Americaís Next Top Model 2 Ė Whoís Got the Goods to Win?by Phil Kural -- 03/09/2004
When I first decided to recap this show, I never thought I would get into it as much as I have. I watched the first season off and on, but watched the last four episodes religiously. But here we are now, with only a few episodes left in the second season, and I still have no idea who is going to win. Each girl has had her ups and downs, which is making it impossible for me to decide who is going to win. Sure, I know who I want to win, but what does that mean? Exactly, nothing! If I had my way, Mercedes would have won on day one! Anyway, I took the liberty to evaluate each of the remaining four women. My evaluation is based on their personality, potential, and Iíll be taking a look at their best and worst shot, at least in my eyes. This is going to be fun!
Shandi: Itís no secret that I am a fan of Shandi. Of all the girls, I think she has changed the most. Tyra has said constantly that of all the girls, she could most see Shandi doing high-end fashion. I would have to agree with this statement. Shandi is definitely slender enough to work the high end runways, and she has a beautiful face. Personality wise, Shandi comes across as fun, but somewhat insecure. She is constantly worried that she will have to go home, but seeks comfort in the fact that she knows her boyfriend will always love her. I think I like Shandi so much because she comes across as real, plus you can tell she has the potential to go far in this industry, as long as she keeps on growing. Letís take a look at her pictures.
I chose Shandiís latest shot as her best. There is no doubt in my mind that this picture could be an ad. The somewhat insecure personality that she sometimes shows never comes through in her photos, and this one is a great example of that. Look how she sits on that ledge Ė with the attitude starting right back at you from the photo. Her hair and dress look amazing and the sunglasses that she is showing off just complete the picture. Even the pose she is striking says that she doesnít have a care in the world, and doesnít care what anyone thinks. However, knowing what we do from her off camera, we DO know she cares what we think, but she does an amazing job at hiding it.
For her worst photo, I chose the picture that she did for the Quench Water ad. Take a look at this. Now, besides the fact that she looks like she is drowning, it doesnít look like she is having an ounce of fun. Several girls had trouble at this shoot, so Iím taking that into consideration. However, Shandiís shot for this photo shoot easily came out the worst. Even Xiomaraís was better, but Shandi was better then Xiomara overall, which is why I think Xiomara was eliminated when she was. So Iím not going to be so hard on Shandi for her worst photo. I mean, she could have done much better had she just relaxed and done her thing, but her nerves caught up with her, as well as all the emotional stress that she puts herself through.
Mercedes: Ahh, MY Mercedes. If you missed my last recap, Iíve officially dubbed her ďMY Mercedes.Ē Anyway, MY Mercedes is great, isnít she? Okay, I promise, thatís the last time. Seriously though, much can be said about Mercedes and her shots. I think each one has consistently gotten better over time. Her personality is to die for, and she always seems to be having fun. What worries me is her lupus. Iím scared that all the stress of a modelís lifestyle may be a bit much for her. Lupus is not something to mess around with, and I want to make sure that Mercedes stays healthy. However, I do want her to win and would be psyched if she did. What do I think about her pictures, you ask? Well, find out what I think are her best and worst.
In my opinion, Mercedesí worst shot was her body paint photo, which was also her first. Itís not the fact that I think itís a bad shot, I just think of what she has done thus far, this one sticks out the most. It could be argued that her Quench shot was her worst, but I would disagree, simply for the fact that even Nole' and photographer called her a ďvisual orgasmĒ during the shoot. Yeah, this is definitely not one of her best, and the reason I say that is because, honestly, it doesnít even look like Mercedes. It kind of looks like some Egyptian high priestess waiting to inflict a curse on her people for disobeying herÖ which is actually pretty hot! Maybe thatís a stretch, but you know what Iím saying. I still love her from head to toe!
Easily, Mercedes best shot is her celebrity shot. In this photo, Mercedes captures the essence of Billie Holiday perfectly. Once again, during the shoot, the photographer said he loved the fact that she was truly becoming who she was supposed to be, and did an amazing job on the shoot when it came to making different facial gestures and letting the spirit of Billie shine through. I remember when I first saw this shot revealed, I was in awe. It looks amazing. This can be said about many of Mercedes photos and not just this one. I do think she has the personality and drive to win this competition, and the pictures donít lie Ė Mercedes is a natural.
April: Oh, April. Thank goodness I have her pictures to judge because, by golly, I STILL donít have an opinion of her. I know there have been several episodes that have tried to give her some kind of personality, but for some reason itís not coming through to me. She just doesnít stick out to me the way the other girls are, and to be quite honest, I can probably tell you more about Bethany or Heather then I can April. I understand that she is supposed to be some really driven woman that doesnít know how to embrace her ethnicity, but besides what I have seen in her pictures, I have nothing else to really say about her. On that note, on we go!
There is no doubt in my mind that Aprilís ďLaundryĒ shot is her best. I mean, just look at it! Her pose is amazing, and it quite safe to say that from this shoot, she easily walked away with the tightest pose. Itís almost impossible to see the harness that she is wearing, and it looks like she is just hanging from the rings on her own. Her face shows no emotion, except for the fierceness in her eyes. One leg is totally straight, and I know that could not have been easy. I give April much credit for this shot because it truly does look amazing. Definitely an ad in itself!
Although I feel that Aprilís shots have been consistent for the most part, I still have to pick a worst shot for her. I would say it was her latest, the ad for the glasses. Janice Dickinson said it best when she compared April to a ďcorpseĒ in the picture and said she looked like her ďvibrator batteries ran out.Ē In this photo, April looks like Christina Aguilera, pushed over and trampled on by fans. I liked it when I first saw it, but as everyone started to comment on it, I started to realize what they didnít like about it, and then I started not to like the same things. I will say in Aprilís defense that even though this is her worst shot, itís still not that bad. In fact, I donít think itís going to be her photos that do her in, but the personality that she is lacking, which all the other girls have.
Yoanna: Iíve come to find that people either truly love Yoanna, or they donít like her at all. Iím trying to be objective, but itís not working. I think Iím one of those people that donít like her. As much as Camille got on my nerves, it equally got on my nerves when Yoanna spent every second of her day complaining about Camille and how much they donít like one another. Camille didnít gloat over it, so I wish Yoanna would just lay it to rest. I will say this about her: Since Jenascia left, Yoanna has been consistent in the joke department. Regardless of her hatred for Camille, she has a great personality. I do worry over the fact that she quickly lost weight before the show, but I canít prove anything, so letís move on.
Just to show you that it wasnít easy, just like Shandi, I picked out the Quench shot as Yoannaís worst. Is it me, or does she look like she is casting for a part in The Miracle of Life, as the fetus? Her position in the photo looks like she is in her third trimester and ready to be welcomed to the world. I wasnít feeling this picture at all, and neither were the judges, who also compared her to an unborn fetus. So tranquil and so alien like, that itís almost scary. Definitely not a good shot for her. It was tough though because I didnít like her Steve Madden shot either because she looks like she is asleep. Remember when I called her boring in my preview article? I was wrong on that account, but her photos make me yawn every time I see them.
Easily, I picked out Yoannaís Garden of Eden shot as her best. Recently, the Americanís Next Top Model website changed the whole picture to just a face close-up, so you canít see the whole thing Ė but let me tell you, her pose was pretty tight. Although, with just the close-up of her face itís easy to see what a natural beauty Yoanna is. Her face is so clear, skin is so smooth and the bone structure in her face is outstanding. There is no denying that Yoanna is a very beautiful woman, and this shot just adds fuel to the fire. I think it would be pretty tough for her to beat this photo, but there is still time left in the competition, and anything can happen at this stage.
I had said above that I had no idea who could win at this point. However, that doesnít mean that Iím not going to make a guess. I think that Shandi is going to be eliminated next. The reason for that is because she is too emotionally unstable to be a true model. I think she would miss home way too much and wouldnít be able to adapt to all the traveling. April will probably go next. As consistent as her photos have been, I donít think she has the personality to make it in this business. You canít be serious, all the time, and that is what she is Ė from what we have seen. Iím guessing it will come down to Mercedes and Yoanna, with Yoanna being the winner and me collapsing in a puddle of my own tears. Why do I think she will win? Simply because Tyra has said the winner of this competition must eat, sleep, and breathe ďmodel.Ē That is exactly what Yoanna does, and itís no secret that she wants this more than anything. I hope Iím wrong, and please, let Mercedes win, but itís going to be interesting to watch this all unfold, thatís for sure!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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