America’s Next Top Model 7: Top Model Tipsby Phil Kural & Jenn Brasler -- 09/25/2006
America’s Next Top Model is entering its seventh cycle, which promises to be a big one. There’s a whole new group of aspiring models, new challenges, and new chances for the girls to either secure a future in modeling or make complete fools of themselves. What haven’t changed, though, are the tips that the models should follow if they want to avoid the mistakes past girls have made. Here’s the newly updated list of Top Model tips:
Rule #1 – Be open to and welcome change. One of the things that claims at least one girl each season is the makeover episode. By now, the girls should realize that they are going to be poked, prodded, cut, and sewn back together by the second week they are there. It’s not strange or out of the ordinary for Tyra to take a girl with hair down to her waist and cut it up to her ears. If you want to be on this show, you should know that! In season two, Catie cried because she said her hair made her look like a boy, and although she did have the whole Peter Pan thing going on, she was still rocking her photos. There was no reason to cry about it. Season four’s Michelle had burns all over her head after the stylists were done bleaching her hair, yet we didn’t hear a peep out of her. She knew it would be hell, but she wanted to win and stuck with it. Meanwhile, Keenyah was sitting across the room complaining that she didn’t like what the stylists were doing to her. She eventually grew to like it, but her bitter attitude could have spelled an early exit had she kept it up.
Some girls don’t take well to change at all. Look at last season’s Cassandra. Cassandra told the judges she would be great for the show because she is used to being taken care of and changed, since she is a beauty queen. However, once she was told her hair would be cut, Cassandra cried for a day straight, saying she didn’t want it done. Although she did let Tyra’s crew cut it most of the way, when Tyra wanted it shorter, Cassandra drew the line and quit (and, in my opinion, took away a spot from another girl that would have done anything to be on the show). And compare and contrast Jade and Sara from cycle six: Jade hated her makeover and complained to anyone who would listen until they, well, stopped listening. Sara, however, said that she hated her haircut but wouldn’t be the girl crying in the salon. The bottom line is: want this enough to do whatever it takes!
Rule #2 – Know something about the fashion industry. There is nothing worse than watching someone talk about something they know absolutely nothing about. I think one of the reasons Yoanna won season two was because she had a working knowledge of the fashion world. She knew who the big players were: other top models, designers, and agencies. Yoanna read the magazines, while some of the other girls have admitted to never even picking up a Vogue before they were on the show.
During season four, the girls had to read off a teleprompter before the judges. The material included the names of colors, designers, and other top models. Some of the girls didn’t even know how to pronounce “magenta” or “Lacroix.” If you want to break into the industry, it’s important to have a working knowledge of what you are getting yourself into. Ashley from season five wasn’t the prettiest girl of the bunch, even though she claimed to have the “pretty gene” in her family, but she could rattle off the names of supermodels to the judges in her audition. Accordingly, Cassandra couldn’t name one, yet knew every pageant winner from the dawn of time. It was clear that modeling wasn’t her passion.
Rule #3 – Practice your walk! Yeah, this one can’t be stressed enough. How many times have watched the show, and even by the sixth episode, some of the girls don’t have a walk down? The walk is probably the most important thing if you are a top model, since you need to let your walk command the attention of everyone around you, as you can’t scream and shout on the runway. Every season there is a girl that has no clue what the heck she is doing when it comes to the walk. Past examples include Xiomara, Michelle, Shandi, Sarah, Kim, and even Elyse, the first season’s breakout star. If you know you are going to be on the show, you should be living in high heels. There is really no reason or excuse that these girls shouldn’t be able to have the fiercest walk. To this day I can’t understand why some of the girls get out on the runway and look like they are getting ready to dive for a football. I can’t stress this enough – practice!
Rule #4 – Personality counts! Of all the rules, this one can probably be debated the most. I mean, I loved Naima, but she was a lacking a little in the personality department. However, looking at other winners such as Adrianne, Yoanna, Eva, Nicole, and Danielle, all of them had personalities to back up their portfolios and to show that they weren’t just pretty faces. You might be able to take amazing photos, but if you don’t have a personality to match, it’s going to be an issue. Take Christina from season four. Very pretty girl, took really nice photos, but it was hard for the judges to get any emotion out of her. Finally, they gave up on trying and eliminated her. Cycle six’s Mollie Sue was portrayed as boring, so much so that the judges didn’t think she was suited to modeling. Even when she was placed in the bottom two with Jade, who had been ridiculed many times for many reasons, Jade’s personality trumped Mollie Sue’s lack of one and the “boring” girl was sent home.
The same thing can be said about girls that don’t take the best photos in the world but have awesome personalities. In season three, the judges loved Ann’s personality, but she continually fell flat in her photos. However, she was kept over girls that weren’t giving enough in the personality department. Brittany in season four was the same way. In the beginning, her personality was overshadowing her pictures and making them look, as Tyra said, “hoochie.” However, once Brittany toned it down, she became a frontrunner and made it all the way to the final four. So even though pictures count for most of the judging, it’s a smart idea to have a bubbly, winning personality, at least to gain you a few more weeks in the competition to work on other flaws.
Rule #5 – Focus on yourself, not the other girls. How many times have we seen one of the girls get so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing that they forget to focus on themselves? Too many times! It frustrates me when some girls forget that they are there to win. In season one, Elyse lost focus halfway through the competition when she was worried about what Robin was doing all the time. Granted, Elyse was still able to turn out great photos, but she was still lacking focus. The same thing went for Michelle in season four. Michelle was constantly trying to one-up each of the other girls and always worried that she would be the girl going home. The second she gained some confidence and stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing, she started to do better in her photos.
There is really no room for distractions. Once the other girls see that you have a weakness, most of them will have no problems exploiting it. We saw last season how Ashley told Kim right off the bat that she needed to lose some weight. This made Kim a little skeptical about the photos she was taking. Ann messed with Cassie during season three when she fooled around with Cassie’s brownies in the kitchen. It was an inside joke that Cassie was anorexic, and the more some of the girls hinted towards this, the more Cassie lost focus. Rather than show the other girls that they were getting to her, Cassie should have focused and worked harder. Instead, she crumbled.
In cycle five, of course, we had the infamous granola bar incident, which created drama between Bre and Nicole. Believing that Nicole stole raided her food stash, Bre retaliated by pouring out Nicole’s Red Bulls. The situation got so out of control that the other girls, especially Kim, were pulled into the fight, and the judges and even Tyra eventually learned of the incident. Neither Nicole nor Bre seemed to be affected by the incident at their next photo shoot, but both girls were lucky not to have been sent home because they were distracted by a couple of missing granola bars. In cycle six, Jade caused a number of problems, most notably with Nnenna and her relationship with her boyfriend. That may be part of the reason she kept winding up the bottom two - she spent more time scheming and bugging people than she did focusing on her photo shoots. If she’d focused as much energy on modeling as she did on interfering with other people’s lives, she would have gotten a lot more praise.
Rule #6 – Roll with the punches and don’t fight with the judges! This is probably one of if not the most important rule. The judges don’t want to hear excuses. They don’t want to hear that the photographer was messing you up or the other people in the photo were distracting you. Jayla tried to pull that excuse last season and the judges wanted no part of it. Each girl must realize that she is going to be critiqued – sometimes good and sometimes bad. Lluvy was in the bottom two for three weeks in a row but never snapped at the judges and always tried to take their advice. Therefore, she continued to hang around. In season four, Tiffany faltered during a challenge in front of the judges and wanted to give up, then began to tell the judges they were humiliating her. Even though the judges wanted her to win, they were done with her attitude and sent her home.
It doesn’t matter how much the judges like you – if you can’t take criticism, you will be eliminated. During season two, Camille was told that she didn’t have a good walk. However, she argued with the judges that it was her “signature walk” and it was going to make her famous one day. Has anyone heard or seen of her since? Exactly my point. If you want to succeed and gain the respect of the judges, you better not argue with them. Instead, take their criticism and comments seriously. Nicole proved that if you are willing to listen and work at it, you will win the competition.