America’s Next Top Model 8, Episode 1: Goodwill Huntingby Phil Kural -- 03/02/2007
Ahh, another season of ANTM. I freaking love this show! Tyra greets us, like she does every season, saying that America’s Next Top Model is now seen in 110 countries. Other countries have started their own version of the show, like Australia, China, Russia, France, and Germany – which is hosted by Project Runway’s Heidi Klum! Tyra says they are looking for girls to grow, and that is why they have narrowed the field down to 33 semi-finalists, who are being flown to LA.
The girls are arriving at the airport and we get a flash of a few of them. Melissa says that she is from the Bronx and is there to win. Another girl, Natasha, says that she was born in Russia, but now resides in Texas. Jaslene says that she is back again – if you don’t remember, she was the girl from last season that was extremely over the top, but so much fun. She’s happy to be given a second chance, and I have to say – she looks great!
Once the girls all pile into vans, they head away from the airport. They arrive at a military base and a girl named Michelene sees tents set up and gets worried. In come Jay Manuel and J. Alexander (Ms. J.) on a jeep, queening out. Natasha tells the camera that she “can’t believe [she] is seeing them alive!” I guess she was expecting them dead.
Jay welcomes the girls to “Top Model Boot Camp.” They are there to get the girls in shape and to cut the moaning and complaining now. A girl named Heather says that her dad is a drill sergeant and she is used to this. The girls are told to change into their camo outfits.
Jay begins barking out orders to the girls once they are changed. They begin posing, and he’s yelling things at them. Jael says that she is there to model, not to cure cancer, as we see a girl named Sarah win the “mini-posing competition” and get a medal.
Now, Ms. J. begins taking the girl’s measurements. Chelsea says that she is scared of what the judges are going to tell her, while Whitney, a plus-sized girl, feels that she can walk the runway with the best of them. There is another plus-sized girl there as well, Diana, and she thinks it’s great that there are two plus-sized girls there, and she doesn’t view Whitney as her competition. Well, you better start!
The girls do a march and chant a little rhyme that includes “ANTM,” of course. Finally, when they are at ease, Tyra comes stompin’ down the road! Whitney says that her mom was a Sigma, so she knows all about stompin’. Tyra tells the girls that from right this instant, she can see potential in some of the girls, and some who are going to go home. It is their job to prove to her that they deserve to stay, as she will meet with each of them.
All the girls assure Tyra they can handle the truth, and on that note, Tyra tells them not to bitch – they aren’t looking for that, and that she’ll see them in the casting room. As she heads out, Renee says that Tyra might come off as tough, but she could tell that she cares for every one of them.
The girls now get to the meet the judging panel for the semi-finals: Tyra, Jay Manuel, and Ms. J. Kathleen is up first, and she has a very big orange/red weave. She’s shocked and can’t believe she’s meeting Tyra. All she keeps saying is, “Tyra, you’re so pretty!” She says she’ll do anything to win, but the only modeling experience she has is strutting around Brooklyn. Okay, I love this girl!
Sarah is next to meet the judges, and Jay tells Tyra how she won the posing challenge. Sarah tells the camera that she’s a photographer and knows how to pose. [Assistant Editor’s note: Sorry, Sarah, we already have a CariDee.] Then she adds that nobody can hold a candle to her. She loves the industry, and whenever she wants something in life, she goes for it and gets it. Okay, I thought I was going to like this girl from the previews, but I think I was wrong. Ms. J. thinks she is cute, though.
Cassandra is up next, and she’s in a crazy outfit. She lets the judges fix her up a bit, then she tells them that she had a wig sewn onto her head because she’s “ghetto like that.” I have to admit – that’s pretty ghetto! She says that she wants to be fierce and has always been made fun of because of her height.
Heather meets the judges and tells them about her drill sergeant dad. The judges ask her to bark out some orders, and she yells at Jay to do some push-ups. When she tells Ms. J. to do the same, he says that he doesn’t do push-ups, but he’ll pose. I love it!
Natasha tells the judges about her move to America, which apparently happened when she decided to marry a 40-year-old American who was on a business trip in Russia. Oh dear God! She feels that there are no opportunities for her in Russia, and she feels American now. Jay says that he likes her in person and feels she looks much better than she did in her photos.
The girls are back at the hotel having fun. Kathleen accidentally flashes her boobs when she goes to show that she actually has some. Have I mentioned yet that I love Kathleen? Sarah goes on and on about how much experience she has in the industry and Natasha tries to debate her about it. Things get a little heated, but Natasha tells the camera that she knows she can beat them all anyway, so it doesn’t matter. If you say so!
Michelene is the next girl to meet the judges. She has a ton of makeup on and the judges rip some flowers out of her hair. She says that she knows a little about fashion but wants to open a magazine and see a girl with as many tattoos as she has. The judges ask her how many she has and Michelene responds with, “Last time I counted, around 20.” How do you forget how many you have? I’ll say this – sometimes tattoos can be hot. Michelene has too many for it to be considered hot anymore.
Samantha, the country girl, is next. She’s just a small-town girl who admits to being a little insecure because she is missing a tooth in the back of her mouth. She has never modeled before or walked in front of people. Apparently she must hover or crawl in front of people. I like her, though!
Melissa is up next from NYC. She says that she’s not there to be second or third – she’s there to win! The judges inquire about her hair and why it looks a little ragged. Melissa tells the judges that a friend actually borrowed her weave, but when she found out she was going to LA, she demanded it back and sewed it back onto her head herself. The judges look mortified, and I can’t stop laughing! On top of it all, she actually shows the camera how it’s falling out as she pulls out some of the tracks and holds them up. I’ve officially seen it all! When she leaves the room, the judges comment that she has a strong face but is very short.
Dionne is a student, mom, pianist, had a pet tarantula, favorite food is spaghetti, favorite color is blue, and a whole bunch of other things! She talks forever and you can tell the judges are getting annoyed. They do eventually cut her off but don’t get any real information out of her. Man, this girl can TALK!
Natalie tells the judges that she is a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn and loves the movie Dinner at Tiffany’s. The judges get a kick out of that as Natalie backtracks and says, “I’m sorry, is it brunch?” I’m not going to say a word.
Saucy Jaslene is back and ready to see the judges! She says she is more confident this season, even though she was cut last time. Tyra says that she doesn’t feel that Jaslene is as crazy and fun anymore, and might be boring. Jaslene assures them that she is still a spicy Latina. They tell her not to do the catalogue pose that she did last year, and we see Jaslene do her walk that she says she does 24/7. I like her just as much as I did last season, but she does still remind me of a drag queen.
Jessica is from Inglewood, CA and ready to do something different with her life. She tells the judges that she can have a temper sometimes, as the judges go back and forth with her yelling at one another. This makes no sense.
Renee is a 20-year-old mother from Maui. She’s living in Palm Springs right now, though, since her husband is looking for work? I didn’t understand the way she explained it. She tells the judges that her husband and son are her world, and that she’ll take no prisoners in the competition. I kind of like this girl!
Back at the hotel, Kathleen tells the girls that she’s a farter and a belcher. All the girls chime in with their dirty habits and Cassandra says she’s from Seattle, so she doesn’t care what people think. Natasha gets involved, though, and tells the other girls that they should be ladies at all times, passing judgment on them. Renee tells Natasha that she is done with her being a know-it-all, and she won’t take her crap. Good for you, Renee!
Whitney meets the judges and tells them that she has a good head on her shoulders. She went to Dartmouth College and succeeded there, where she was in the minority. Now, with the other girls, she’s in the minority again, being a plus-sized girl, but she doesn’t think she’s fat – she’s gorgeous. I agree!
Jael knows that she’s not the hottest thing in the world, and she doesn’t follow the beat of any drummer. She looks white, but her mother is actually African-American and her dad is German/Jewish. She doesn’t know what she considers herself when the judges ask her, so she just says, “American.” Makes sense!
Diana is another plus-sized girl. She tells the judges that she wants to be the first plus-sized girl to finally win the competition, feeling that it would be a good statement to girls everywhere. The judges grill her about her childhood, and she reveals that she used to be a lot skinnier, but when she gained weight, her father came down on her. Finally she had enough and told him that he can’t talk to her that way. She doesn’t want to be stick skinny – she’s happy with who she is.
Felicia, from Houston, meets the judges and tells them that the other girls there have been calling her “Baby Tyra.” The judges feel she has a little bit of Beyonce going on. She’s not intimidated by the other girls, but she has her eye on a few. She says that Jaslene and her walk are something to watch, along with Melissa and her looks, but the rest of the girls? They’re just fun to talk to!
The judges have now talked to all the girls and it’s time to make a cut. Only 20 invitations are in a room behind Jay, and he says that those 20 girls will need to get ready for a party that evening, where their photos will be taken. There will be 13 girls without a photo. The Jays set the girls loose in the other room and they begin looking for their invitations. Kathleen sees hers and does a happy dance. So do I – I love this girl! Heather finds hers as well. Natasha can’t believe she made it, and Melissa says from this point, it’s on!
Jaslene finds her invitation and says that she’ll be the first Latina to win. Whitney is happy that she got her invite, but also happy that Diana, the other plus-sized girl, got hers as well. Michelene (the girl with all the tattoos) doesn’t get a photo. She’s angry that Jael got her photo because she thinks she is fake. Bethany, a girl we haven’t seen yet, feels bad that some girls didn’t get their invite, but after all, this is a competition!
Once the trash is taken out (kidding!), the girls arrive at the party, where we see Jermaine Dupri. They all do a little posing at the party for the camera, all knowing that they have to do well. Whitney knows that it’s in the air from this point. I love that we basically got no footage from the party except for Whitney posing, Jermaine Dupri, and Natasha dancing like a slut. Big deal!
The judges sit down to discuss which girls will make the final 13. They feel that Brittany has a great boot camp shot and they see potential in her. Cassandra has a great look as well to her.
Whitney looked great at the party and they love that she is so comfortable with herself, while Bethany has some issues with her posing and they aren’t sure if it’s something that can be fixed. Jay Manuel thinks that Felicia does have a slight resemblance to Tyra, and all three agree that Heather would be great for catalog modeling.
Everyone feels that Kathleen worked the camera at the party, and I have to admit – her pose is GREAT! It reminds me of cycle 2, and Mercedes’ Steve Madden photo pose. Melissa, with the re-sewn-in weave, has a great face, and while Jay Manuel defends her, it doesn’t seem like she’s a favorite of Ms. J. He thinks she is too tough looking.
Tyra thinks there is something devilish about Samantha, and the three think that she resembles a younger Janice Dickinson. Jaslene is back with a vengeance, but they think she is actually holding back a little bit!
It’s time to make the final cut. Tyra gathers up the girls and tells them that this is the eighth time she has done this, but it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, this is the hardest part. The first name she is going to call, and the first girl who will be in the house, is – Natasha! She is followed by Kathleen, who screams because she is so happy, and I’m just as thrilled. I’ve never loved a girl so quickly on this show like Kathleen – you just want to root for her!
Sarah is called up next, followed by Cassandra. Renee is the next girl called, and she’s crying – a lot. Samantha is called next and she has a look on her face that reads, “There is no way in hell I thought you would ever pick me.” Get more confidence, Sam!
Dionne is called next, followed by Whitney. At this point Diana looks like she knows she won’t make it since Whitney did. Brittany is the next name called, followed by Felicia, leaving only three girls to be called.
The next name called is Jael, who feels it’s necessary to turn around and tell the other girls that she loves them all. Jaslene is called next and she is in utter shock. She even does her catalogue pose again. Only room for one more girl!
Now, of the remaining girls, we have Heather, the girl whose dad is in the military; Melissa with her re-sewn weave; Diana, the other plus-sized girl; and Bethany, who we’ve seen a few times but don’t know much about. The last girl called is – Diana! So for the first time in ANTM history, there will be two plus-sized girls in the running. Diana looks shocked and begins to cry. Of course.
Tyra tells the other girls that they do have potential. Melissa says that she’ll go back to NYC knowing that she should continue to pursue modeling since Tyra liked her so much. I really liked Melissa! Heather says that she wanted this, and it’s heartbreaking that she isn’t getting a chance. The other girls do their happy dance and Diana tells the camera that she and Whitney will represent. Kathleen can’t believe she made it this far, and she plans on winning. I hope she does!
The final 13 girls walk down the street in LA. Sarah says that she has modeling experience and is ready to win. Okay, Jade. Jael wants to win, but wants to be friends with the other girls, too. Shut up, Jael. Wow, I’m queening out already! Kathleen says she is there to learn, and wants to be shown how to model. Aww, I love Kathleen.
A motorcycle rolls down the street carrying that queen, Jay Manuel. Jay says that one of them will be America’s Next Top Model, and then he gathers them up and runs them to a studio. It’s already time for the girls do to their first photo shoot! For this shoot, each girl will be making a political statement. Even if the girl doesn’t agree with the view she is given, it’s her job to sell it. Here is what the girls are assigned:
The girls will also have a special photographer for this episode – Nigel Barker, who is also one of the judges on panel! The girls go in the back to get ready and Renee says that she has the most determination of the group. She’s excited to do this for her family. We see Jael complaining in the back room that she has a cold and fever, hoping that it doesn’t affect her shoot. Oh Lord, here we go – the excuses begin!
Brittany is up first and she is pro-fur. Nigel says that she has an air of arrogance about her, which is exactly what he wanted. Kathleen, who is anti-fur, says that she actually likes fur and thinks people look pretty in it. She has some problems posing and Jay demands from her that she give high fashion. Kathleen is understandably confused since she has never modeled before. Nigel thinks that she can’t embrace or understand what she is doing. Kathleen feels that she had problems but brought it together in the end. I really do like this girl!
Jaslene goes next and is pro-death penalty. She gives it her all and looks great, while her opposite, Sarah, shoots for life in prison. She tells the camera that she has worked with other photographers in the past and they all praised her. Nigel is actually surprised by her, though, feeling that he didn’t get too much out of her.
Diana is pro-gun and says that she believes guns are good for protection. Jay doesn’t feel she really committed to her shoot, and when you don’t give 100%, you can tell. Meanwhile, Jael is still sick and bitching in the back. Does anyone care? Yeah, me neither. Renee does her anti-gun shoot and says it’s hard for her to portray a hippie and be so peaceful when she has her child on her mind at all times. Okay, Renee? You are going to have to get over that for the time being!
Jael is pro-life and won’t allow being sick to affect her. She knows that her nerves hurt her though in her shoot, and says she felt like she was going to pass out. So she goes to the back with the other girls and says that maybe using a hula hoop will help. What?! Renee wonders what the heck is wrong with Jael, especially considering that she was just “so sick.” Sarah adds that one second Jael is sick, the next she is fine. She doesn’t get it.
Natasha is pro-choice and she prefers not to be involved in politics at all. She really has no clue what is going on, and to be honest, I don’t think she’s as pretty as she acts, although I do enjoy her accent!
Samantha and Whitney are for gay marriage, and although Whitney has been exposed to such things, it’s hard for Sam to relate since she’s such a Southern girl. They do a good job, though. Felicia does her shoot for straight marriages, saying, “Oh, I love men!” She seems a bit stiff and Nigel feels she didn’t do enough during the shoot.
Dionne is the vegan, and they have her dressed in fruits and veggies. It’s actually kind of corny looking. Nigel wishes she would have had more fun, while Cassandra, who is a meat eater, dos a great job with playing with the chicken and burgers on her set. Jay thinks that the girls did an okay job, but for the most part fell flat across the board. Really? I think some did okay!
After the shoot, Jay tells the girls that he got some pretty weak shots and the girls really need to step it up. The girls shake their heads and Jay sends them downstairs, where their limo is waiting to take them to the house.
Looks like the house is even bigger this year! The girls go running in, and the theme of the house is the girls from previous seasons. Each room is themed after one of the winners (not once do I hear them mention cycle 1’s winner, Adrianne). There is a pool, of course, and a runway for the girls to practice on. In one room, Jael and Renee are talking and Jael says that she loves Renee because they are such opposites but get along so well. Whitney cries on the balcony because she can’t believe she made it this far.
The next day, the girls take some pictures of one another with their digital camera. Kathleen says she likes the other girls, but they are still her competition. Jaslene tells the camera that Kathleen is probably one of the most outspoken girls in the house. Ugh, I don’t know why I love Kathleen so much already! She’s such a breath of fresh air.
The girls are now sitting around talking about all they have done in the past. Sarah goes on about how she wants to model, act, and be a photographer. Renee feels that Sarah is a bit full of herself and brags all the time. She tells Sarah that there are tons of girls who would kill to be on the show just to be a model. Sarah scolds Renee, via the camera, saying, “How DARE you tell me I don’t want to be here!” I’m so over Renee AND Sarah already!
Tyra mail! It reads that one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, and Kathleen knows she’s going to have to do something with “crap… or stuff people throw away.” You can’t script these lines.
Ms. J. meets the girls at the Goodwill with Phillip Block, stylist to the stars. He tells them that there are some great things at the Goodwill, and they do wonderful things for the community. Their challenge will be to work the store and find the best look for themselves. Ms. J. and Phillip will be watching the whole time and they only have three minutes. On that note, he sets the girls loose like a pack of lions on a herd of gazelles!
Jael says that she is good at wearing clothes that tell a story and that she shops at thrift stores all the time. Renee says there aren’t many thrift stores in Maui. Kathleen says she rocks in thrift stores as we see time wind down. The girls are all dressed up and Ms. J. tells them that, guess what – they are doing a charity fashion show! Cassandra can’t believe it. On top of it all, there will be an auction for each outfit. The girl who brings in the most money for her outfit will win the challenge and get to sign the check for the Goodwill, which all the proceeds from the auction will be going to.
The girls begin the show, and Phillip Block is doing commentary, calling Kathleen a “hoochie with a twist.” She feels she rocked it. Renee is up next and Phillip says that maybe she’s a trendsetter. Dionne has on some flood pants and Brittany is compared to a tomboy. Ms. J. doesn’t like her outfit at all. Felicia has a big winter coat on and Jaslene STOMPS down the runway. That girl has a walk if I’ve ever seen one!
Diana does a good job and Sarah says she isn’t scared of the runway. Whitney has a little red suit on but I don’t really care for it. Samantha goes with a leopard print and Phillip says she’s the “call of the wild.” Jael has a few splashes of color and Ms. J. really thinks she made it work. Cassandra is ready for a day at the beach. And with that, the girls do their final walk – the first runway challenge has been completed!
The girls are gathered for the results. Ms. J. says that they raised $286.50 altogether, which is really good. It is? I feel like 13 outfits should raise more than that! Anyway, the winner, whose outfit brought in the biggest bid, was – Jael! Jael says that she did her best, and Renee tells the camera that the only reason Jael won is because she always shops in thrift stores. Jael signs the check and asks the girls if the still like her. Renee, who is officially a “Jael-hater,” feels that Jael might be acting like she’s such great friends with everyone, but she knows it’s not real.
When the girls get back to the house, Renee finally confronts Jael, telling her that she can’t always be happy and expect everyone to be such great friends. Jael tells the camera that her relationship with Renee is now very stressful, especially since they aren’t going through the same thing, what with Renee having a child and all. You think? Thank goodness Tyra mail arrives. It says that tomorrow the girls will meet with the judges and only 12 will be moving on.
My new favorite, Kathleen, says that you never know what’s going to happen in front of the judges. She feels like the person who goes home first doesn’t really have a chance to compete. In another room, Jaslene comforts another girl (I can’t tell who it is) and tells her not to worry about the judges. It’s out of their hands.
Sarah tells the camera that she is ready for some eliminations and other girls to start going home. Renee talks about how irritated she is with the other girls and how well she wants to do. I really want to like Renee – I really do. She’s making it hard, though.
It’s time to meet the judges! The girls walk into the judging room where they are waiting. First, we have photographer Nigel Barker. There’s Ms. J. Alexander and his snarky comments… and Twiggy. Tyra also reminds the girls of the prizes, which include:
This week, the girls had a very controversial shoot – they needed to make a political statement. Jael is up first. The judges congratulate her on the challenge win and Jael admits that she was nervous that it would change the way the other girls look at her. They look at her photo (pro-life) and feel she had a pretty face and looked attractive, but was trying to be an actress. Jael goes into her song and dance about having a fever and Tyra simply tells her to pull it together. That’s right, Tyra – no excuses!
Natasha steps forward next, and the judges feel she blended into the background in her photo more than actually popping out – there’s no connection. Dionne was the vegan and the judges like the strong face in her photo but don’t think she really gave enough to get the message across – it was just “good.” Cassandra got the message across, though, and they can tell she loves meat. Okay…
Renee is up next with her anti-gun photo. The judges feel she gave a great shot, but they all looked the same. Renee admits that she was scared, and it might have come across as timid or nervous. She is constantly thinking of her son and knows she can do better. Diana is praised for her posing and moving around, but the judges think she looks dead in the face.
Kathleen is up next and she tells the judges that she was anti-fur. When asked by Tyra what her view is on furs, Kathleen says that she “isn’t for animals being killed for fur, but if they are already dead, there’s nothing wrong with making a coat out of them – if they died of natural causes, like humans.” I laughed again just typing that. Twiggy looks horrified and says that fur coats aren’t made from animals that “just die,” and she’s very anti-fur. Shut up, Twiggy. Kathleen doesn’t know!
Tyra says that Kathleen didn’t really understand the concept, and Kathleen agrees. It was explained to her, but she didn’t want to seem slow. [Assistant Editor’s note: Is it that difficult of a concept to get? It’s not exactly quantum physics.] Tyra tells her that if she doesn’t understand something, – ask! They aren’t crazy about her photo and seem to move on quickly.
Brittany was pro-fur and Twiggy loves the mood of the photo. Ms. J. would have like some extra shoulder. Whitney and Samantha step up next and Samantha says they were both fine with the concept of their photo. Nigel says that they didn’t really listen to directions well, but they both did a good job. All the judges praise Samantha for showing neck. Felicia and her straight marriage photo are also liked by the judges. Tyra says it could be in a bridal magazine today. Is that a compliment?
Jaslene was pro-death penalty and the judges love her eyes. I do, too – she looks great! They ask her for more spunk and she tells the judges that if they want her to walk up 180 steps, that last step will be just as fierce as the first on! Girl, you better WORK! Sarah is last, and she was for life in prison. She didn’t do much with her face, and the judges are very lukewarm about it.
On that note, it’s time to deliberate, and this is what the judges had to say about the girls:
The girls come back in and Tyra says that she was very dissatisfied with this shoot – most girls just stood there and didn’t even do anything. She wants them to be inspiring and entertain them!
There are 13 girls in front of her, but only 12 photos. The first girl who she is going to call has a photo that was not boring, and that is… Jaslene! Brittany is called next, followed by Felicia, Diana, Samantha, Cassandra, and Renee, who is crying. Tyra asks her what the tears are for and Renee says that she didn’t want to go home. She knows she can do better, and Tyra does, too.
Sarah is called up next, and Tyra says that for all the experience she has, she fell flat. Sarah admits that she needs to learn some things. Dionne is called next, followed by Whitney. The next girl called is Natasha, who is shocked and starts crying.
Kathleen (oh no!) and Jael step forward. There’s only one photo left, and the girl not called will return to the house, pack her bags, and go home. So who leaves? The girl with the spirit and hair to match who just lost the map, or the girl with the funky style and personality, but who is afraid to succeed because she wants to be liked?
The final photo goes to Jael, as Tyra says that she is getting it because she won the challenge. Tyra tells her that she did well, and that’s okay! Tyra says goodbye to Kathleen, and I’m really bummed!
Back at the house, Kathleen packs up. She says she feels sad that she didn’t really get a chance to compete. She was chosen, though, and that means a lot, so she’ll go home and continue to try and pursue modeling. I’m really going to miss her, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset about the first girl sent home – I really liked Kathleen!
Next week, that girls are back in high school for their photo shoot and a fashion show. Looks like Sarah brings out some school spirit, while Jaslene can’t make the grade. Not Jaslene! I’m already in a tailspin this season! Here’s how I’m ranking the girls for next week, with the girl in last going home: