This is it, gang. Either Brittani or Molly will be this season’s ANTM princess. But first, it’s shiny dimple Cover Girl commercial time, and both girls are more complex than some pollyanna Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms: It turns out Molly kicked a drug addiction through rehab, and Brittani lived on welfare as a kid because of her single mom’s anxiety disorder.
After interviews with IMG VP Ivan Bart, the girls did their takes for Cover Girl Lip Perfection with Mr. Jay. Molly had trouble being the sunny girlfriend character, while Brittani delivered a friendly performance after an initial nervous take.
The photo shoot was very different from cycles past. Cover Girl is going edgy, so instead of smizing at some imaginary person above left, both girls stared icily into the lens. Next was their Beauty In Vogue shoot with photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. Pierpaolo and a Vogue Italia stylist thought Brittani was very professional, while Molly was pissy about the cold, and they said she lacked energy.
After the shoot, Molly was surprised by her parents at Dar Doukkala. She was overjoyed, but Brittani’s mom couldn’t be there because of her anxiety and recent back surgery. She was a little blue, but got to video chat with her.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic Bianca Brown gives a catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
This week Brittani gloated that Alex the “drama-bitch” is gone. Molly keeps bitching about being adopted. Lara Spencer from The Insider (poor man’s E! News) tells the models they’ll do a 90-second live shot about a fashion trend in Morocco. They were each paired with an expert on their item and had to find a English-speaking Moroccan to interview.
Brittani did a cool shot of henna designs, interviewed a Moroccan man who said “Yes" and nothing else, and was cut off two seconds before she finished. Molly was more professional with black kohl. She didn’t sign off, but wasn’t cut off mid-sentence. Hannah was bubbly about arman oil, but talked too much and ignored her expert. Molly won the challenge. Hannah got weepy and felt she won the challenge “in her heart.” Um, ok.
Tyra visited Dar Doukkala to chat with the girls. Molly cried about being adopted, Brittani revealed that her mom is agoraphobic and Hannah was just chillin’. Tyra photographed the girls with eye designs and taught them how to isolate body parts during photo shoots. Then they all did a dance with Moroccan drummers in tasseled beanies. Say what you will, Tyra Banks seems like a lot of fun.
Photo shoot on the beach! Nigel Barker shot the models in Moroccan wedding dresses complete with henna tattoos and a sexy male model named Younes. Brittani wasn’t comfy being sexy so she chose a breakup narrative and cried for her photos. Hannah tried to be Actors’ Studio, but that’s not for everyone, and her photos were a little posed.
The models are still basking in lovely Marrakech, and Alex is pegged as the surfer girl, but she’s a little (or way) too emo for that. Why does sweet Hannah never stand out? Her face is spritely and her pigtails are adorbs, but at the end of the last couple episodes, she’s been overshadowed. Bring some drama, already.
Miss J was the Ghost of TopMod go-sees, and the first stop was Vogue Italia EIC, Franca Sozzani. Over tea she glanced at each woman’s portfolio and asked about their goals and aspirations. Brittani stood out while Alex was superficially charming. Next, the girls were tutored by a bellydancer on the art of swaying your hips with a tea tray on your head. I wasn’t really feeling this, and it was a tad pointless. Later the models donned glitzy costumes and danced for a bunch of strangers. Molly tripped and frowned for the rest of her dance. Alex pulled out some moves and got a group clap going, but was overzealous and dropped her tray. Brittani improvised a cool dance and kept her tray afloat. Oh, Hannah did alright.
Brittani won the challenge and chose Hannah for her runway coaching with Miss J, who wore a rather dashing man-skirt. The girls stopped at a food stand with goat heads, eyeballs, and brains. Al Grosso! Brittani got queasy from the brains, skipped dinner, and didn’t feel any better in the morning.
Renowned fashion photographer Friedemann Haus shot the models in guest judge Daniella Issa Helayel’s designs in an outdoor market. Hannah had difficulty evoking the story and overposed. Molly performed well and Mr. Jay told Alex to chill out this time, and she was not happy about getting lectured. She didn’t talk back this week, but kept pouting her lips. Brittani did a whole Actors’ Studio thing and pretended she had arrived at her destination after the desert voyage from last week’s shoot.
At panel, Alex was finally sent home for her lackluster performance. Next week Brittani sheds tears and Andre Leon Tally is totally turned off.
As-Salamu Alaykum! It’s getting close as the models book it to beautiful Marrakech with centuries-old buildings, snake charmers, street monkeys and bazaar-lined streets. Molly thinks she’s pissy because she was adopted. Girl, that does not count as issues. They all feasted on Moroccan food and toured the fashion muse city. In designer Nourredine Amir’s villa showroom, they modeled for His Eminence Andre Leon Talley.
The dresses were heavy, sculpted couture (ya know, that fashion no one really wears). Hannah wore an evening jacket-meets-cloak cocoon dress. Kasia didn’t fit into most of the dresses, but impressed Talley by being the only one who brought heels. Talley called Brittani’s walk “the closest to high fashion” and gave kudos for not putting her hands on her hips.
The models sipped tea with Talley on the rooftop of swanky guesthouse Dar Doukkala, with a gorgeous view of the city, and found out it was their Moroccan pad. The exotic interior had patterned tiles for miles, Persian rugs, indoor pool, an outdoor shower, and oodles of potted plants.
Photo shoot in the desert! Photographer Michael Woolley shot the girls in Berber meets Europe clothes. Each mounted a camel and had Bedouin porters in the background. Molly faked a good attitude and took fierce photos. Brittani went all out and was the first to stand on the camel hump. Kasia was having some negative body issues and was awkward on the camel. Alex harried Woolley about reaching photo nirvana and was too controlling in her poses.
Guest judge was Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. Brittani’s androgynous photo impressed the panel, but Sozzani thought it looked forced. Alex looked angry in her photo, and even though Sozzani liked it, she got a lecture from Nigel and Tyra about watching how she’s perceived. Kasia frowned in most of her film and came off as uncomfortable. Hannah did alright, but Molly outshined everyone with the tension and drama in her film. She was called first, Brittani second, and Kasia and Alex were the bottom two. Predictably, Alex stayed for her stronger photos and the fiercely real model went home. Next week: bellydancing with tea trays on your head?
The girls went to the Hall of Portfolios, where Tyra taught them how to put one together. Finally, some practical advice other than smizing. A good portfolio according to Tyra has a few strong pictures showing range and ending with the best one.
The mystery country the girls are going to is brought to you by the letter “C,” and the models had to put the other letters together. Is it China? Chile? Colombia? Chechnya? It’s...Morocco! But Fierce Airlines only has room for 5, and one woman won’t make it to Marrakesh.
Go-sees! Four in four hours, deadline at 3 p.m., and the top three get an extra go-see. The girls’ drivers spoke English unlike previous cycles, but were forbidden to give directions. Molly got lost, and stopped right on the street she was looking for in confusion. The first go-see was frankie b. jeans. Molly got there last, and went off to the second meeting with House Casting rather than wait. Patience, girl. A bird in the hand, etc.
Small town Jaclyn never uses maps (not even Google?), and neither does Brittani, so both were lost most of the day. Smashbox Studios was third, and the models had to improvise gym clothes for the athletic shoot. Molly stripped down to her skivvies, and Alex ran back in a bikini and shorts. Jaclyn, Hannah, and Brittani gave up on going to all four places to make it to the office on time, and Alex made it back with 30 seconds to spare. Alex, Molly, and Kasia made top three for a meeting with designer Lana Marks. Alex made the best impression with her poses and chipper demeanor, winning an ad campaign and oodles of designer clothes and handbags. One was a $2000 clutch, a replica of one Angelina Jolie took to the Oscars in 2009.
The models headed to a landfill with nasty defecating seagulls to shoot an eco-friendly couture line. Some stood on ladders with 10-foot gowns, a look that creeps me out due to an unfortunate horror movie experience. (Can’t watch Britney Spears’ Hold It Against Me vid.) Nigel gave Brittani a pep talk, and Mr. Jay was shat on twice. Molly bitched about the birds, which Nigel frowned upon. Brittani got down on the garbage-laden ground for better shots impressing everyone.
I love Tyra’s form-fitting suits at panel. The contrast of the billowing gowns and the landfill was striking in the photos, and special effects made them look like nighttime shots. Jaclyn was chastised for missing two go-sees even though she booked the ones she went to. Molly’s pooky attitude turned everyone off at her go-sees, and she only booked two out of four. Andre Leon Talley told her she lost the Lana Marks ad because she looked “dejected” in her office.
Alex was called first wearing a No. 1 shirt. Subliminal messaging? Hannah was second for her fierce photo, and Molly and Jaclyn were bottom two. Molly stayed because the judges thought she could get over her sulkiness. Jaclyn went back to Belton, Texas for a little more maturing. Next week: footage of all the girls we didn’t see before. And there’s a schedule change, FYI.
One of our pretty contestants lost her shit this week, and it wasn’t Alex. After Monique went home, everyone wished Alex was gone instead, especially Brittani. Cue confession booth threats to beat Alex up, which no one will actually make good on. The girls then did a challenge photo shoot in the Warriors In Pink line benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation, sponsored by Ford Focus.
Brittani cried after Nigel, who took the photos, pointed out that ”I don’t think, I just do” doesn’t really mean anything. Everyone but Alex didn’t get the concept of the shoot or their basic characters, and gave blank model stares. So naturally, Alex won the challenge, and, lucky lucky, won a Ford Focus and a spot in a PSA for Warriors In Pink. The others were not having it, and while they sat on break, Brittani said Alex was the ugliest one there, that she makes stupid faces, neither of which is really true. She ended up shouting across the room, making a scene on set. It’s weird that Alex has been so flamboyantly off-kilter, but one by one, the other girls are freaking out for no apparent reason. Alex’s (probably) unintentional distractions are working in her favor.
Miss J took the models on a field trip to Universal Studios. He hopped out to take a picture in front of the Bates Motel when Norman walked out and knifed him. It turned out to be Mr. Jay, and the girls did a Psycho-themed photo shoot, with everyone mad for something fashion. Mikaela never really acted in her photos since the beginning, and with the simple task of being crazy for sales, just tossed the shiny boxes around and made zero facial expression. Hannah, who was crazy for handbags, talked about loving handbags instead of just acting it out, and got one good shot.
At panel Nigel brought up the tiff at the Warriors shoot. Brittani, instead of briefly apologizing, made a speech about how the girls hate Alex and that the judges should send her home just for that — while crying. Alex seemed upset, but didn’t respond, and Tyra lectured Brittani about how unprofessional all that is and showing respect. Brittani ran away, and Tyra nonchalantly said, “Brittani has left, but we’re gonna continue.” Brittani could be seen backstage crying and gulping down water.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic, Bianca Brown, gives the catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
This week we learned how arbitrary labels in the fashion industry can be. Tyra gave the girls a lesson on well-known models and their niches. Gisele Bundchen is labeled “sexy,” as she has been for years. As far as I can tell, she’s busty, but is tall and thin like other fashion models. She’s recently done ads for Balenciaga where her look is much more artsy, proving the sexy label is more hair curlers and bronzer than anything else. The only thing edgy about Agyness Deyn is her haircut. And the couture example looked like any girl from Victoria’s Secret.
The girls were then given their own archetypes, mostly arbitrarily. Tyra discussed getting trashed on the internet, kooky fans and setting boundaries with them. A challenge meet-n-greet followed, where the girls talked to a bunch of losers with nothing better to do than meet the Cycle 16 ANTM contestants. A middle-aged creep complete with receding hairline showed up, offering to get Monique on a “website” and pointlessly asking Alex out. She kissed him on the cheek after much pleading, which Miss J said is a no-no, as that encourages stalkers. I’ve always wondered where those people find the time to follow someone around a city all day, go to work, and sleep and eat. Kasia won the challenge, and everyone else had to clean up after their adoring fans. Way to save some dough, Tyra.
Kasia went to a hip restaurant with Brittani, Jaclyn, and Miss J, who doled out advice on dealing with the sometimes hostile public. Molly was blue about her weave, which gave her painful rashes. (I hear Sea Breeze is good for that.) Tyra is a weave empress, and doesn’t show sympathy in these situations. But the creature was finally removed.
Monique got upset for mysterious reasons, and felt she was on the verge of a breakdown. Being on reality TV must be irritating. The girls did a mud-enhanced photo shoot with blondes vs. brunettes. After weeks of getting overlooked, Brittani was called first at panel, and Monique went home for being so-so. Next week is some serious drama.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic, Bianca Brown, gives the catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
Alex took front stage again as the girls contemplate whether there’s actually something wrong with her. Molly’s weave looked trashy with visible tracks even after a reinstall, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re jacking it up on purpose.
The girls split into teams of three to shoot Covergirl commercials: writer, director and talent. Alex quickly got crabby with Monique and Molly. She ended up crying about their criticism and they gave her a group hug to get her to stop. You have to take all of the pills, sweetie. Dalya can’t act at all, and her commercial with Jaclyn and Hannah was stilted and embarrassing. Alex pulled through her shoot thanks to Monique’s babying, but Mikaela, Brittani and Kasia won the challenge.
Back at the house, Monique peeked at Alex’s diary, and read a typical teenage “Nobody gets me” page, and Alex revealed in the confession booth that she dealt with abuse in her family.
Photo shoot at the zoo! The girls modeled guest judge Rachel Zoe’s faux fur line with a jaguar cub, and Alex was weirdly giddy about it, barking during her shoot.
At panel, Tyra schmoozed with Rachel Zoe, and Andre Leon Talley told her how great she smelled. Jaclyn’s passionate pic looked like she might have been flicking the bean, which sounds pretty high fashion to me. Tyra told Mikaela to “grab on to the handle bars of fierce,” whatever that means, and Kasia doesn’t like animals, so she looked a little awkward. Brittani got five stars for her striking photo, but got called second. Maybe they don’t want to be predictable? Nervous Dalya went home for her difficulty emoting. Next week the girls learn to deal with their impending, cataclysmic fame.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic Bianca Brown gives the catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
This week the poor models had to look at pictures of Alex in the house, and she quasi promised to get her hostile act together. Sara didn’t feel pretty, (and that’s why you went on a modeling show?) and Alex said she’s going to IMG if she wins or not. She kind of has a point: why be on the show if you’re not gonna model after? But as usual she’s so antagonizing about it.
The girls wear dresses by Geoffrey Mac, who designs for Lady GaGa, in a runway challenge with Miss J. And they do it on a flaming catwalk while holding fireballs. For once they express hesitation at this stunt, but it’s actually the least stupid thus far (eh hem, live bees?...balloon capsules?). “The worst thing that could happen is that I could possibly get a third-degree burn,” Hannah said. Eh, it's worth it.
No one burst into flames, and a few of the girls played up the cool factor of holding fire. Dalya was the challenge winner and recipient of designer dresses. Miss J decided that Hannah, Kasia, and Sara sucked ass and should walk home as punishment. Hannah was really scared of the neighborhood despite being accompanied by a camera crew.
Next up the models had to memorize a script full of cheesy innuendos for a Mad Men-inspired coffee commercial. Photographer Francesco Carrozzini is fine as hell. He was also the director for the Fierce Roast Coffee shoot, for which the girls ironically wore padded boobs and booties. Sara chafed at the flirty lines because of her feminist beliefs, and Brittani (who got paired with Alex) messed up the lines and started crying. Alex pretended to care and told everyone they “leaned on each other” like sisters. I think this bitch might be crazy. She then told the crew how to light the place properly and what to shoot next, and Francesco told her to piss off. Mikaela’s hand shook uncontrollably during her and Sara’s spot, and Sara, who was supposed to coyly circle the coffee jar with her finger and flirt with the boss, scratched the lid and looked at him kinda crazy. She worried about getting eliminated in the confession booth and did a spot on impression of Tyra, “You are so beautiful. But you are so scared.”
Kasia and Jaclyn got top kudos for their commercial at panel, and Jaclyn did multiple booty drops for everyone’s entertainment. Alex and Brittani turned out to suck, with Alex being a little Basic Instinct and distracting Brittani. Kasia, the plus size model, got called first, and Alex and Sara were the bottom two. Francesco complained about Alex, and Tyra told her this was her last warning about her behavior. Sara went home, even though Tyra for some reason was really rooting for her.
This week the girls saw a giant tasseled rope that said “Pull Me” on it, and immediately started squealing for joy. I’m starting to wish they were just a tad smarter. The rope unfurled a banner with all of the makeover looks written on it. A montage of “Oh my god, I really really really want that look” and “I hope I don’t get the ‘Dutch boy” followed. Off to the salon, the hair stylists start snipping, dying, and weaving before they really tell the girls what’s gonna happen. Brittani gets the “Dutch boy,” which is actually a striking geometric bob. I bet on her as a finalist.
Monique, who’s a dead ringer for Olivia Munn, gets extensions because she’s so sexy. Or just doesn’t look like a boy. Speaking of which, Sara gets a boy cut, and is justifiably upset about it. Androgyny isn’t just looking like a boy, it’s looking like a pretty boy. I’m not sure Sara fits that bill. I would’ve gone with an asymmetrical mohawk — just something less predictable. To be fair, she’s pretty photogenic.
Alex (who everyone’s afraid of) is a brat about getting a weave, which was long, blonde, and yawny. Dominique got awesome auburn curls, and everyone else’s look was ho-hum, except for Molly’s. Her big, blonde, tight curls, are a great look, but her weave went awry and her tracks were a mess. At which Alex, the wicked one, laughed.
Stylist Lori Goldstein and photographer Pamela Hanson (whom we all know and recognize, right?) do a paired photo shoot with couture dresses. Brittani and Hannah were the best by far, with that magic you see in fashion editorials. Mikaela and Sara’s photos are totally dead, and Hanson made them walk forward just to look like something was happening. Alex was an ornery diva during her and Monique’s shoot, complaining about her swollen lip, and then shooting down Monique when she tried to chill her about it.
I dig the pre-panel clips of Tyra talking to Talley, and Talley’s grey velvet hat, which has what looks like a jumbo stippling brush in it. Alex got best photo at panel, (don’t ask me why) but what was reprimanded for her attitude. Brittani, who should’ve been called first, went third, and Dominique (the cutie with the freckles) went home for lack of inspiration.
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