Americaís Next Top Model 2, Episode 1 Ė This Is No Garden of Edenby Phil Kural -- 01/14/2004
Ahh, it has finally arrived! Tuesday marked the return of UPNís surprise hit, Americaís Next Top Model, and I couldnít be any happier. This season, we are promised more drama and confrontation than the first, and this first episode gets it all started off, disappointing nobody. We begin with a little montage of our host, Tyra Banks. She states that to be a top model, one must have high hopes, work hard, and a have a passion for what they are doing. Tyra knows what it takes because she has done all these to become a supermodel. She also asks us if we remember Adrianne, the winner from the first season. Well, since she won the competition, Adrianne has been in high demand by several fashion magazines and modeling agencies.
Now, we begin with 12 new finalists who are all edgy and different in their own ways. Each one thinks she has ďitĒ Ėwhat it takes to become a top model. The finalists are to meet in Manhattan, in groups of threes, with each group being picked up by a bus as it makes its rounds. Catie, Anna, and Xiomara are first. The bus picks them up and goes on its way. Wow, I must say the bus is pretty swanky. None of the girls have any idea where they are going. Anna tells the other girls that she is married with a child. Both of them are taken aback, and we see a flash of Anna hugging her husband, who sort of reminds me of Ruben Studdard. She tells the camera that her husband supports her doing the show and how much she loves him for that.
The next three girls picked up are Yoanna, Camille, and April. Catie says that she has always wanted to be a model, while April says that she just left corporate America to pursue this whole modeling thing, thinking it was a change in her life. Ya think? Yoanna states that she used to be chubby, but lost 50 pounds in order to become a model, and now she is much more secure with herself. Xiomara looks at the other girls and feels she is much different than they are. She says that she was always different-looking, and wants to be a type of alternative model, whatever that means. I have to say though, for looking different, Xiomara is a knock-out!
We then see Bethany waiting on a corner. She tells the camera that she can do swimsuits, mainly because of her boobs, which are amazingly large. However, she does have other talents. Iím willing to bet at least two of them include boob tassels. Next, we meet Shandi, who is on her way to the same corner Bethany, and now Sara, are at. Shandi says she was always dorky, but is now starting to wear girly stuff and feel more feminine. We see flashback pictures of her youth, and Iím shocked at how much she looks like Sammy Hagar as a child. As Bethany, Shandi, and Sara get on the bus, April comments at how beautiful Sara is.
Inside the bus, Camille goes on and on that she has been in modeling shows and beauty pageants in the past. Then, to the camera, she says that she can probably do much better than the other girls because of her past experience. Bethany tells the camera that she doesnít want to pass judgment on anyone else, but she canít help it, and feels that Camille is very fake and will probably cause problems with the other girls. Just than, itís time for more girls to board the bus.
We see the audition video of Heather saying she is ďfresh fishĒ again, which makes me bite my tongue Ė again. Jenascia begins to assess the other girls, noting that she is the shortest one there. Mercedes is from New Jersey. She used to be very rude, but over time, she has evolved into a better person. Wow, I must say Mercedes is one of the most naturally beautiful women Iíve ever seen. Now that all the girls are together, they are all nervous because they donít know where they are going. They see two marines waiting for them as they get off the bus. The marines welcome them, and show them the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that has fought in several wars. The girls follow the marines and Heather wonders if they are living on a ship. I can only bow my head in embarrassment for her. Jenascia is hungry and just hopes some food is on the ship. Sara sees Tyra first, as the girls line up while she congratulates them. Tyra introduces J. Alexander, who is a runway trainer extraordinaire and will help them later in the competition. Heís definitely a diva, and you canít help but like him.
Tyra lets the girls know that she isnít wasting time, and they are going on a runway Ė right now. The show will be in front of NY officers and firefighters, oh and they will strut to the mix of Funkmaster Flex. All the girls get very nervous because none of them have had training yet. On the other hand, Jenascia is disappointed because there is no food. I love this girl already. The girlsí next shock is finding out they have to do their own hair and makeup Ė and only have 30 minutes. Each girl reads her sign that is on their outfits and hurry to get ready. April gets messed up and puts on the wrong outfit Ė the second instead of the first Ė and begins to cry because itís just about time to go on the runway. However, Jenascia jumps to her aid and helps her get ready as the other girls basically stand there and act like they donít see this going on. Jenascia states that she doesnít know what came over her because she isnít normally that nice of a person. Iím telling you, I love this girl.
Out on the runway, Heather says that she has never done this, and is basically just doing what she thinks is right. April lets us know that what happened in the back is behind her. Anna says it was fun, even though she didnít know what she was doing. Tyra comments that some of the girls have never walked in heels and looked really bad out there. Camille says she does her thing and looked sexy out there, while Tyra says Camille was ďsuper wrong.Ē They finish up the show though, and the girls are relieved. J. Alexander says they all basically sucked and April thinks he is talking about her, and that she was a failure. He then gives them their key to the loft they will be living in, as the girls board the bus and head home. Once in the loft, they get a letter from Tyra welcoming them. The loft is amazing. Itís all kinds of different, and Iím loving the ďbling blingĒ room. Everyone scurries around the house looking at the bedrooms, and we see a runway in the middle of the living room!
At dinner, the girls start stating their preferences as to which room they want to be in. Sara doesnít want to be around ďhigh maintenance drama queens.Ē Catie thinks Anna is so sweet, as we see a shot of Anna cleaning the house already. Anna is just too nice, I love her. She states that she is a mother and a wife, and wants to set an example that mothers and wives can do this too. Xiomara tells Anna that she looks up to her. We then see Anna talking to her son on the phone and he tells her that he misses his mommy. Itís so sweet. After this, everyone heads to bed.
In the morning, Tyra is there. She says that each of the finalists was hand selected by her. She gives each of them words of wisdom and tells them that they need to ďlive this.Ē Each week, someone will go home, and only one will remain in the end. She gives each of them a necklace, which looks really expensive and nice. They are all happy and, for the moment, seem to love one another.
Off to dinner! Camille lets us know that itís an exquisite restaurant that usually takes months to get a reservation at. Since itís so chic, Yoanna decides to steal a roll of toilet paper. Canít say Iíve ever done that. Camille is pissed saying that the other women have no manners and donít know how to eat. She is also angry about the toilet paper thing and states that she is more educated and has better manners than the rest. After dinner, the girls get mail saying they need to be ready by 6 a.m. tomorrow for their first photo shoot. Everyone decides to head home, wanting to get some sleep.
It is now 5:10 a.m. and all the girls are hurrying to get ready. They all leave the loft as we see Jenascia still sleeping. Supposedly none of them realize that she is missing Ďtil they get to the van because they are all so busy getting themselves ready. But then, when they do finally notice, nobody goes back up to help her, for fear the van will leave without them. April is feeling really bad because Jenascia helped her at the runway shoot, but Mercedes says itís survival of the fittest, and they donít have time to wait for one person. Oh, come on Ė give me a break! You mean to tell me not one of those girls could tap her on the shoulder and wake her up. This is ridiculous.
The girls, minus Jenascia, get to the shoot and meet Nigel Barker, the photographer. They find out they will be doing a ďGarden of EdenĒ shoot, with each girl modeling as a different type of Eve. Each one has an outfit designed specifically for her. Their bodies will be covered in body paint and jewels, so they will essentially be naked. Xiomara canít wait and is psyched about the whole thing. Anna is a bit nervous because she has to worry about being a positive example for mothers and wives. April feels bad because Jenascia isnít there. Heather says she doesnít feel bad because Jenascia knew what time they had to wake up.
Jenascia is finally called. Sara says that just because she is Jenasciaís roommate does not mean she is responsible for waking her up. Yeah, but you can do the right thing and do so anyway. Iím still pissed about this. After several attempts, Jenascia finally answers the phone. She is in tears. The shoot producer tells her to get herself together and get there ASAP. Sheís pissed at the other girls, and who can blame her. The other girls are getting ready and look amazing. Jenascia gets her cab and is on her way.
Showtime! The girls meet their sexy male partners for the shoot. Sara is up first and is all silver. She looks amazing. Bethany looks a little like Cher, and Nigel says she needs to work on movement. Jenascia gets there while April is shooting. I must note, April looked amazing as well. Nigel gives Jenascia a hug, but she is still upset that April didnít help her. She calls the other girls bitches, then moves on.
Xiomara is getting her shots done. She looks sort of plastic, but the overall look is really nice. Catie is next, and I have to say that her outfit is the worst. She is supposed to be the ďtraditional EveĒ but looks a lot like Sandy from Grease after her transformation at the race track. Camille looks like a peacock but, nonetheless, really good. Anna is very nervous at this point and says she canít be part of this. Her private parts are sacred and only wishes to keep them special for her husband. She decides not to do it. Catie says Anna is at a very different place in her life than the other girls. Nigel talks to Anna and when itís clear that he canít convince her to change her mind, tells her to leave.
Heather is up and Nigel says that she is very comfortable in front of the camera. Mercedes canít seem to follow directions, and he also says that Shandi needs to realize that she is a beautiful girl. Nigel tells the camera, as Yoanna is shooting, that she has a beautiful face, but her body needs some work. Jenascia is the last to go, and I must say, has the most elaborate costume of them all. As she is posing, Xiomara says she is screwing up. Itís quite obvious that she is still upset. Jenascia says that if she doesnít get eliminated, ďitís on!Ē
Anna is at home, waiting for the other girls. Let me just say something real quick. Annaís costume was far more revealing than the rest of the girls. If they want to keep referring to her as a ďplus sized modelĒ they need to cover her up more. Compared to the other girls, Anna would have been way more exposed, so I canít blame her for not doing the shoot. When the others return home, Anna has Tyra mail saying that tomorrow is eliminations and only 11 will continue on. Heather states that all the girls go into competitive mode as they all remember this is a contest. Jenascia is nervous that she will be the one to go.
Tyra meets the girls in the elimination room. The judging panel is Janice Dickinson, our brutally honest judge and one time supermodel; Eric Nicholson, fashion editor of Jane magazine; and Nigel Barker, the photographer. Tyra reminds the girls what the winner will get: a modeling contract with the same company she is with, a cosmetics contract, and their own spread in Jane. Each girl will be judged on natural talent, potential, personality, their ability to be versatile, and lastly, their performance in the photo shoot. Xiomara is first up for individual evaluations. She was shocked at the runway show. The judges tell her what she did wrong and they look at her photo. April is next and Janice tells her she loves her face. Catie is told she looked stiff on the runway and that she looks uncomfortable in her photo from the shoot. Sara is told she didnít do too bad, while Yoanna finds out from Janice that she has a classic face that was made for beauty. Wow, thatís a huge compliment coming from Janice. Camille is told to lighten up, with Tyra adding a comment in that she needs to add more booty.
Anna is up and she tells the judges that she is sure of herself as a plus size model. Tyra tells her that she looked more like a beauty queen on the runway. They then ask Anna why she didnít do the shoot and Anna tells them it wasnít ladylike. The judges are confused and ask if it had to do with religion, but Anna says no, she was just trying to be Christ-like. Janice is dumbfounded and puts her head down. Iím a little confused too.
Mercedes goes in and they tell her that they like her face, attitude, and pose in her picture. Shandi is scolded for not looking straight on the runway, and keeping her head down the whole time. Nigel says her photo is stunning, but they all tell her that she needs to change her style of dress, with Janice saying she looks too ďcollege student.Ē Bethany is told she needs to fix her walk, and they compare her photo to Cher. I called it first! Jenascia is the last one in, and is told she moved a little too much on the runway and to show more gentleness on the shot. They then talk about her lateness and lay into her about that for a little while before Janice talks about her height Ė or lack thereof. They dismiss her and begin the vote on who to eliminate.
The judges like April, and agree that Heather has potential. Janice isnít crazy about Sara. They think Camille rocks, but is somewhat cocky. Hmm, somewhat isnít the word. Tyra says that Mercedes is her favorite and all the judges agree that Yoanna has a beautiful face. Jenascia is cute, but was late. Everyone agrees that Catie should stay. Xiomara may have too many teeth, but Janice says that can be fixed. I hope they donít knock them out! Bethany is on the fence, and some feel that her cha-chas are to big. Shandi is unusual looking, and Janice wants her to stay so she can help her out. Tyra loves Annaís figure. Her runway needed work though, and Janice isnít happy that she didnít participate in the shoot. Tyra says since she didnít do the shoot, that doesnít automatically eliminate her.
The judges reach a decision and bring the girls in. If Tyra calls out their name, they will receive their photo and continue in the competition. Camille is first. Shandi is next. Then April, Mercedes, Catie, Sara, Heather, Yoanna, Bethany, and Xiomara. Jenascia and Anna are left. They step forward. Now Iím already sad because these are two out of my three favorites! Anna is told they were disappointed she didnít do the shoot. Jenascia is scolded for being late. Only one name will be called, and that person stays. That person is Jenascia, who looks like she is going to pass out because she is so happy. Anna is eliminated and as she walks out, someone says ďbye, mommy!Ē I believe the other girls really liked Anna, and I did too. She states that she doesnít regret anything, and canít wait to go home to see her family.
Okay, closing remarks. First off, I donít think Anna should have been eliminated just because she didnít do the shoot. I do believe that was the main reason she went though. Jenascia being late? Although she is responsible for herself, I think itís crappy that not even one of the girls could wake her up. That was just wrong. Iím a fan of Jenascia, Mercedes, and Xiomara. Iím not big on Camille or Catie. Iím very curious it see what, if anything, Jenascia says to April about not helping her. I think we are going to see sparks fly. This is going to be one very interesting show. I canít wait until next week.
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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