America’s Next Top Model 9, Episode 3: Up the Wallby Tyler Sandersfeld -- 10/08/2007
Hello, Top Model fans. Your regular recapper Phil is out for the week, so I’m usurping his throne for this episode.
Previously on Bozo the Clown Need Not Apply, the 13 Cycle 9 models entered the house. My fellow Aspie, Heather, shared her disability with the other girls. Kimberly shared her dislike of Heather and her mild autism. Bianca and Lisa shared their dislike of each other. The models shared the negative side effects of smoking at the photo shoot. Mila shared her sense of humor at the worst possible time. Tyra shared photos with all of the girls except for Mila.
We start the episode in the house, where Kimberly practices her walk. In confessional, Kimberly shares her small-town status, but still feels she has what it takes to be a model. Just a minute in, and already the Foreshadowing Fairy is tickling my left foot. Bianca watches on, and Kimberly asks for advice. Bianca gives her bad tips, confessing that while she doesn’t want to be a bad friend, she’s still in competition with the other girls. Good point, but boo.
Inside, a few girls apply makeup. Heather confesses that she came into the house insecure about how the others would react to her disability. One of the girls (Ebony, I believe) offers to put together a better outfit for Heather. Saleisha confesses to be the anti-Bianca, saying that although she’s in a competition, she still wants to help the other girls out. I like her. Speaking of the devil, Bianca waltzes in and says Heather looks like a prostitute now. In confessional, Bianca believes Heather’s disability gives her an unfair and undeserved leg-up in the competition. Another logical point, but BOO!
Tyra Mail arrives, and it says, “I want a Top Model that has her stuff together. But for right now, you can all go crazy.” The girls wonder if this is a clue for makeovers. Outside, Ebony, Bianca, and Saleisha discuss walks and whether you can actually teach someone how to walk differently. Saleisha knows that a model’s signature walk has to change at times, otherwise the model won’t get booked. Bianca confesses to feeling like Saleisha is bragging. Now that deserves a full BOO!
The girls arrive at a place called “Fashion Madhouse.” Uh huh. Inside, the place is all purposely derelict and creepy. Suddenly, a heinous shadow appears and freaks out the models. As it turns out, it is Evil Nurse J. Alexander. The runway coach from Hell’s Hospital will cure the models of their walking diseases by forcing them to walk in straitjackets. Oh, and heels, too. Miss J. explains that many designers force models to walk in highly restrictive garments. Another reason why I’m glad I’m not a model.
The models try on the spring line from Psych Ward Chic, and Kimberly finds the roughness of the jackets irritating. Victoria is the first to walk, and the Yale girl knows she has problems with walking. Jenah isn’t claustrophobic, but she still feels freaked. Miss J. says Lisa needs to use her legs more and Sarah needs a longer strut.
Heather walks next, and having Asperger’s Syndrome myself, I can understand why her walk is, well, lame. Miss J. felt it necessary to show her just how lame it was. Heather just wanted someone to shoot her and send her home at that moment. Hee hee. Miss J. loves Janet’s sexiness and unusual face. Kimberly confesses that she had to own the straitjacket, but it owned her instead.
Ambreal walks, and Miss J. gives general jaw advice to everyone, proving that Ambreal is this season’s “fade into the background until elimination” contestant. Ebony and Chantal are glossed over as well.
Bianca, while thinking of her big competition in Saleisha, is told to soften her face. Bianca thinks a signature walk shows your personality, and the other girls don’t have that. Miss J. thinks Bianca needs more treatments. Burn! Saleisha is glad Miss J. showed Bianca why her walk was wrong. After all, Saleisha has experience, and she certainly shows it while sporting her straitjacket. Saleisha is definitely a candidate to be PHIL’s model of the cycle. Bianca, however, feels Saleisha’s face is too commercial. BOO!
Back at the house, Saleisha confesses to the other girls that she has six years of modeling experience. Kimberly feels intimidated by this advantage, especially since she has no experience. While Saleisha explains tidbits about the biz, Bianca attempts to interrupt her. I can’t tell what she says, though. Kimberly is in Bianca’s boat, however, because she confesses that Saleisha got very defensive. Bianca then says she doesn’t see Saleisha as her competition, contradicting what she confessed earlier. Saleisha confesses that she tried to stay calm, but Bianca’s pointing and shouting eventually got her off. The rest of the scene is just Bianca and Saleisha shouting at each other about whatever.
Eventually, the argument stops. Thank goodness. In confessional, Saleisha blames Bianca’s outburst on her being 18. Oh, gee, three years make all the difference. Sarah believes it was just the stress of the competition. Bianca has no problem breaking down the other girls one by one.
Another Tyra Mail comes in, saying that after the Madhouse, the girls are “bound for success.” Of course, it’s a runway challenge. The models meet up with Roy Campbell, best known for the infamous prom fashion show challenge. This time, the girls will walk in a couture fashion show. In case you don’t know, couture is French for “I look like a piñata” or something.
The dresses the models will walk in are all designed by Colleen Quen. Heather has seen Colleen’s pieces in magazines, but never imagined she would wear one. The challenge will be judged on the models’ walks, given the restrictiveness and visions of the garments. Colleen will be showing her collection in Paris next year, and the winner of the challenge will be invited to Paris to walk the runway for Colleen’s show. Kimberly is especially excited about this prospect. The girls get made up and don their museum pieces... I mean, dresses. Ebony knows she is going to win this challenge. Saleisha is also very confident.
Ambreal models first in her violet-inspired eyesore. She felt excited after seeing Miss J. and the rest of the large audience. Chantal is next in what looks like a couture wedding gown. Maybe Chantal is the “fade into the background” model of the year. Bianca’s dress is supposedly inspired by fish, with “each movement creating movement.” Uh huh. Bianca confesses to telling herself, “I’m winning this, I’m winning this.” Double uh huh.
Jenah drew the dreaded “molted metal” dress, which is by far the most restricting, especially around the legs. I mean, who designs a dress with a train in the front? Victoria struts out in the waterfall dress. Victoria confesses that her inexperience and nerdiness makes this challenge hard. Nervous Heather walks out in a tight dress with huge silk flowers all over, keeping her neck as straight as possible.
Ebony gets to show off the “Empress” dress in all of its gold glory. Ebony walks back as Sarah walks out, and they slightly crash. Ebony admits to being too worried about avoiding a fall to avoid Sarah. Sarah recovers well enough to present Colleen’s burgundy bundle. Saleisha, as expected, walks well in her nature-themed dress. She wants to go to Paris so bad.
Lisa’s dress makes her look like a golden mermaid, as Roy says. Kimberly comes out wearing a stack of china bowls, or a dress inspired by the ever-moving Earth. Kimberly’s excited to model this dress, since her small town has no designers like this. The Foreshadowing Fairy moves to tickle my right foot now. Finally, Janet shows off a forest-themed dress. Hooray.
Now that the show is over, Roy and Colleen will critique the models’ walks. Heather’s neck and posture are put in question, but at least it’s better than mine. Oh, and she’s praised for her elegance. Although Saleisha could have held her posture higher, Colleen loved her movement. Jenah is praised for taking the most difficult dress, but she still could have avoided walking into it. Bianca had a strong walk, but too strong of a face. Bianca says criticism only makes her stronger. Colleen feels Kimberly’s walk was soulless. Roy lambasts Ebony for running into Sarah.
The winner is... Saleisha! Property of duh, that one. Saleisha feels very good about winning, especially in seeing Bianca’s face afterwards. As much as I dislike Bianca as well, Saleisha could be a little more graceful in her win. Bianca is far from graceful, though. She feels she should have won, especially over Saleisha. By the edit, Bianca will either be the main villain of the cycle or going home in half an hour. The tickling Fairy says it’s the former.
Tyra Mail arrives again, saying, “You wanna be on TOP? It’s time to learn the ropes of high fashion.” Jenah loves climbing and high stuff, and she knew there would be something like that. The girls meet Jay Manuel at a rock-climbing wall, which gets Jenah even more excited. Jay explains that the girls will model high-fashion dresses and edgy makeup while on the rock wall. The photographer, Matthew Jordan Smith, shot many of Tyra’s early photos.
Lisa is first, and is also afraid of heights, though she didn’t want to tell Jay. Eventually, the secret comes out during the shoot, but Lisa found a comfortable spot nonetheless. Jay is very proud of her. Jay tells Janet to be more aware of her neck. Janet confesses to finding the whole modeling world harder than she expected. In case any viewers have attention-deficit disorder, Saleisha reminds us again that she has experience with modeling and photo shoots. Jay feels like Saleisha is giving him “model on a wire.” By his tone, it sounds like a bad thing. Maybe it is, because Jay sees Saleisha let go, and he likes it.
Jay tells Bianca to take her creativity to the next level. However, her angles come across as forced. Bianca hopes she got good shots and the other girls did worse. Boo. Self-confessed super-nerd Victoria never thought she would get this far, but she uses her nerd skills to model as if she was “on acid scaling a wall in sunshine.” Um, huh? [Assistant Editor’s note: I believe the words “sea nymph” were also used. Double huh?] Ambreal has “disgustingly fabulous” body language, but needs more in the face.
Chantal needs more intent when she’s raising her leg. She confesses something, too, but it’s so mundane that I forgot what it was. And I have the episode on tape! Ebony needs to think elegant the entire time, but her mind drifts to the bottom two. Ebony knows people expect a pretty girl like her to do well, but she admits to being horrible at the shoots. Sarah does well, though Jay asks for less bend in her knee.
Kimberly is advised to take the artistry of the shoot to a believable level, but she ends up playing it safe. Kimberly just wants to present herself as a normal girl, not a fierce or mysterious model. Jay feels Kimberly sees modeling as a 2D art form. The Foreshadowing Fairy has moved up to my armpits. Although Jenah has been an avid climber for years, she’s never done it in heels. Still, Jenah does a great job at the shoot. Jay notes that Jenah gets her body without the need to self-analyze. Heather knows her runway wasn’t good, so she’s aiming for good pictures. Judging by Saleisha’s reaction, Heather did great. That made me giddy.
Tyra Mail again, and we know what this one means. Time for the second cut. Kimberly tells Janet that she thinks her body was decent. Janet says she should be satisfied, no matter what the outcome is. Kimberly wants to stay so she can learn more. The Foreshadowing Fairy is tickling my stomach now. Heather hates eliminations because they have to say goodbye to at least one girl, and she likes all of the girls. I like her right back. Bianca sees how confident Heather is getting, so she’s going to have to stop her. BOO!
After the obligatory Tyra photo, the girls step into the panel room. Tyra plugs the prizes in an extremely fromage-y French accent, then the judgment begins.
Heather is first. The photo comes up, and it’s great. Tyra asks about eye contact, a common problem among people with Asperger’s (not Asperjer’s, as Tyra said), and how Heather has amazing eye contact with an invisible person. Heather learned how to avoid dead eyes for her artwork, which isn’t too bad. Better than me, at least. Janet models her Dolce & Gabbana dress well, though her film had more self-conscious photos than great ones. Ebony steps forward, and Tyra thinks Ebony looks like she’s going home. Her photo sports some great legs, though. Tyra boosts Ebony’s confidence by telling the story of going to numerous castings in Paris with three photos she thought were “busted,” and ending up booking 25 shows because of her confidence.
Kimberly is next with a scrunched pose in her photo. Twiggy feels like Kimberly hit the wall in that photograph. Nigel enjoys looking at the real Kimberly more than that photo. Kimberly promises to give more. The Fairy tickles me even harder. Chantal’s photo looks more like “rock falling” than “rock climbing.” Chantal reminds Tyra of Cycle 8’s Renee, but with higher fashion potential. Sarah’s photo looks to Nigel like she’s walking down the street. The face impresses Tyra. I like it, too.
Lisa steps up for her photo, and the first thing I notice is her leg span. Nigel wonders who she was thinking about. Tyra did notice a lot of self-consciousness in Lisa’s film. Saleisha is congratulated for her challenge win, and her photo generates more praise. She rocks it even when she’s upside-down. Tyra does show concern that Saleisha’s too “girl next door.” From lovely to loathsome, Bianca is next. The panel is speechless, but not in a good way. Nigel thinks Bianca looks uncomfortable, while Miss J. thinks she looks mad. Bianca says she was told to focus on one emotion, so she focused on anger, which was the easiest. Not a good strategy, though Tyra likes it.
Victoria’s photo is good, in a “help me” sort of way. Twiggy loves Victoria’s unusual quality, and Victoria asks what Twiggy finds unusual. Twiggy doesn’t really know. Tyra found a lot of good photos on Victoria’s film, and everyone loves her “model pretzel.” Ambreal admits to being scared of heights, but found the experience fun. The photo reflects that fun, with Nigel loving how Ambreal became the focus of the photo and not the rock wall. Jenah’s rock-climbing experience paid off brilliantly in her photo. Nigel believes this is the best picture of them all, and I agree. Jenah then reveals that she was a rock-climbing instructor. I want her to teach me now!
Heather has been voted the Cover Girl of the Week. Yay!
Deliberation time! Nigel finds Heather’s photo beautiful. Miss J. finds Heather boring when standing in front of them, but her photos deliver. Twiggy loves Heather. In person, Roy wouldn’t look at Janet in a mall twice. Nigel agrees, but adds that Janet photographs beautifully. Bianca looked too angry for Miss J. Twiggy loves Bianca in person, but Roy doesn’t think she has it.
Roy thinks this competition is too much for Ebony, though her photo was great. Miss J. sees no “nutritional fashion value” in Kimberly. Tyra sees Kimberly’s fashion face in person, but a “hoochie” face in the photos. Perhaps she can’t get Kimberly’s casting photo with the black vest out of her mind. Miss J. tries to faith heal Tyra.
Chantal is a bit spread for Miss J., but he likes the photo. Twiggy sees a high-fashion face in Chantal. Sarah is awkward in person for Nigel, though Roy says no one comes out of the womb perfect for fashion. Miss J. raises his hand in response. Tell that to your hair, J.
Twiggy isn’t sure about Lisa in person, but she loves the shot. Nigel thinks Lisa looks in control and like she’s having fun. Saleisha’s courageous photo impresses the panel. Jenah also impresses all around, with Roy seeing great talent in her. Nigel says Jenah made the background completely disappear.
Ambreal doesn’t strike Roy as very model-like initially, but he can see a fabulous side once she’s been in enough shows. Twiggy isn’t sold on Ambreal, though. Miss J. loves how Victoria comes for Twiggy every week. Last week, Victoria called Twiggy out on her insecurity, and this week, it was on her unusual qualities. As awkward as Victoria’s photo is, Miss J. likes it.
Time for the cut. The first of the 11 photos belongs to... Jenah. Another victory for the property of duh. Heather gets photo #2. Lisa is next, followed by Chantal, Sarah, and Ambreal. Victoria and Saleisha earn another photo shoot each. Janet is safe, and so is Ebony.
This leaves Bianca and Kimberly, and there’s no way villainess Bianca will go home. Kimberly stands before Tyra as a high-fashion girl in person, but just a pretty girl in photos. Bianca’s photo impressed Tyra, but the other judges didn’t like it at all. A model needs to impress more than one person. As the Fairy’s tickling predicted, Bianca pleased Tyra enough to stick around. BOO!
Kimberly is out, and I’m not exactly sad. In fact, if it couldn’t be Bianca, I’ll gladly take Kimberly. Tyra asks Kimberly to learn how to use her face well, then sends Kimberly packing. Kimberly’s obviously disappointed in herself. She wishes her boyfriend was around to support her. Kimberly wants people to be proud of her. She notes that while she made the top12, she’s still the second model eliminated.
Next time, a bug scutters around, and it’s not Bianca. Oh, and the models will undergo metamorphoses of their own. That’s right, it’s makeover time! And one girl will get it all trimmed. Phil will see ya then!
Tyler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who do you like? Who do you hate? I mean, besides Bianca.