Last week, Elina won the photo shoot challenge and her picture was chosen to be displayed as digital art in the Top Model house with the descriptive phrases, “racially ambiguous,” “unique,” and “stunningly beautiful.” At the previous panel, Analeigh received an emotional beat-down and it shakes her to the core. Fearful of being in the bottom two again, she opens up to Marjorie and Hannah. Marjorie is sympathetic, but Hannah refuses to join the “pity party.” M calls her on her heartlessness, but Hannah doesn’t seem to care. Why wallow? “You pick up your beans and you keep rolling.” What is that, Hannah? Some quaint, small-town Alaska colloquialism?
Tyra Mail: “Tomorrow, your model dreams could end up in the gutter! Love, Tyra”
The girls meet J. Alexander at the Lucky Strike bowling alley where they practice runway walking down the lanes in high heels. Isis is the first to slip and slide, but she has a lot of oomph in her walk. Analeigh’s walk is boring and too slow; when Ms. J asks her to speed it up, she still keeps traipsing along at the same pace. Joselyn’s runway performance is EXTRA special; Ms. J appreciates the arms raised above her head and the sweeping turns but advises her to rein it in just a bit. Samantha does a good job of turning a negative into something she can work with; Ms. J makes fun of her bow legs, but Sam intends to make them her trademark. Hannah’s walk is terrible! She needs help beyond what Ms. J or anyone else can provide.
Back at the Top Model house, Hannah practices her runway walk with help from some of the other girls and seems to think it might be helping. (Psst! Don’t tell her, but she still looks really awful.) Lauren Brie and Clark talk smack about Isis, claiming she’s too mannish to make it in the modeling world. However, Isis still seems cool and confident, and friends like McKey have her back.
Tyra Mail: “You think you have this competition in the bank? You may be walking right out of it… Love, Tyra”
For the runway challenge, the girls are blindfolded and model designs by avant garde fashion artist Jeremy Scott. Held at a vintage bank, the theme of the show is opulence and cat burglary. Seventeen Magazine Editor-in Chief Ann Shoket announces that the winner and two friends will participate in an advertorial shoot wearing designs by 15-year old Russian designer Kira Plastinina (do you feel like an underachiever, yet?). Fellow guest judge Jay Manuel rains on their parade by informing the girls that the losing model will be immediately eliminated from the competition.
I guess anyone can be a fashion designer these days, right? Some of Jeremy’s pieces are interesting, like the printed fringed outfit Isis wears, while others are merely “interesting,” like McKey’s complicated set of drapes replete with a curtain rod across the shoulder blades. Hmmm... Joslyn has fabulous runway presence and Analeigh impresses Ms. J, while Samantha and Hannah flounder. Joslyn is declared the winner and she chooses Sheena and Isis to join her on her Seventeen shoot. Hannah of Sunnybrook Igloo (yeah, it’s a stereotype) is sent packing. What was the first lesson we learned from week 1, sweetie? Remember Kacey and Sharaun? Don’t be a hater!
Tyra Mail: “This competition is deep! Some will rise above and some will go under. Love, Tyra”
The next morning, Jay arrives bright and early at the Top Model house dressed as a lifeguard and wakes the girls for the photo shoot challenge. Everyone’s relieved to hear that this week’s shoot will take place right there at the house. They’re even more excited to be introduced to their guest photographer: oh-so-ultra-fine Nigel Barker! In the pool! Dripping wet! They will all be shot from the nose up with the bottom half of their faces submerged underwater.
Sheena leaves behind the softness from previous pictures and amps up the intensity this week. Jay only mentions the word, “hooch” to say that he won’t be calling her one this time around.
Jossy fails to mention that she can’t swim. But it reads all over face, at least the part of her face we can see above water. The panic makes a pretty picture, though.
Her shot freaks out Paulina Porizkova who describes it as “the headless horseman drowning in a pool of his own blood.” Wow, Paulina. Who hurt you? What nightmares do you have that cause you to see that? Nigel reminds Paulina that high fashion isn’t always about looking pretty, and Tyra concurs; it’s about pushing it to another level and getting a strong reaction out of your audience.
Tyra loves the mystery in her eyes. The arms extended above her head and the intertwined hands are gorgeous! Ms. J thinks they look like swans.
As with last week’s swimsuit challenge, Isis spends the entire shoot too concerned about hiding the goodies – so much so, that she allows it to hamper her whole performance. Too bad, because all anyone can see is the top of her head anyway. Jay instructs her to watch the droopy eyes but it doesn’t work. During judging, Paulina points out that Isis’ arm looks more important in the picture than her eyes, which defeats the purpose of the shoot. Paulina is also disappointed that Isis seems to be trying so hard to fit in that she’s become forgettable.
During the shoot, Nigel asks Clark what’s on her mind; she responds that she’s imagining herself lying on a bed. You go, Clark! If I were in that pool, I’d have been flirting with Nigel too. Well, whether it was flirtation or plain old-fashioned fierceness, it works. Nigel thinks she’s the only model to “smile with her whole body.” The rest of the panel also love her picture.
Paulina claims that she would’ve liked McKey’s shot a whole lot more if her hand didn’t look like a big club rising out of the water.
Her control freak nature takes over again and she struggles to let go during the shoot. She gets wrapped up in too much thinking and freezes when asked for more variety. Tyra calls her one of the weakest this week and gives her constructive criticism to counteract her hooded eyes: to prevent the meaty brow ridge from hiding her eyes, she should’ve gone straight down into the pool rather than angle her face forward.
She really steps up her game and finally lives up to the judges’ expectations by using her athleticism to her advantage. She poses her legs above the water and looks incredible, like a ’40s pin-up sea nymph.
On set, Jay is impressed with how strange and unique her poses are. Tyra says there isn’t another model working now or over the past five years who can work their hands like Samantha can. However, guest judge Jeremy Scott is still so disgusted by her performance during the runway challenge that he overlooks how good her picture actually is. He gets mighty heated that she apparently disrespected his clothing, and he describes her walk and end of catwalk pose as a cross between a truck driver and a stripper! These fashion types can be a little self-important, sometimes. Okay, all the times.
After deliberations, Clark is declared the winner. Bottom two: Isis, for fading into the background, and Samantha, for insulting Jeremy Scott. For all the potential she possessed, I’m shocked to see Isis leave so soon. To me, it was not her time to go. She had real heart and guts to take part in this competition, so congrats to her for opening the door for other transgendered people to break into mainstream fashion.
Next Week: The girls get frustrated by Marjorie’s insecurities, but M lashes back – she almost, kinda curses! Plus, the beauties pose with a real beast, and I select my top three.