America’s Next Top Model 2, Episode 10: Our Next Top Model Is...by Phil Kural -- 03/24/2004
Previously, on America’s Next Top Model 2, we saw 12 girls arrive in New York City. Friendships formed, like that of Shandi and Xiomara, but conflicts brewed as well. Do I have to remind anyone of the Camille/Yoanna situation? Each girl had to prove her worth in front of the camera, take criticism, act like a model, and dance in Tyra’s video. When only five remained, they headed to Milan, and the competition intensified. Shandi lost her focus and had sex with another man. Through it all, we have seen nine cuts thus far, and tonight it is down to three.
Tyra tells us that Mercedes has charmed the judges since day one. This charm hid the pain she was suffering from her lupus. However, she never gave in and always shined on camera. She is too cute sometimes though, and must show her edginess. Yoanna grew up with a passion for fashion. She had to lose 50 pounds, though, in order to get herself into peak model condition. Her self confidence has wavered from time to time, but each week she shows how much she wants to win. Yoanna is often inconsistent, and tonight must deliver a flawless performance to win. Shandi used to be a clerk at Walgreen’s. She lost her glasses, went blonde and improved her walk. She has the tools to win, but can she pull herself together? Wow, the tension is building and this was all before the theme song!
Still in Milan, the girls read the note that April left them. Yoanna didn’t think that she would be the one going home. And it turns out April isn’t that big of a “Yoanna fan.” Don’t believe me? Check out my interview with her! Anyway, Mercedes calls her mom and says she is doing all right. Then she says she is learning that lupus is all about maintenance and if she can maintain her disease, she’ll be okay. Yoanna calls her mom and says she didn’t realize how lonely she would get being away. Shandi calls her boyfriend and he tells her that he misses her. She thought he’d hate her forever, but apparently, it only took him a few days to get over the whole having sex with other people issue. He’s not mad and cares about her. She knows it was a bad thing to do but is glad they are close enough to work through it and love one another. I can’t wait to find out if they are still together.
Tyra Mail says that Yoanna has to move in with the other girls since there are only 3 girls left. Nobody helps Yoanna move her stuff because they want to sleep. The next morning, more Tyra Mail says that they will be getting beauty shots done today. Shandi thinks Yoanna is her biggest competition because she knows so much about the fashion world. Yoanna is worried about Mercedes because she would make a good role model and takes great photos. Mercedes thinks Shandi is her biggest competition because the judges always tell her that she would be perfect for high fashion. This is the last shoot though, and there is no room for mistakes!
The girls get to their destination and Jay Manuel is there to greet them. They are all beautiful, but he tells them that they will all get new looks. Yoanna’s dream has always been to appear in a beauty ad. Oh God, this girl has like so many “dreams” that I’m not even sure which is which anymore. Nole is there, as usual, to style it up. As they get changed and have the makeup applied, Jay attacks Shandi’s teeth with whitener. Anyway, Yoanna’s look will be a helmet. Mercedes needs to get out of the commercial look, says Jay, while Shandi is still going on and on about how much she wants to win. We get it.
Mercedes is worried about what Nole is doing with her hair and the wire he’s putting in it. Yoanna is stressing out about all the pressure, and is worried about the helmet making her hair itch. So, instead of asking someone to shape it up for her, she decides it would be smarter to just hack it off with scissors. It looks terrible. Jay notes that she may be breaking down. Someone takes a razor to it and fixes it for the most part, but what an idiot! Why would she do that?
Mercedes says her photo looks very Zulu and Aztec and that she loves it. She’s looking at the camera like its Shandi and Yoanna’s eyes and looking at them dead-on saying they can’t take this from her. Shandi even says that Mercedes is doing great. Shandi does her shoot and says she is having problems with her eyes. Mercedes says that Shandi looks scared, and she’s happy that Shandi is distracted with her standing in the background. Yoanna is up, and she looks GREAT! She gives the eyes, the lips and the move, noting how complicated each one is. As Mercedes watches Yoanna, she sees that the photographer and Jay really like her, so she says “Bitch, you ain’t going nowhere.” I love this girl more than words can describe. I’d move mountains for her. Jay says Shandi has done so well, Mercedes surprises all the time, and Yoanna wants it so badly that she’ll do anything to win.
When the girls get back to the apartment, they get Tyra Mail telling them that they will do an audition for D2, pronounced D Squared, to see who has what it takes to be one of their models. Mercedes knows the pressure is high, and Shandi states that the competition is fierce.
The girls get to their destination and meet Dean and Dan, the owners of D2. Ohh, I get it now. Stupid. Anyway, Shandi says they remind of her of the chipmunks – always finishing each others sentences. They talk to Mercedes first and she tells them that they are funky like her. They like her personality. Shandi is up next and tells them that their clothes are real, just like her. They feel Shandi is a pallet and can be worked with. They think Yoanna is a professional and they can tell she likes fashion. They ask the women who their favorite designers are, and Mercedes and Shandi say Betsey Johnson, which is the wrong answer. Shandi says she thought they really wanted to know. One of them says to her, “Nobody ever really wants to know what you think,” because they wanted to hear the girls say THEM! They meet with Jay in another room and D2 plays dress up with the girls. Yoanna and Shandi both note how great the clothes fit Mercedes and even D2 pick up on that.
Enough of that though – it’s time for Tyra Mail! They will meet with the judges and someone will be eliminated. Mercedes is nervous and Shandi didn’t think it was coming this soon. Yoanna is seeing the reality in the situation. What the hell is she talking about? So anyway, the girls walk in, and we meet the judges and our guest judges, D2. This will be a special elimination because the two girls remaining will face off in a fashion show which will determine who will win. Time for individual evaluations
Mercedes is first and does her walk. Tyra says she has a great glide to her walk, but has to start taking bigger steps. They look at her photo and all the judges love it, especially the look on her face. Shandi is up, and Janice praises her walk, but the other judges tell her that she lacks confidence. They like her photo, but not as much as the one Mercedes took. They like her face with the makeup, but aren’t sure if she is okay with being transformed. Yoanna does her walk and D2 don’t seem to be impressed. Janice loves her shot this week though, but they aren’t sure how she’ll do under pressure. I have to admit, Yoanna has an amazing beauty shot. But it’s time for the judges to deliberate. They agree that all the girls are good. Yoanna is amazing, but does she have the full package? She breathes fashion, but they aren’t impressed with her consistency. Mercedes has a great walk and a great body. Her life experience shows in her photos. She has the beauty for commercial and for high fashion. Shandi has what it takes, but maybe has stalled. Tyra says Shandi’s look confuses people, and that’s what she loves. Who should go home though? The judges are getting headaches just thinking about it.
The girls walk back into the room. Tyra says that she has two photos left, and they are the girls that will compete in the final part of the competition. Mercedes is called up first, as I SCREAM at the top of my lungs out of sheer joy. Tyra says that she has come so far and has finally showed that edge they were looking for. Her picture this week saved her ass, and had she of shown even a hint of a smile she would have went home. Shandi and Yoanna step up. Yoanna started out strong and proved how great she was. Shandi started out weak, but has shown that she is beautiful. However, both fell apart today. If they can’t handle six people judging them, how will they do on a runway? One name will be called, and that name – is Yoanna! Shandi hugs the girls and walks out with grace and dignity. She tells the camera that she doesn’t even recognize herself at times, has grown so much, and really knows how to appreciate herself now. Now she won’t feel so lost when she gets home and is going to work things out with her boyfriend. Good for her! Shandi is a good person, deep down, and just made some mistakes. I wish her well, and I’m gonna miss her.
Mercedes and Yoanna get back to the apartment and find Shandi Mail, thanking them for all the help they gave her. Yoanna says she’ll miss Shandi, but she’s one step closer to having her dream fulfilled. Mercedes says that there is no way Yoanna will take her title, even though she thinks she’s a nice person. Tyra takes both girls to where the fashion show will be. Mercedes is nervous and Yoanna is excited. Jay and Tyra give the girls some preliminary advice while the stage is set!
Before the show, Mercedes asks some of the other girls how long they have been doing this and they say since they were about 12. Wow! Yoanna is ready to shine and the judges are there – even J. Alexander! The show starts and the girls come out. Yoanna is not far behind and she looks great! Mercedes struts herself too and she is looking hotter than ever. After their first appearance they run back and change. Yoanna is rushed back out and does her thing again. She is rocking the runway! Mercedes walks to the end of the runway, does a pose and tells the camera that pose was for Yoanna and she was thinking “F**k that bitch!” Okay, that’s the quote of the night!
In the backroom, Yoanna breaks the heel on one of her shoes while Mercedes hits the runway again, looking ultra sexy! Yoanna puts on Mercedes’ old shoes and heads out. She is looking amazing as well. As the show comes to an end, Tyra says they both did great. Yoanna laughs about the shoe thing and Mercedes says how much fun she had. However, Tyra Mail tells them that the judges will decide tomorrow who the winner will be!
Yoanna says she loved the experience and never would have expected all this. Mercedes has been working for this her whole life. Yoanna thinks Mercedes is great, but wants to win herself. She says she WILL win! Mercedes likes Yoanna as well, but doesn’t want her to win. They walk into the elimination room and Tyra says that the judges have watched both of them transform, but only one will enter the real world of modeling. The winner will receive a modeling contract, a fashion spread, and her very own cosmetics campaign. Also, this will be the last time we will be reintroduced to the judges. We have the world’s very first supermodel, Janice Dickinson. Fashion editor for Jane magazine Eric Nicholson, and everyone’s favorite photographer, Nigel Barker. There is no guest judge this time because each guest judge was only there for one week. These four judges have seen them from the beginning and know them the best. It’s time for individual evaluations.
The judges watch some footage from the fashion show. They feel that Mercedes had the attitude they were looking for on the runway and Janice comments on Mercedes’s booty. Yoanna has some great end shots and Tyra says they both mixed in great, but Mercedes posed too much at the end of the runway. They look at several of their photos from the whole season and compare them. From the first shot, the Garden of Eden shoot, they saw both of their potentials. Their face shots look good, but Yoanna takes the prize, but not according to Janice, who loves Mercedes. For their celebrity shots, both of them nailed it, but Mercedes captured Billie Holiday in her eyes. In the Solstice sunglasses shot, Yoanna looked better in the face, but Mercedes takes it in length. In their nude shots they both look sexy. As far as their most recent shots, the beauty shots, Mercedes has a great facial expression, but Yoanna’s could be the cover to a magazine. Now the judges will deliberate and when the girls come back in the room, they will find out who the winner is.
Janice likes Mercedes a lot. Eric likes Yoanna and says she always makes an impression. Tyra thinks Yoanna’s knowledge of the business is great. Nigel is a fan of Mercedes’s personality. Janice just worries about Mercedes having the face for fashion. All the judges are up in arms at this point. The girls walk back in and say they were uncertain outside waiting. They have both come a long way and are about to find out who will win the competition. Yoanna started out as a quirky and weird girl and transformed into this stylish being. That does not happen often. Mercedes was cut and had the mall look when she arrived, but has proved that she can be edgy. She has made the transformation as well. Only one can win though, and that winner is… Yoanna! Mercedes and Yoanna hug. Tyra says that Yoanna has lived the fashion life since childhood, and the fashion industry better hold on tight because Yoanna will rock it! Mercedes cries because she has lost her dream. Aww, Mercedes, I still love you! Yoanna tells the camera that she was never a cheerleader or on the squad, she was never the homecoming queen, and was always just there. However, now she’s America’s Next Top Model!
You know what? I’m genuinely happy for Yoanna. I’d be lying if I said I’m not disappointed that Mercedes didn’t win, but I’ll live. Yoanna really wanted to win and I’m happy that she has fulfilled her dream. Honestly, I thought Shandi was going to be in the final two with Yoanna, but I predicted that Yoanna would win simply for the fact that she knows so much about the industry. Oh, and I can admit when I’m wrong – in my preview article, I said she would be boring. Yoanna was anything but that! However, that’s for another article in the near future, so look out for that. As for me, now I get to wait for next season to begin. I can’t wait, and good luck ladies! Oh, and one final note – I love you, MY Mercedes!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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