America’s Next Top Model 8: Top Model Tipsby Jenn Brasler & Phil Kural -- 02/26/2007
Can you believe America’s Next Top Model is entering its eighth season? The show is still going strong, and every cycle we see a new group of talented girls who all want the same thing - to be America’s Next Top Model. Before the end, though, all except one will be eliminated. What can the models do to help ensure they stay in the competition? Follow the Top Model Tips!
This season we’ve tweaked our tips a little. After seven seasons, even we have learned something about the modeling industry and what top models need to do to survive in it. Some of our rules are the same, but some have been altered and some are brand new. Models and writers both have to roll with the punches!
Tip #1 - Be open to and welcome change. This is one rule that never changes. If you’ve seen any cycle of America’s Next Top Model, you know that girls who complain about changes (especially after receiving their makeovers) are almost always doomed. You don’t like your haircut? Too bad. You should have known coming into the show that you might have to undergo a complete makeover. When you’re a model, you’re not going to look the same in any of your shoots, so you have to be ready to have a different haircut, a different hair color, or any number of changes.
In cycle 4, Michelle had her hair bleached and wound up with burns on her head, but she never complained. She knew she would have to put up with the pain, but she wanted to win, so she did. A season later, Cassandra cried over her short haircut, eventually getting so upset over the changes made to her appearance that she quit the show. She probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway, since the judges hate it when the models whine.
Last season, Jaeda wouldn’t shut up about her short hair, continually saying that she just wanted to look pretty. Her lack of confidence in her new look landed her in the bottom two numerous times. In contrast, season 2’s Catie, who also hated her “boyish” haircut, rocked her photo shoots despite not liking her look. If Jaeda had taken a page from Catie’s book, she would have learned how to make her new look work. No matter how many changes the models are forced to undergo, they have to find a way to make them work. If they don’t welcome these changes, the judges won’t think they really want to be models.
Tip #2 - Know something about the fashion industry. If you’re going to be a model, it’s very helpful to know what you’ll be dealing with in the industry. One of the reasons Yoanna won season 2 and Melrose placed second last season was because they knew a lot about the fashion industry. They knew about other models, designers, and the magazines they could be appearing in. If you want to be a model but know nothing about modeling, the judges might not think you’re really serious about your desires.
Almost every season, there’s a challenge that has the girls giving interviews about fashion or pretending to be news correspondents who have to know something about modeling and fashion. And every cycle, most of the girls fail miserably at those challenges. If they would only do a little studying before applying to be on the show, they could outshine the competition. What kind of model can’t name the supermodels she aspires to be like?
Tip #3 - Practice walking, posing, and working on your flaws. Last season this top only focused on walking, but we’ve now expanded it to encompass a lot of the things models need to pay attention to. Once the typical walking challenge rolls around, there are always a handful of girls who are criticized for not having unique walks. If you’re going to be a runway model, you have to have something that makes you stand out.
However, many of the photo shoots on America’s Next Top Model aren’t on the runway - they’re still photos. That means girls need to know their good sides and what weakness they need to strengthen in order to be the best models possible. Melrose from season 7 and Joanie from season 6 were both good at this. Melrose in particular probably spent hours in front of the mirror, practicing her poses and making sure she was putting her best foot forward. Both girls focused on improving themselves, and both came in second because of it.
Focusing on and trying to change flaws means listening to the judges and taking their advice. If a judge tells a model to work on her smile, she’d better spend some time in front of the mirror doing just that. The judges are there to give advice, and if the models aren’t taking that advice, there’s no point in the judges trying to help them anymore. Lluvy from season 4 is a good example of this - whenever she landed in the bottom two, she listened to the judges when they told her what she needed to improve. Thanks to this, she remained in the competition a few weeks longer. The judges could see that she was trying, and that made them realize that she wanted to be there.
Tip #4 - Personality counts! This tip is one of the most important. With the debatable except of Naima from cycle 4, every past winner of America’s Next Top Model (Adrianne, Yoanna, Eva, Nicole, Danielle, and CariDee) has had a likeable, memorable personality. You can be the prettiest girl in the competition, but if you’re boring or people don’t want to work with you, you’re not going to win. In addition, if the judges can’t even remember that you’re in the competition, your chances of outshining the other models are pretty slim.
Christina from season 4 demonstrates why this tip is so important. She was pretty and took some nice photos, but she never stood out from the group (except maybe for being so boring). In cycle 6, Mollie Sue was branded as boring, and it wound up being her downfall. If there’s a girl in a cycle who you can barely remember or who the judges hardly pay attention to, chances are she’ll be heading home in no time. Take Christian from cycle 7 - she was eliminated in the very first episode because the judges didn’t think she was interesting.
Of course, you don’t want your personality to be bigger than your talent. Season 7’s CariDee and Brooke both had some trouble showing the judges that they had the talent to go along with their personalities. Brooke struggled in some of her shoots, but she was allowed to stick around because she was so likable and showed so much spirit in the challenges. CariDee, however, won the season partly because of her personality. Of course, she had the talent to back it up, but if she had been more boring than the unlikable Melrose, Melrose might have won.
Tip #5 - Focus on yourself, not the other girls. Elyse. Cassie. Michelle. Bre. Jade. Monique. Every cycle we see at least one girl who can’t stop worrying about or messing with another model. If she spent half as much time thinking about her competition as she did working on her own shoots and flaws, she would have a better chance of winning.
In the first season, Elyse spent much of her time worrying about what Robin was doing instead of worrying about what she needed to do. She’s lucky she wasn’t hurt by this when it came time for panel. In season 4, Michelle spent too much effort trying to one-up the other models when she should have been trying to turn out great photos. In cycle 3, Cassie let the other girls’ teasing get to her, and she was unable to handle the pressure of the competition. Ignoring them would have helped her in the long run.
Focusing on the other girls can spell disaster in a competition where concentration is key. In cycle 5, Bre and Nicole’s granola bar fiasco could have meant doom for both of them. Fortunately, they were able to focus on their photo shoots despite the behind-the-scenes drama. In season 6, Jade wound up in the bottom two numerous times because she was so busy causing trouble and getting into fights with the other models. They didn’t let it affect them, but Jade was unable to focus on her shoots. And we all know what happened to Monique last season - her rivalry with Melrose made her completely lose focus, while Melrose was barely ruffled.
Tip #6 - Roll with the punches and don’t fight with the judges! One of the worst things you can do in this competition is talk back to the judges. The judges are there to guide the girls and help them improve, not listen to their excuses and hear them whine about why they didn’t turn out a good photo. The judges are not only there to serve as mentors and teachers, they’re also responsible for deciding who gets to stay in the competition. If you fight with them, they’re not going to stand for it.
In season 2, Camille told the judges that she had a “signature walk,” which they didn’t like. She wasn’t able to take their criticism, and it didn’t do her any favors. In the same way, season 4’s Tiffany told the judges they were humiliating her when she screwed up during a challenge. They were so sick of her attitude and excuses that they eliminated her.
Just like being open to and welcoming change, rolling with the punches means that girls need to take what’s thrown at them and try to work with it. The models will have to participate in a number of challenges, doing many things they’ve never done before. The girl who adapts and best and makes the most of the new situations will be the one who lasts the longest. This means trying hard, taking criticism well, and NEVER giving up. Which leads us to…
Tip #7 - Show the judges you want to win. Nothing bugs the judges more than a girl who acts like she doesn’t want to be there. Why remain in the competition if you don’t want to win? And why act like you don’t care if you do want to win? Modeling requires passion and a desire to achieve, not an attitude that says, “Whatever.” Girls who act indifferent or don’t show how much they want to be America’s Next Top Model won’t last long.
In addition, if a girl is feeling under the weather or struggling with a challenge, she can’t give up, no matter what. That will just make the judges think she wants to go home. In cycle 7, Monique got sick and didn’t participate in a photo shoot. The judges had no reason to think that she wanted to win because she didn’t show an attitude that said she was willing to fight to win. They promptly sent her home. In the same cycle, A.J. didn’t show as much passion for modeling as the other girls did, so the judges didn’t bother to keep her around to keep competing for something it didn’t look like she wanted.
Girls who fight through illness or difficulty are almost always rewarded. In season 4, Kahleh learned of the death of a friend just before a photo shoot that took place in a grave. She fought through her grief and turned out a great photo. In cycle 6, Danielle was so sick that she was briefly hospitalized, but she didn’t let her illness interfere with the competition. She quickly headed to a photo shoot and turned out such a great shot that the judges said they wouldn’t have even known she was sick if someone hadn’t told them. If you really want to win, you’ll fight for it, no matter what. If you’re willing to sit back and relax just because things aren’t going right, the judges are going to think you should just leave.
Tip #8 - Show confidence, not cockiness. There’s a fine line between being confident and being arrogant. Confidence means knowing that you’re talented and showing that talent, but cockiness involves rubbing your talent in others’ faces and, in some cases, being so confident that you don’t think you can ever fail. Cocky models will quickly be taken down a peg, but confident models will be praised.
Lisa from cycle 5 and CariDee from season 7 were both confident models who let their self-assurance shine through in their photos. They didn’t second-guess themselves, and that made them look like they knew what they were doing, even when they didn’t. They knew they were beautiful and talented, and that they could model well, so they made sure that they stuck their poses and gave their best photos possible. CariDee especially never let this confidence turn into cockiness - she never let herself get so confident that she wasn’t realistic about her chances of winning.
Melrose from season 7 and Jade from cycle 6 are well-known for their cockiness. Melrose at least had a reason to be confident - she took consistently good photos and did well at almost everything she tried. However, her personality rubbed people the wrong and she came across as cocky because she was a little too confident. Jade, however, didn’t quite have the talent to back up her cockiness; she kept landing in the bottom two because her photos weren’t that great. Her attitude was one of “I’m better than everyone else,” even though she really wasn’t. Her cockiness turned her into a joke and spelled her doom in the final three.
If anything, the girls in America’s Top Model 8 should have learned from the mistakes of past competitors. Which mistakes did they make that got them eliminated? And what did they do right that allowed them to stay in the competition? If you think back to past winners, chances are they followed more of the Top Model Tips than the other models in their seasons. The girl who follows these tips best in the eighth cycle will be the one who is crowned the winner.
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.