America’s Next Top Model 7: Why Eugena is Not a Top Modelby Jenn Brasler -- 12/11/2006
I was never too impressed with Eugena, even when the competition neared the end and she started getting more screen time. I think that like Amanda, she sailed through the competition because there was always someone who deserved elimination more than she did. She had some talent, but not as much as the other girls, and though she claimed to want to win, it was hard to believe her. Just compare her reaction to entering her final judging panel to the reactions of Melrose and CariDee - the latter two were obviously excited and nervous while Eugena had… well, no discernable facial expression. And though that makes it almost obvious why she was eliminated from the competition, let’s look at the Top Model Tips and see what else she did wrong.
Tip #1 is to be open and welcome change. We never really saw Eugena having problems with being open or trying new things. We at least never saw her complain about having to do any of the challenges, and she tried her best most of the time, failing because she wouldn’t commit or didn’t feel comfortable. The best indication of whether or not a girl is open and welcome to change is her reaction to her makeover, and I don’t recall Eugena complaining about her new hairstyle (possibly because Tyra didn’t exactly overhaul her entire image - didn’t she just get some extensions?). She was willing to try new things and see what happened.
Tip #2 tells the girls to know something about the fashion industry. Eugena didn’t really display any knowledge about fashion, but she did exhibit knowledge about makeup. In fact, as she told RNO writer Phil Kural, makeup is her first passion. Eugena showed this in the Queen Latifah challenge, which she won by both applying makeup well and by exhibiting a personality that went with the image she wanted to project. So while it’s not clear how much Eugena knew about fashion, she did know about makeup, which is very important in modeling.
The third tip is to practice your walk. We never saw Eugena practice walking, but she still did well in the walking challenges in the third week. She walked well on cobblestones and on the pool runway (well, before she fell), and she was the best at balancing fruit on her head in the panel challenge. We may not have seen Eugena practice, but she had the walking ability anyway, so not practicing didn’t hurt her.
Tip #4 is that personality counts. This was Eugena’s downfall. She did display a likeable personality in the Queen Latifah challenge and a little in the interview challenges, but other than that, she wasn’t exactly known for being bubbly and cheerful. Many times, the judges told her she needed to work on her attitude and personality. When Eugena just stood there, even when she wasn’t being judged, she didn’t look particularly pleasant, and the judges picked up on that. It wasn’t that she was mean or nasty, but a model needs to be likeable and even a role model. Who looks up to a girl who looks like she’s been sucking on a lemon?
The fifth tip tells the girls to focus on themselves, not the other girls. Except for the first week of the competition, when Monique stole her bed, Eugena did pretty well with this aspect. In fact, she handled Monique fairly well - as she stated in her interview with Phil, she didn’t want to make enemies, so she just let Monique get her way to avoid drama. After that first encounter, Eugena didn’t seem to have problems with any of the other girls, so she didn’t really have to worry about them. Thanks to that, she was able to focus on her performances (though she probably should have listened more to what the judges had to say and applied their advice to what she was doing).
The last tip is to roll with the punches and not fight with the judges. Eugena also did this pretty well. As I mentioned before, she let Monique take her bed so that she didn’t make an enemy early on. This was a major punch to roll with - either give up your bed or make a girl mad at you early in the competition. Eugena made the right choice. In the Catalan commercial, Eugena ad-libbed, another example of her ability to operate well when things weren’t going her way. Part of being a model is thinking on your feet, and Eugena showed that she could do that.
Even with all of the things Eugena did right, she still didn’t make it past third place. Maybe this means that the judges don’t find the Top Model Tips as important as we do. But what I think it really means is that, as we’ve heard over and over, passion is an important part of being a model. CariDee and Melrose showed more desire to win than Eugena did, no matter how often Eugena assured people that she wanted to be there. The judges kept questioning how true that was, and that hurt her. Though Eugena had some talent and knew what she needed to do to get ahead, she didn’t want it enough. That’s why she’s not a Top Model.
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Jenn Brasler is an Assistant Editor of Reality News Online and an aspiring writer from Falls Church, Virginia. By day she works for a court reporting firm, and by night she’s a spy for a covert branch of the CIA. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She wishes Eugena had had a little more screen time so we could have seen her true personality.
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