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America’s Next Top Model 8: Why Whitney is Not a Top Modelby Jenn Brasler -- 04/18/2007
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Oh, Whitney. I knew it had to come eventually, but I didn’t want it to. I liked Whitney more than any of the other girls in the competition, and I was so sad to see her go, even though I knew a plus-sized girl had very little chance of winning. Whitney tried her best, but it just wasn’t good enough. But why not? Let’s see if the Top Model Tips can shed any light.
Tip #1 is to be open to and welcome change. I guess I can’t say that Whitney didn’t welcome change, so I can’t say anything negative about her with respect to this tip. It’s just difficult to tell how she did with this tip. I think she knew what she was in for and was able to adjust accordingly. At least she didn’t come across as if she didn’t want to do anything new.
Tip #2 is to know something about the fashion industry. It’s always hard to tell exactly how much each girl knows if they’re not specifically tested on their skills. At the party two episodes ago, Whitney was able to identify Benny Medina and Beverly Johnson, so she had to have had at least a little knowledge of the modeling industry. I’ll give her a pass in this column.
The third tip says to practice walking, posing, and working on your flaws. This is one of the areas where Whitney did very well. In the first episode, she practiced her walking before going into the casting room and even meeting Tyra and the judges. She practiced her facial expressions in the mirror later, and her natural posing skills helped her win the bank-heist challenge. Whitney knew that she was at a disadvantage in the competition, especially after Diana was eliminated and she was the only plus-sized girl left, so she tried to see what she could improve in order to keep herself in the competition. It worked for a couple of weeks, but ultimately it couldn’t keep her around.
The fourth tip tells the girls that personality counts. Whitney had a great personality, and the judges loved that about her. She wasn’t wild like Jael, so she didn’t stand out as much as some of her competitors, but Whitney came across as very likable, the sort of person photographers would want to work with and designers would want to hire. Of course, modeling isn’t all about personality, but it kept Whitney around a few weeks longer than she would have been in if she’d been annoying and mean.
Tip #5 tells the girls to focus on themselves, not the other girls. This was a problem for Whitney, mostly thanks to Renee. Although we now know from Diana and Whitney’s interviews that the whole scene where Renee seemingly told them they wouldn’t win wasn’t real, Whitney’s confidence level and performances suffered after that conversation. She seemed to find it hard to focus on herself and not worry about showing up the other girls or proving that a plus-sized girl could win the competition. It’s fine to think that, but she thought about it so much that she had a hard time making sure each of her performances was better than the one before.
The sixth tip says to roll with the punches and not fight with the judges. Whitney got a lot of criticism from the judges, but she always listened calmly and never argued with them. She also took each challenge in stride, trying to do what the judges asked rather than complaining about how hard they were or how uncomfortable she was. For instance, we know from her interview with recapper Phil that she didn’t appreciate having to strip for the nude shoot, but we never heard her complain. She knew what she had to do, and she did it. I don’t think Whitney would have whined or fought with the judges no matter what had happened.
Tip #7 is to show the judges you want to win. Whitney tried hard to do this, listening to the judges and trying to show that a plus-sized girl had as much of a chance of winning as any other girl, but she fell flat. In her final panel, Nigel said that she didn’t show passion or personality in her photos. We know that passion is something the judges are big on - a model who doesn’t show that she wants to model isn’t going to last very long. Even thought Whitney talked a lot about wanting to be America’s Next Top Model, her photos never really showed that desire. No matter how much she tried to improve, the judges didn’t think she was improving, so they might not have thought she was taking their advice.
The last tip says to be confident, not cocky. I think Whitney did very well with this. She was never cocky and never bragged about her accomplishments - the closest she came was showing off the bracelet she won in the bank-heist challenge, but I think that was more cute than cocky. Whitney did have a good level of confidence starting out - she was sure that one day she could appear on the cover of Vogue, and she knew she had a chance of winning the competition - but I think circumstances such as Renee’s comments and Whitney’s own experiences in shoots made her less confident as the competition wore on. Eventually she knew that as much as she wanted to win, the odds were against her.
Once again the plus-sized girl has been eliminated from America’s Next Top Model, but I don’t think Whitney’s size contributed to her elimination at all. Even though it affected her concentration and confidence, Whitney had too many other things counting against her. She wasn’t shining in shoots, she wasn’t showing how much she wanted to win, and as pretty as she was, she wasn’t really a model. Whitney had too many little things against her that equaled up to the fact that she wouldn’t have succeeded as a Top Model. And that’s why she’s not one.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent America’s Next Top Model articles:
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 email@example.com. Jenn is now rooting for Dionne, who is at least entertaining if nothing else.
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