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America’s Next Top Model 8: Why Cassandra is Not a Top Modelby Jenn Brasler -- 03/19/2007
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The girls are breaking all the rules! This week Brittany, the girl who spent half the episode either crying or complaining that she didn’t feel well, won the makeup challenge and was called out first at panel. If the pattern of America’s Next Top Model had held, she would have been sent home instead of Cassandra, who was pretty and had a nice personality but was normally unforgettable. In fact, the only thing about her that I can really remember is that she had her wig sewn to her head. And after the makeovers, she couldn’t even be known for that anymore. So why exactly is Cassandra not still in the running to be America’s Next Top Model? Let’s take a look at the Top Model Tips:
The first tip says to be open to and welcome change. Cassandra handled this tip pretty well, trying hard to adjust to life as a model and the fast pace of the competition. She also accepted her makeover well, stating that she loved her new hair. Cassandra was obviously very happy to be in the competition, and she seemed to welcome every new experience as something she could learn from. She knew she would have to try new things, and she did them without complaining.
Tip #2 is to know something about the fashion industry. It’s unclear what Cassandra knew about fashion and modeling, though we know from her interview with RNO recapper Phil that she had already signed with a modeling agency before her time on the show, so she probably had at least a little experience. Personally, I thought that Cassandra could have won the makeup challenge if she hadn’t been eliminated for being late, so she may have had experience in that aspect of the industry.
Tip #3 tells the girls to practice walking, posing, and working on their flaws. Cassandra let us know in the first episode that she had practicing posing and walking, but at her final panel, the judges told her she needed more practice. Even if she had practicing walking and posing, her posing still wasn’t up to their standards or what they were looking for. As the judges said, she should have spent some time in front of a mirror before her final shoot.
Every photo shoot is different, and just because Cassandra had practiced before didn’t mean she would be able to use the same poses in this shoot. Plus, this time around she had a completely different hairstyle, and she may have needed more practiced to “work it.” The judges often tell the girls to work on their eyes in photos, and some time in front of a mirror would have helped Cassandra work on that and possibly help her stand out from the other girls.
The fourth tip is that personality counts. Cassandra had a nice enough personality, but she was still pretty forgettable. In a competition like America’s Next Top Model, it’s not enough just to be a nice girl who people seem to like - you have to stand out. Right now, I see Brittany, Jael, and Renee standing out the most, and for very different reasons - Brittany because she keeps doing so well, Jael because she’s wild and crazy, and Renee because she’s so incredibly annoying and never shuts up.
Cassandra’s personality needed to be more than just sweet and nice. She needed to overshadow the other girls in order to be memorable. However, she did have one thing in her favor - she wasn’t boring. Even a tiny bit of personality is better than being utterly boring. (Are you listening, Diana?)
Tip #5 says to focus on yourself, not the other girls. This didn’t seem too difficult for Cassandra. Even in the midst of the drama unfolding in the house (funny how Renee is always involved in whatever drama is happening, huh?), I don’t remember seeing her getting involved in any of it. She knew she was in the middle of a competition and couldn’t afford to be distracted by any of the other girls. She knew she needed to focus on her own performance in challenges and on shoots in order to shine in the competition.
However, focusing may have actually hurt Cassandra. In the makeup challenge, Cassandra was going for perfection so much that she missed the time deadline and was eliminated. She was so intent on getting her makeup perfect that she forgot the other aspect of the challenge - be back in ten minutes or you’re out. Her focus needed to be split, unlike in the rest of the competition where the girls needed to focus just on themselves, and this led to the loss of a challenge she could have easily won.
The sixth tip says to roll with the punches and not fight with the judges. On, TV, we didn’t see much of this with regards to Cassandra, but in her interview with Phil, she mentioned how difficult it was to keep up with everything going on while only getting a few hours of sleep every night. In that way, Cassandra did pretty well rolling with the punches. Despite being tired, she still tried her best in every challenge and at every shoot. She also knew better than to use lack of sleep as an excuse for why her photos weren’t as good as they could be. She never talked back to the judges and told them that she wasn’t performing well because she was tired.
Tip #7 tells the girls to show the judges they want to win. Cassandra obviously wants to be a model - she’d already signed with an agency before coming on the show, and she said in her interview that it’s something she still wants to pursue - but the judges didn’t seem to see much passion in her. As I mentioned above, she didn’t practice as much as she could have, and that would have been an easy way to demonstrate that she really wanted to be America’s Next Top Model. Cassandra just didn’t do or say anything to make the judges feel she really wanted to win.
The last tip says to be confident, not cocky. A lot of confidence comes through in one’s personality, and since Cassandra’s personality didn’t shine much in her photos, it would be hard for people to see that she was confident. That’s not to say she wasn’t confident; we just don’t have any indication of whether or not she was. It’s easy to tell which girls are confident (Jael and Sarah) and which aren’t (Diana and the departed Samantha), and Cassandra didn’t give me vibes either way.
When it came down to Diana and Cassandra in the most recent panel, I was sure Diana would be eliminated because she was so boring. However, Cassandra was eliminated because she just didn’t have what it takes to be a model. She had potential, but as we know from this show, potential means nothing if you don’t have the skills to back it up. Cassandra didn’t work enough on her posing or on standing out from the other girls in order to give the judges a reason to let her stick around. Hers is another case of a lot of little things adding up to something big - Cassandra just wasn’t what the judges were looking for, and that’s why she’s not a Top Model.
Jenn Brasler is an Assistant Editor of Reality News Online and an aspiring writer from Falls Church, Virginia. By day she works for a court reporting firm, and by night she’s a spy for a covert branch of the CIA. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jenn is at a loss for what she’ll have to write about Brittany if she doesn’t win, as Brittany has already bucked two or three of the Top Model Tips.
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