America’s Next Top Model: The Runway Ahead Specialby Phil Kural -- 05/13/2004
Yes, the competition is over. However, what happened to the 12 finalists from America’s Next Top Model 2 since the show has ended? I’m sure you are curious to find out if Catie is still crying, or if Camile ever learned to lose the attitude. What about MY Mercedes, and did Shandi ever return to Walgreen’s? Most importantly, what has Yoanna been doing since she walked away as the winner? Boy do I have some news for you – so let’s take a look at what the girls have been up to. Oh, but real quick – if you never saw the first season of this show, UPN is going to run it all over again starting June 15th. I suggest you watch it. Then you’ll know the TRUE meaning of drama!
So anyway, Tyra tells us that the final 12 contestants from the show came from very different backgrounds and from all over the United States. They were all different shapes and sizes but they all had something in common: Each one wanted to be America’s Next Top Model. The vote each week was hard, says Tyra. Especially the final vote because the judges were fighting and going back and forth on who the winner would be.
Tonight, we get to start with MY Mercedes. They show us some of her audition video with Mercedes in the background talking about how when she was little she would sing and dance for her mom. Mercedes’s mom says that she is a fun girl and always plays with her little brother. MY Mercedes tells us that her mother is Italian-American and her dad is African-American. Also, her stepfather is Chinese. She lived in New Jersey when she was young and was a very rude girl because she lived in a bad area. When she moved to California, things changed. She was diagnosed with lupus, as we all know, and let it out to the other girls on the show during her interview with Janice. She says that people have been very supportive of her. Tyra notes that Mercedes has the “top model” personality they were looking for. Nigel adds that she is great, but they worried about her face being too commercial. Mercedes admits that she was disappointed when she was eliminated, and that it definitely “sucked.” However, it’s not over for her. She did the Mercedes Benz fashion show, and still has a dream of gracing the cover of Vogue. In addition, she wants to act and spread the word about lupus. Tyra says that Mercedes has signed with New Model Management and will have an upcoming ad in Seventeen, not to mention a part in an independent film titled Love Nest.
Next, we take a look at Sara. She is constantly recognized on the streets. Sara is very proud of her Persian culture, but her dad still thinks that for a girl to model makes her a “whore.” Her mom says that Sara and her father can’t come to an agreement, and feels that Sara missed out by not having her dad around. Despite this, Sara says she is proud of who she is and that she loves the industry. She is aware that she has the shape and the boobs. Tyra felt that Sara was one of the only girls that had the true “supermodel look.” We relive Sara’s elimination again and recall how emotional it was. She notes that it hurt her so much. She just finished a shoot with Maxim and stated that she loves the swimsuit look. Also, she wants to rock Sports Illustrated and for people to always look at her. Tyra adds that Sara snagged a meeting with Sports Illustrated magazine and her dream may just come true.
Tyra butts in here to tell us that there is a difference between a model and a “top” model. A regular model does the catalogues and the magazines, but the public doesn’t really get to know them. Now, a “Top Model” has the personality, they know how to dance, speak and represent a product. Most importantly, the public can relate to them and know them and really want to be their friend. Does that make sense? Don’t worry, it didn’t to me either. Moving on…
Catie is up, and we begin with her on a radio show, talking about how she gets recognized anywhere she goes. Basically, people yell: “Look, there goes Peter Pan, mom!” Actually, I added that last part. Anyway, she goes back to her high school and everyone praises her for “making it big.” Um, I never knew she made it yet. We see the drama of Catie’s hair getting cut off. Then we see her cry about that, and her fear of heights, and then she cries about something else. However, she realized she just has to suck it up and get the job done. She has always been open about wanting to be a top model. Her dad and mom both say she is a daddy’s girl, but this experience has helped her to grow. Dad also notes that he enjoyed the first couple episodes, but it got tough after that. We get a flashback of Catie being told she has the “style of a hooker” which sends me into hysterics once more. Even Catie says that she went downhill – fast. They show her elimination again and she talks about feeling rejected and that it didn’t even hit her until she was gone for two weeks that she was really off the show. She still wants to model, act, and possibly be a TV host. Catie considered the show as a warm-up for her, and she is capitalizing on the moment.
Anna, the first contestant eliminated this season, goes next. She introduces her son and husband and adds how much she missed them while she was on the show. Jermaine, he husband, says that he has supported her from the beginning. Anna knew that there was a chance she would have to pose nude, but was hoping it would never happen. She saw the other girls “coochie” as she called it (With her husband saying “Honey, you can’t say that word on TV”), and she didn’t want to be part of it. Tyra says she respected Anna’s decision not to pose nude because she had a child and a husband. Catie even adds that Anna was in a different place in her life then the rest of the girls, but Anna says she is still very happy. She doesn’t regret any of it and loved the experience and the exposure. She has called agencies and obtained a contract. Currently, she is looking over it and can hopefully quit her 9-5 job and take up modeling full time. I wish her the best, this girl was nothing but class.
Time for Miss Shandi! Since the show, Shandi says she’ll never be the same and everything has changed. She wakes up in the morning and knows she is beautiful. She used to work at a Walgreen’s as a service clerk. There was nothing to lose, so she figured she might as well audition for the show, not thinking she would ever get picked, or even fit in. Bethany notes that Shandi’s uneven eyes made her look like a bird. However, she knew she had to try hard and the judges knew she was beautiful. When her hair was cut and styled, she loved it and started to believe that she belonged there. Then, we get to see what happened in Milan again. She missed her boyfriend and accidentally cheated on him by having sex with another man. Oops! We get to see all the tears again. She felt so bad over the whole thing and really didn’t want to be there, and she knew the judges saw that too. When she got home, she didn’t feel as lost and grew. She is back at Walgreen’s for a little while, with an old lady noticing her. Shandi is still having trust issues with her boyfriend, but they are working through it. Plus, she is beginning to finally get closer with her mom, who never believed something like this would happen to one of her girls. She plans to move to New York and see some agencies. ANTM showed her what she wanted to do, and will always try. Tyra says that Shandi will be shooting spreads in Glamour and Cosmo Girl.
And now – Bethany. She was aware that she could do swimsuit, and always gets put in that category because of her GIGANTIC breasts – but she has talent too! Tyra says Bethany was picked because her body type was sexy, but that she has to learn how to pose better. Xiomara says Bethany was more voluptuous then the other girls but Bethany insists there is more to her then just ta-tas. She didn’t expect to be eliminated so early and felt that she had more talent then half of the other girls. She wants to get some modeling jobs now that the show is over, and is thinking about moving to Los Angeles and seeing what happens. Wow, not much going on with this one, huh? I still liked her! She was one of the most honest girls I interviewed!
Tyra cuts in again saying that the judges get asked all the time why some girls are on the show. She says that being pretty is not necessarily the thing they are looking for and it’s not the only thing it takes to be a model. They want that extra something, and that’s what they are looking for – not just a pretty face. Um, okay.
Let’s take a look at Jenascia. She’s back in Seattle, and still working at Hooters. She’s yelling at the customers, but it’s actually somewhat cute. Jenascia never thought she would be picked, and knew she was short, but got to the point where she couldn’t wear heels all the time anymore because it wasn’t working for her. Everyone, however, reminded her about her height. Tyra notes that she liked Jenascia’s shortness though, and it gave her personality. Quite frankly, Jenascia was just getting sick of the tall card all together, since she can drink all the milk and take all the vitamins but still won’t get any taller. Then we see her trying to say “haute couture” and mess up several times before she just says “blah.” I miss and love this girl. Finally, she says “screw being taller” because she just wanted to act anyway, and figured modeling would be a good place to start. She loves comedy and is happy to be back in the “real world” where she can date anyone because she is shorter then all the boys. Go girl!
Time to look at April! Before the show began, she was an account executive for Airborne Express. Her boyfriend encouraged her to apply for the show. He wasn’t shocked when they picked her because she is a winner and very competitive. Mercedes says that April was perfect and Yoanna does a mechanical impression of her. April then says it was hurtful when she saw some of the other girls were talking about her. Even in my interview with her, she noted that Yoanna did a lot of trash talking. Her turning point was when the judges said she was only in it to “win,” not to be a model. She realized she wanted to be a model – badly. She felt misunderstood though because she wasn’t ashamed of whom she was. She’s a mutt, lout and proud. The judges misread her nervousness as rigidness during the shoot in which she was eliminated. We relive her elimination and how upset everyone was. Even though she was upset, she dried her eyes and went home to keep pursuing her dream. Recently, she has done a shoot with Stuff magazine. April says she enjoys the feeling of being in front of the camera because she is making art with her body. Tyra adds that April has signed with NY Models and the owner of the company was so impressed with her that he is managing her himself. Wow, I’m happy for April and I know she’ll succeed.
Next up is one of my personal favorites of this season, Xiomara! Xio knew that going into the competition, she wasn’t perfect. To illustrate that, we get some clips of her messing up in the water and my favorite clip from this season: When J. Alexander told her “Gurrl, you walk like you on crack. What are you? Scared of something?” However, she says that when people give her criticism, she turns it into positive energy. Even Tyra notes that Xio had a great attitude. Xio felt that being a New Yorker helped because she had the edge and the attitude necessary to succeed. She loved doing the show, but lost focus along the way. Also, Xio is happy to report that she is more confident because of the show and improved emotionally, physically and mentally. She’s determined and now has a manager at TTA. I’m not quite sure what that is. The manager lady tells Xio she wants her hair fixed up and that’s Xio is the “top girl” that she has. Um, okay. Xiomara meets with some people from BOSS models, and they know her from the show. She even states that THIS is the real competition, not what went on during the show. Now it’s time to see who is making moves and who is getting work Tyra chimes in that Xio has had requests from three cosmetic companies to do spreads for them. Aww, I love you Xiomara!
If you are a Heather fan, she’s next! We start with watching her streak the house while saying that she just likes to have fun and be spontaneous. She’s a people person and very talkative and that’s why she had trouble adjusting in the house since she had never been away from home before and wasn’t really talking to anyone. Catie understood where she was coming from, and that really helped her. Heather says that she was shocked when she was eliminated and thought she was prettier then most of the other girls. What a winning attitude on this one. She will continue to try to make it in the modeling world, and is happy she did the show because doors have been opened for her. Some UPN lady tells her about a script, and that she should try for the part. Heather wants all her dreams to come true. Wow, that was short and sweet!
I’m sure you were wondering what happened to Camile right? Well, Tyra starts out by saying that Camile was very sweet and normal during her auditions – almost too sweet and normal, so she was surprised when Camile turned out to be the one everyone hated. Camile talks about how she was different then the other girls, and felt she could do everything better then them – that was the difference. She says the competition was very stressful, as we see her shouting match with Yoanna again. Camile even says that the person she got along with least was Yoanna, probably because Yoanna was jealous that she had personality and confidence, and that Yoanna was lacking both. Oh God, give me a break. This girl is just TOO full of herself. We see a clip of day 1 when Camile is telling the other girls she can help them since she already has modeling experience. Sara notes that Camile already thinks she is “The Stuff” since she can’t say “S**t.” More clips of Camile being stupid, like when she hogged the mirror in the “smoky eye” challenge. Oh, and then we get to see her signature walk again, not to mention when she mouthed off to the judges. Priceless! Tyra says that she didn’t feel Camile was in the right competition, and needs to get a job where she is telling people what to do, not one where people tell Camile what to do. Camile then goes on about how she is always recognized, and how she goes to Howard University, which is a fashion school. It is? I didn’t know that! She goes out all the time and everyone loves her. Yup, that’s what she said. Her and her girls get all dressed up and hit the town. Honestly, the way they show it, it looks like the Destiny’s Child video for “Bugaboo” when the four girls are walking down the street acting like they own it. We are quickly introduced to her mother who says she is very proud of her daughter. Apparently she didn’t watch the show. Camile demonstrates her signature walk again. I can’t stop laughing! Finally, she says that she isn’t a bitch, but is a very sweet and loving person – I just threw up, excuse me. Oh, she vows that we will see her again, and I can’t wait!
Once again, we are shown Yoanna winning over MY Mercedes. I get a tear in my eye, but it’s time to talk about Yoanna! All the judges talk about how much they love every aspect about her. You better – ya'll picked her! Yoanna talks about her entourage that follows her from day to day, and that she finds it odd. She did the morning show circuit and had a blast, and then got her free shopping spree at Sephora, noting that it was insane. Also, she did her photo shoot with Jane magazine and signed with IMG models in New York, all of which she won from the show. I have to admit, she looks great! Then we see her fly to LA and go on the Ryan Seacrest show, along with participating in shows during Fashion Week. She loved doing the shows and compared them to the “Fashion Olympics.” For her 24th birthday, she actually got to go home and see her family in Jacksonville, Florida. Before the show, she was a bohemian and a babysitter extraordinaire. What the heck is that? She lost 60 pounds over a two and a half year period. As we all know, she had a love for fashion since she was young, but now gets more attention since she lost all the weight. Yoanna admits that she won something she wanted for a very long time. Never the prom queen, she’s overwhelmed by it all – and you can tell. That’s the good thing about Yoanna – she is very humbled by the experience, in my opinion.
We close with Tyra telling the female viewers that the application is on UPN.com to apply for the next season of the show. Who knows, maybe you could be hanging out with Tyra Banks in NYC in a few months. I say, go for it girls, you never know what might happen if you try. Don’t forget that season one will be running again, this summer. Good luck to everyone who applies for season three!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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