In the 10th installment of America's Next Top Model: College Edition (is it still college-themed?), the model-hopefuls continue their Jamaican education by meeting Bob Marley's least-known progeny, slip-sliding down waterfalls, and confronting Tyra Banks' greatest fear (spoiler: it's dolphins). In other words, they complete a smattering of stereotypical Spring Break-style activities -- I realize as I type this that "Spring Break" would've been a much more logical explanation for the destination that Tyra's "I shot my first swimsuit cover here," but ANTM basks in the stench of missed opportunity, so here we are.
The episode opens with stock shots of Jamaican shores and obligatory shots of the Half Moon resort, where the cast and crew are being put up at an assumedly discounted rate. The girls saunter into their suite in floral wraps and briefly discuss anorexcellent Victoria's untimely departure while studying Nastasia's winning photo, which is plastered with hooker-ish compliments like "expensive." Trantastic Kiara admits that she'd commit murder to wear the coveted ANTM crown, and blonde bitch Kristen, who has likely already committed murder, declares her undying hate for everyone ever. Former front-runner (and part-time celery stick) Laura whines about gap-toothed Leila's reentry into the competition, claiming that Leila didn't have to cope with the stress of the Top Model house. I beg to differ, given that she was very likely quarantined in a low-grade motel for weeks with the other rejects.
(I suppose this is as good a time as any to pose this query: where are the other girls, exactly? If you go to the Cycle 19 Photo Voting page, you can see that the booted contestants are STILL PARTICIPATING in all of the shoots! That's right -- Vicki, Destiny, even Yvonne -- they're all in Jamaica, using the same sets, with the full knowledge that they'll never so much as taste the tainted glory of Top Modeldom again. Why? For filler shots in their portfolios? Contractual obligations? Just for the fun of it? I have literally lain in bed, sleepless, trying to make sense of this conceit, so if you have a viable explanation, I beg of you to offer it.)
The girls mosey on down to the beach, where they're greeted by photo director Johnny Wujek and Cedella Marley, first-born child of Reggae legend Bob Marley. Johnny mutters something awkward in a faux-Jamaican accent, a moment made doubly awkward by the fact that Cedella has no discernable Jamaican accent at all. For this week's challenge, the models will be wearing Cedella's exploitative swimwear designs, which feature silk-screened images of Bob Marley and phrases like "One Love" over nipples and cooches alike, as they strike touristic poses with the stuff of Tyra's nightmares: DOLPHINS. Laura lauds her own "healthy" body shape as her ribs jut out at uncanny angles, and nip-slips the crew at large as dolphins haul her from the water. Leila gets bitch-slapped by a dolphin, and Kristen just stands there, as per usual. In the end, lovable Leila is awarded the win, as well as some day spa package that she shares with Kiara.
Back at the house, Leila and Kiara pore over their prizes as the blondes glare from the corner. It would seem the bitchy white girls have fallen from their former Nylon grace - Laura stoically lends an ear as Kristen hard-core trash-talks the other girls in general, and Leila in particular: "I just wanna throw something at her ugly-ass face!" After this torrent of shade settles, the ladies step into the suite's lounge, where colorful, Texas-sized (thanks, Dallas BBQ) drinks await them. On their TV is negligible gay P'Trique, who sips from his own cocktail in front of a tropical green screen; he, unlike Jonte', was not deemed important enough to fly out, apparently. Because innuendo is so last decade, P'Trique provides straight-up facts about their upcoming shoot, using phrases like "babbling brook," "raging river," and "easy to fall." As per the previews, things are about to get weird on a waterfall.
The floozies arrive at their shoot location, where Johnny informs them that "the photographer is unlike anyone you've ever worked with before." Before he can specify that he means an egotistical sociopath with a history of jumpsuit violence, Miss Tyra Banks herself zooms in on a jet ski, tucked-to-impress in a Jamaican flag one-piece. The shoot's theme is "water warriors," and will be shot in black-and-white, because that's artsy, and they're creating art for Tyra to "hang up in [her] sa-lon" (I hope Andre Leon Talley's collecting royalties). Ty's definition of "art" is bedecking the contestants in arbitrary, low-grade props, which she decides to categorize by material. Leila gets wood, Kristen fabric, Laura shells, Nasti pipes (my new karaoke pseudonym), and Kiara metal.
Like every time Tyra photographs her own charges, she finds herself "surprised" by the varied performances -- namely Laura's, who tenses up on the slippery rocks and fails to find her limited angles. Kristen's habit-esque fabric hood keeps getting inundated with water, dragging her head back like the demon that she is. Nasti, styled like a mutant lagoon creature, drudges up some watery warrior realness, but it's Leila who really rocks (haha, puns) this shoot by sprawling her mantis body about in a manner I can only describe as "Gollum chic."
At panel, it's fairly obvious that one of the blondes will be heading home. Laura's bleached eyebrows are in dire need of a re-dye, and Kristen's pout rivals that of Donatella Versace. All the models-to-be have tropical flowers in their hair, and Tyra's look is "high-class trash" (a phrase coined by my friend Bridget), as she sports a Givenchy-style symmetry dress and 2005 crunchy-wet hair. Before doling out each girl's penance, Tyra busts out her janky Jamaican accent and explains her nightmare "where dolphins comin' down and bangin' me." Kristen and Laura get scolded for their flat, expressionless faces, while Leila receives perfect scores for her ano-gothic Jesus look, and Kiara gets snaps-up for her booty-tooch and hung tranny fierceness.
Although Leila is called first, Kiara's portrait will be the one Tyra pastes her own face over before hanging in her salon. Nasti is safe as well, which means celery-soul Laura and Satan-spawn Kristen are in a race to the bottom. Tyra rushes through her speech like a side-effect disclaimer before shooing Kristen out the door. Kristen imparts these words to live by before disappearing forever: "I don't really give a shit about any of these girls." Poetry! Tune in next week for some Equus water sport action and Leila having a meltdown. 'Til then, Fierce and Love, Nick ~
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