo, and her editorial rendition produced one of the best shots of the day as she lay across the sand, looking sexy, but not slutty, and still very regal. If I saw this picture in a magazine, I’d buy whatever perfume it was for.
- Kara: I do not like the transition between her baby cabbage patch photo and her adult one. I think this was an art direction failure, not necessarily a modeling one.
- Rae: Her baby photo showed her at the barre, so for her adult photo, she donned eight-inch fetish ballet heels and draped herself so elegantly that she produced easily one of the most ethereal and beautiful shots of the day.
- Sundai: Sundai’s baby photo was of her clutching plastic cups in a droopy diaper, so they styled her in some diaperesque underwear and asked her to pose with giant plastic strollers and kegger cups. This was, by far, the worst photo of the day. A complete stylistic failure, it was like she was an adult baby waiting to be assaulted at a frat party. And her modeling couldn’t save it.
- Lisa: She had to be a little clown, and received some of the best photo styling of the day, but unfortunately couldn’t wear that costume. Tragic, because this picture could have been awesome. Her clown neck ruff is so amazing that I want it.
- Nicole: This crazy bitch was so fibbity fab fab in her harem pants that I’m calling her crazy face for the win right naw.
- Laura: This ended up being a lovely beauty shot of her, posing with a baby doll (meant to emulate her baby sister), but the dead dolly in it was really disturbing.
- Bianca: Eh.
- Erin: I liked her shot, but I also don’t remember it today.
- Lulu: The styling of Lulu’s shoot was even more offensive than Sundai’s, as she posed in a romper with pig tails and pouted, but I ultimately liked this shot.
- Crutchney: She produced the most artistic shot of the bunch, staring at herself in the mirror like a baby narcissist.
Callouts: Rae, Nicole, Jennifer, Ashley, Courtney, Erin, Lulu, Rachel, Laura, Kara, Brittany and Sundai, leaving Bianca of the Rotten Attitude and Lisa of the Threaded Brows in the bottom two. Ultimately, Lisa was booted because she has no personality whatsoever, where Bianca’s stank attitude is, at least, a personality.
- Miss J was never a child, but, like Athena, sprang forth into the world, fully formed. At least, that’s what his lack of a baby picture told me.
- Guest judge Chanel Iman had nothing at all to say. What a waste.
It’s not that I disagreed with my wife’s assessment of the disturbing nature of the infantilization of women. I just shooshed her because I wanted to see what kind of crazy was happening onscreen. You do not talk over Mr. Jay, foo’!