Hi, I'm Véronique, and I'm a Top Modelaholic.
It's true. Sweetie and I both are, and have been for several cycles now. We don't watch much TV, and we're not big fans of so-called reality TV, but America's Next Top Model is one of the few shows that's "must see" (or "must record" at least) for us.
If you haven't watched last week's double elimination episode yet, and you care, don't keep reading. There will be spoilers from here on.
We've been predicting the outcome each week for a few weeks now. One of the criteria of this cycle that has helped us do so is the fact that the winner will be featured twice in the Italian edition of Vogue magazine. This meant not only that the requirements were going to more demanding. It also meant that they were probably looking for a certain look, even more so than usual.
We knew Jane was not going to make it to the top two. We hadn't even expected her to make it this far. She has a gorgeous face, but for weeks she had been forgettable in photos. For the last few weeks, however, she had been stepping up her game. She did a great job with the ersatz vitamin water commercial. She started to take better photos. But in the end, I think it came down to two things. One is that as beautiful as she is, she is totally American cover girl (or even Cover Girl) and not Vogue Italia. It's like watching certain actors in period films—they just don't look like they fit. The other thing that undercut her is that she just never delivered any personality. A nice girl, but just not interesting, at least when it counted.
The big disappointment for us, though, was that Kayla was also eliminated. We've been Kayla fans almost from the start. She took great pictures. She overcame a serious problem with unresolved trauma that came from having been sexually abused (I hope she will get some help for that). And she was openly lesbian. How could we not like that?
Kayla had stayed in the middle of the pack for a while, but really stepped up her game toward the end. She looked extraordinary in the gondola shoot. We were thinking that she had just the kind of face they would be looking for. But something went wrong last week. She didn't present herself well to Francesca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia. She didn't really shine in the moving shoot that Tyra did. We were really surprised by that, because it seemed that she would have. She did well, but not great.
Still, we were suspicious of the actual elimination. Kayla seemed to be drawing criticism for things that that had drawn praise earlier. It didn't feel right. We wondered what was really going on. We both figure that the judgment of both Sozzani and André Leon Talley, being part of Condé Nast, must have carried a lot of weight this week. But we were disappointed and puzzled that they didn't want Kayla to continue.
So now we have Chelsey and Ann. We have never liked Chelsey. She has never taken great photos. I really don't find her look to be impressive at all. Her greatest asset has been that she knows the modelling business better than any of the other contestants and has a strong desire to win, and she reminded us of that constantly. She was always positive when facing challenges. She did the best job of presenting herself to Sozzani (and won the challenge), and then later had a great moving shoot.
Still, I just don't think she has the right face for Italian Vogue. I'm surprised the judges do. She looks very...American. Same as Jane, but in a different way. Kayla looks quite European, or can. She's a chameleon, which was to her advantage. But in the end, the judges wanted Chelsey to say.
And that leaves Ann. We've been Ann fans from the start. How could we not be? She seems so unlikely—freakishly tall and thin, painfully shy, not obviously pretty. Yet for five weeks in a row, she had best picture. On camera, she transformed herself into a top model in the making.
Things started to go south for Ann toward the middle of the cycle. No more best picture. Her confidence issues started to take over. Every time she faced something difficult, something negative came out of her mouth. She was great in still photos, but hopeless with things like the vitamin water commercial and any kind of runway walk. We still liked her, but we started to see that she was sabotaging her own chances, and that wasn't fun.
Yet two weeks ago, on the go-sees, she was the only one that the Vogue representative said he would have hired—basically because he loved her look and that tall, gawky body. And this past week, she pulled out stops we didn't know she had. She didn't do great in presenting herself to Sozzani, but she didn't do badly—probably second best. When she and Jane were left behind while Chelsey and her guest Kayla enjoyed the challenge prizes, they clearly had a really fun time, with Ann showing off just how smart and witty she could be. And finally, in the moving photo shoot, she really came through. Once again, the shy, awkward girl in the interviews turned into something quite different on camera.
Between Chelsey and Ann, we are pulling for Ann. Geek power! But we're sad that it's not a final between Ann and Kayla. That would have been a difficult choice.