Americaís Next Top Model 8: Why Jael is Not a Top Modelby Jenn Brasler -- 04/23/2007
Every week while I watch the show, I take notes on how each girl does or doesnít follow the Top Model Tips. That way, when it comes time to write my articles about why each girl isnít a Top Model, I have all the information in front of me. These were my notes for Jael from the first episode: ďDoesnít know how to pose. Not very confident. Used illness as excuse for not having a good shoot. Wants to be friends with everyone and not make them jealous when she does well. Bottom two.Ē
What a difference seven weeks makes! Jael wasnít the best Top Model on the show, but she was in no way the worst. As the weeks went on, not only did she improve in many areas, but she was called out first two weeks ago and was often praised at panel for her work. Still, Jael had some problems, and they contributed to her elimination. Letís look at the Top Model tips to see why Jael isnít still in the competition.
The first tip tells the girls to be open to and welcome change. Of all the girls in this cycle, Jael probably did the best with this tip. She came in with an open mind and kept it open throughout the weeks she was in the competition. When it was time for makeovers, she was ready for whatever happened. When the judges told her to try something new with her poses, she tried it. Thereís always a girl in each cycle who is grateful for the experience and knowledge she will gain, and this time around, it was Jael.
Tip #2 says to know something about the fashion industry. Jael never displayed any knowledge about the industry, and I think itís a safe bet that she didnít know much about it. As I said above, she was there for the experience, and I think she expected to learn what she needed to know about the industry, rather than show the judges and other girls what she already knew. Of course, her lack of knowledge didnít hurt her, so weíll move on.
The third tip is to practice walking, posing, and working on your flaws. I donít recall seeing Jael practice, but she definitely listened to what the judges had to tell her about working on her weaknesses. Somewhere between week one, when I noted that Jael didnít know how to pose, and week four, when Jael did well with the bank-heist challenge, her posing did improve, so itís possible she practiced and we just didnít see it. She worked on her other problems, so if she thought practicing would help, I wouldnít be surprised if she tried it.
The fourth tip is that personality counts. Jael had absolutely no problem in this category. Her personality was the most memorable out of all the girls, and she was never shy about showing everyone she met - whether the other girls, the judges, or even 50 Cent - who she really was. Jael was a little annoying at first, but once we got to see more of her, I started to like her a lot. It was almost refreshing to see a girl in the competition who wasnít afraid to be herself and who was so happy to be accepted because she was being herself.
However, a strong personality can sometimes hurt a girl in the competition. Jael was memorable because of her actions and words, but she didnít exactly have the personality of a model. The judges called her an anarchist, but I thought Jael was more of a free spirit, someone who didnít want to be placed in a box and told to act a certain way. I think this contributed to her elimination. Jael didnít act the way a typical model acts, and Iím not sure the judges knew what to do with her. Though they liked her, they knew that she wasnít like the other girls they were used to dealing with. Although Jaelís personality helped keep her in the competition, it eventually led to the decision that an ďanarchistĒ wasnít going to make a good Top Model.
Tip #5 tells the girls to focus on themselves, not the other girls. In Jaelís case, it wasnít the other girls who distracted her, it was her own personal problems. Jael learned in week three that a friend had died, and this shock threatened to distract her from the competition in front of her. Fortunately, she was able to compartmentalize her grief and move forward, showing that she was willing to focus on the competition and her performance above everything else going on in her life. Girls in future cycles could take a lesson from Jael - no matter whatís going on around you, if you really want to be a Top Model, you need to let everything else go for the time being.
Tip #6 says to roll with the punches and not fight with the judges. The judges mainly loved Jael, and they gave her a lot of good comments on her photos, so she didnít really need to fight with them. As for rolling with the punches, Jael handled everything thrown at her very well, including, as I mentioned above, her friendís death. If she was able to put that aside and concentrate on modeling, she could obviously deal with anything else she was faced with. The best example of this is when Jael spent hours undergoing a painful makeover only to have Tyra decide it wasnít going to work and Jael would need to go back to where she started. Jael handled the situation with minimal tears and wound up liking her new hair after all that trouble.
Tip #7 is to show the judges you want to win. Though Jael often worked on what she was told to work on, I donít think she really showed that she wanted to win. In her interview with recapper Phil, Jael said that in her last time in the bottom two, if Brittany had been eliminated, she would have asked the judges to send her home instead. Are those the actions of someone who wants to win the competition? Not exactly.
Though itís nice that Jael wanted to let Brittany stick around, Americaís Next Top Model is about giving your best performance and showing that you have what it takes to win. Jael didnít do that. Even though she listened to the judgesí comments and tried to improve in the areas in which she was criticized, she didnít show the judges how much she wanted to win. They didnít mention her dip in the pool in panel the week it happened, but Jael didnít take that situation seriously, which didnít show that she was taking the competition seriously. Not taking things seriously doesnít show the judges a desire to win.
The eighth tip tells the girls to be confident, not cocky. As I mentioned, in the beginning, Jael didnít seem confident at all. However, later on, especially in the last episode, she acted cockier and cockier. Unfortunately for Jael, she didnít have the skills to back up that cockiness. Iím not entirely certain she was always serious about that cockiness - it might have all been self-deprecating humor - but if she was, it didnít help her out. Confidence that isnít supported by talent doesnít mean much.
Jael was a rare person, someone we donít often see on Americaís Next Top Model. She did improve during her weeks on the show, but not enough to make the judges think that she could win. They still had too many problems with her to make her a Top Model. Jaelís personality made her memorable and kept the judges interested, but she didnít really have the personality of a Top Model. Plus, she didnít bring her own personality into her photos, so it was almost wasted. Itís almost as if she showed her personality when she shouldnít have and didnít show it when she should have. That, plus her other weaknesses, are why Jael is 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 sheís a spy for a covert branch of the CIA. You can e-mail her at email@example.com. Jenn is surprised to believe that the final three may come down to Renee, Natasha, and Brittany.