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America’s Next Top Model 7: Why Melrose is not a Top Modelby Jenn Brasler -- 12/12/2006
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Melrose was considered the villain of cycle 7, despite her insistence that she never did anything bad to anyone and didn’t deserve their disdain. Indeed, though Melrose wasn’t always likable, she didn’t set out to hurt anyone. She also demonstrated that she had a ton of talent, which kept her out of the bottom three after the first week. So why didn’t Melrose overtake CariDee for the coveted title? Let’s look at the Top Model Tips to find out.
The first tip is to be open and welcome change. Melrose had the sort of attitude that allowed her to attack every challenge in a positive manner, so she did very well with this tip. If the judges had told her to club a baby seal, hang upside down from the Golden Gate Bridge, and yodel in order to win, Melrose probably would have done it. She was so determined to win that she knew she had to do everything thrown at her, and do it well. She had no problems with new experiences (well, except going blond, but that’s another story).
Tip #2 is to know something about the fashion industry. Melrose did better with this tip than any of the other girls. She not only studied fashion in school, but she made a lot of her clothes (and as we saw in the clip show, the girls’ stylists liked what she’d made). This didn’t quite give her the upper hand over the other girls, but I think it may have been one of the reasons she was chosen for the show in the first place. A model needs to know designers, and Melrose proved that that wasn’t a problem for her. If the girls had been quizzed, I have no doubt that she would have beaten everyone.
The third tip tells the girls to practice their walks. I don’t remember seeing Melrose practice, but knowing what we know about her, she was probably working in front of a mirror for hours every day. We only saw her walk a few times, in the cobblestone challenge (in which she didn’t do very well) and in the pool challenge (in which she did much better), but in the final runway challenge, it was obvious that Melrose had the walk of a model. So even if she didn’t practice earlier in the competition, she still got to the final two and go to show her stuff when it counted.
The fourth tip is that personality counts. Last week I watched part of the cycle 7 marathon on VH1, and though I didn’t start to like Melrose more, for some reason on the second viewing, I disliked her less. No, I have no idea why. Maybe I just started to admire her for working so hard and showing how much she wanted to win. But I still didn’t think Melrose had a likable personality.
As some of the other girls noted, Melrose seemed fake; she was always eager to please the judges and photographers, and she was a good little perfectionist who always did what she was told. But that doesn’t make up a personality. I don’t think we ever got to see the real Melrose. She complained that the other girls disliked her even though she never did anything to them, but there must have still been something about her that didn’t endear her to them. And whether she was fake or not, that’s not something anyone wants to be called. If you come across fake to people, you’re not exactly likable.
Tip #5 tells the girls to focus on themselves, not the other girls. Melrose had a lot of problems with this, though she overcame many of them. From the very beginning, she caused problems with the other girls, namely Monique, that threatened to distract her from the competition. And even after Monique was gone, Melrose just couldn’t stay out of trouble, especially where Anchal was concerned. She focused on the other girls’ flaws instead of trying to work on her own performance, and she’s lucky she had the talent to keep her going. If she’d gotten too distracted by her own dramas, she might not have made it all the way to the final two.
The last tip tells the girls to roll with the punches and not fight with the judges. Melrose has the distinction of being the first girl in the competition to talk back to a judge. During the model-stereotype photo shoot, Melrose got too into her role as Diva for a Day and addressed Jay in a manner that wasn’t exactly respectful. She was called out for it, and that combined with a bad first photo landed her in the first episode’s bottom two. Thanks to Christian’s boringness, Melrose was allowed to stick around, but she could have easily been the first girl eliminated.
Melrose obviously learned her lesson, though, and after that she didn’t land in the bottom two again until the final three. She learned to adjust and go with whatever was thrown at her. Like I stated in the first tip, Melrose was so open to everything in the competition that it wasn’t hard for her to adjust to do what she needed to do. Even though she was a perfectionist, she made things work for her. She was so focused that she was able to do everything the judges expected of her, being flexible in the process.
So there you have it. Melrose lost because she’s annoying. Okay, just kidding. But as we’ve learned many, many times on this show, personality DOES count, and it counts for a lot. Not only does the winner represent Cover Girl, but she represents the show itself. The judges have to pick a girl who will make them look good, and who will embody everything they’ve tried to teach the models during the cycle. Melrose had the talent and the ability to be a model, but CariDee was more likable and more real. Her personality was what carried her through the competition, and without that same personality, Melrose didn’t have the whole package. 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. She wonders if anyone really thought Melrose would beat CariDee.
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