Picture this, if you will: 16 young people from all over the world, who will pretty much be sure to go through life wearing a face that they keep in a jar by the door (thank you, Paul McCartney). The goal: to impress the judges enough so that they will believe one of them can be a - wait for it - supermodel. The most amusing thing about reality TV is that once there is a formula in place that becomes a hit, many other shows in its image will hatch like insect larvae. This show, no doubt, is an answer to the tremendous hit making machine that is America's Next Top Model (of which more later).
Bravo's Make Me A Supermodel is actually the sister show to its British counterpart. Host/supermodel Tyler Beckford (he's what we call smokin' hot in the trade) will be mentoring the boy toys this season, and show newcomer Australian supermodel Nicole Trunfio, will mentor the gals. Similar to ANTM, the winner gets a cash prize ($100K), a one year contract with a modeling agency, and a fashion pictorial in a big fancy magazine (in this case, Cosmopolitan).
This season's judging panel consists of international model scout and manager Marlon, supermodel Jenny Shimizu, French fashion designer Catherine Malandrino, and fashion photographer Perou (formerly a judge in the original British series). I can tell right away Perou is going to be trouble. In a good, reality TV-ish, that is to say bad, way. He's dressed like a gay, gothic, industrial futuristic book burner a la Montag in Fahrenheit 451 meets Alex in A Clockwork Orange. Between the judges and Nicole Trunfio, the stuck up quotient is turned up to 11. Oh yeah - one more thing: it's the opportunity of a lifetime and it begins...now.
The contestants are immediately marched to New York City's waterfront and line up to meet Tyson for the first time. One of the newbies tells the camera, "There is, like, Tyson, and there's this giant red box hanging from this crane, I'm like ohhhhhhhhhh my God." Tyson stands there gorgeously and tells them about their challenge, which is being photographed in pairs inside the giant box which turns out to be plexiglass, hanging suspended from a crane while they strike wild (but not porno) poses in sexy sleepwear.
Everyone pairs off and the final two consist of the extremely androgynous and very gay Chris, who looks more like a girl than some of the girls, and Branden who always looks angry and sad and lives with his mom in Oregon (can you say closet case?). Branden is sweating bullets because Chris is the guy he has to pose with. "It makes me a little worried, the gay problem between me and him, because I'm, um, especially not gay and I know he is." Surprise, surprise, they end up doing a bit of a bondage scenario.
One of the girls, Salome, is a 19 year old Mennonite waitress from Tennessee. Her parents believe that she is going to go to hell because she is showing her body, cutting her hair, and wearing makeup. This is great stuff, you gotta admit. Kind of like Big Love meets America's Next Top Model. Salome wins the posing in a box challenge (she also gives her partner an erection) and gets to go on a go-see to Catherine Malandrino's studio. She looks stunning in the clothes but gets low marks because her walk is, shall we say, uninspired. Where's Miss Jay when you need her?
The show ends with a runway challenge and the contestants wear some really freakazoid outfits, the best being Jordan's, which has weird squares of clothing sticking out on both sides. My money's on Jordan (she's a natural model, and bitchy to boot), Sandhurst (he is heart-stoppingly handsome - with a sexy accent from Trinidad and Tobago), and Salome (the 19 year old Mennonite who is going to hell for wearing skimpy clothes). They all make it through this week with flying colors, and personal trainer Ken (who looks like someone scary on the X-Files) is handed his book with the final words, "we cannot make you a supermodel." And if they can't, who can? Goodbye Ken, it's been real (or not).
Read more of Holly Cara Price's ruminations on the slings and arrows of outrageous pop culture at Snoop* Du Jour.