top model in new zealand

once again, in the intro to this week’s episode of “top model,” tyra seems uncommonly perfunctory. we see her informing anslee that she needs to learn to model from the neck down, which involves tyra slapping her own thighs with great gusto. it’s like she thinks anslee is aiming for a career as a saddle bag model. “who do ya think’s gonna go home tonight?” tyra asks, sounding for all the world like she’s told herself she can’t have an oxycontin until she gets this damn voice-over out of the way. the editors give us a shot of jessica with her mouth hanging open in shock, which was my first clue that jessica was going to have a rough week. because the judges loathe her.

there’s very little house drama this episode, THANK GOD, because there’s actually a fair amount of real action this week. the girls are hooting over going to new zealand in the limo home from panel & we are reminded that alexandra was in the bottom two last week. “i totally deserved it because my picture was heinous,” she admits. we are also reminded that krista won first-class plane tickets to new zealand in exchange for getting first photo at panel, & has chosen to share her prize with angelea. they scream in triumph, but in confessional, angelea acknowledges that it’s still a competition, & she’s still going to have to keep an eye on krista. as the ladies pack, we get a hint of loser edit from alasia, who marvels over leaving the country after a lifetime in marietta, georgia. she says the other girls under-estimated her because they think she’s dumb or lacks common sense. that is a surprisingly self-aware thing to say.

first-class seats to new zealand look pretty awesome. krista & engelea each have their own little berth where they can actually lie down & sleep. they also each have an individual TV. there is a wall separating them, & krista is kicked back with a champagne flute & a tiara, ready to enjoy the ride. angelea keeps poking her head over the wall & suggesting toasts. yeah, that’s not going to get tiresome over the course of 22 hours. they laugh at the other girls heading back to coach & alasia sticks her tongue out at them.

jessica admits that she thought new zealand was “somewhere above canada or something”. because it takes 22 hours to fly to northern canada, amirite? she apparently confused it with newfoundland. looking out the van window in new zealand, she remarks that it looks like arkansas, & then she starts giving us a sob story about how hard it was to go straight from her parents’ house to being married with a child. which means we’re either seeing a loser edit or a really weird redemption arc.

the girls walk down a hill (a volcano, actually) & straight into a traditional maori welcoming performance. all these dudes are dancing around shirtless, wearing grass skirts & such forth. the girls look absolutely terrified. raina admits in interview that she has “never experienced another culture like this before. at first, it scared the crap out of me.” comments like that don’t do much to disprove my sixth sense that raina is a big fat racist, but the kind of racist who thinks she’s not actually racist. you know, the kind of racist who sees whiteness as the universal dafault & passively thinks that everyone else should try to be as white as possible, in word & deed. i just get an icky political vibe from her, which her horrifying “ghetto dance” from a few episodes does nothing to dispel. i haven’t forgotten, raina.

miss j. appears, accompanied by the tiny but smoking hot colin mathura-jeffree, a judge for “new zealand’s next top model”. they explain that new zealand actually has a fashion week & the producers aren’t just being cheap by sending them there. they point out cabs up on the top of the hill & tell the girls they have four & a half hours to meet with six new zealand designers for this cycle’s go-see challenge. i LOVE the go-see challenges. they just got off the airplane & a couple of them seriously look like ass. alexandra is wearing uggs & a cardigan that looks like nothing so much as a bathrobe. angelea’s hair is INEXPLICABLE. you know the episode of “friends” where everyone goes to barbados to support ross while he gives the keynote address at some paleontology conference, & monica’s hair reacts badly to the humidity & just keeps getting bigger & bigger? that is exactly what angelea’s hair is doing. i don’t even know what the solution would be, because it looks like a comb would not be able to win this battle. she ties a bandana over it & soldiers on, which…kudos. but she still looks totally insane.

she plots to go to the designer that is the farthest away & work backwards, giving her a possible edge over the other girls, who are racing to the same designer. raina runs past alexandra in a designer’s stairwell & snags the first go-see. not that it went so well. her walk is atrocious, though the designers interview that her portfolio is strong & they’d book her for a campaign. alasia asks for directions from people on the street & struts in swim wear. alexandra is beaten to every designer by a fellow competitor. angelea acknowledges that the designers are likely to recoil in horror from her hair, but she wows them with her patented cat claw move. they says she’d be “nice to have around”. that’s one way of putting it. the opposite of reality way.

jessica does surprisingly poorly at go-sees. the designers think she is too soft, pretty, & commercial, while krista is described as “teenage bambi”. if by “teenage,” you mean “methuselah’s grandma”. the designers feel that alexandra is too casual, in possession of bad skin, & has a body that isn’t right for runway. when it rains, angelea remarks that new zealand weather is “so weird”. krista observes that alasia’s walk is terrible. krista suggests that alasia would look more at home in church, clutching her pocketbook & praising the lord–which is a fucking dead on assessment. she definitely has a sassy church lady walk.

jessica, raina, & angelea race home toward the agency. jessica is back with time to spare, & angelea returns to the agency with plenty of time, despite managing to hit all six go-sees. alexandra is also on time. raina decides to get out & run to the agency. she’s late, & she looks like a drowned rat. everyone laughs at her. alasia leaves her map behind at a go-see & has to go back for it to get directions to the agency. krista is three minutes late, but alasia is 45 minutes late. angelea gives krista the hair eyeball & you can actually see her hair growing in volume & craziness by the second.

angelea wallops the competition despite her crazy hair–she books six out of six go-sees, compared to alexandra’s zero out of four & jessica’s one out of five. she wins items from each designer, as does krista, who got first photo last week.

the girls FINALLY go to their new zealand penthouse, which is decorated with huge photos of nicole & tyra. everyone goes to bed. in the morning, krista turns a cartwheel on the house runway & the girls admire a rainbow arching over the city. jared said, “just when you think the show can’t get any gayer.”

tyra mail: “all we need is one, the rest is just fluff.” the girls immediately start thinking that they’ll be interacting with sheep. that or hobbits–what else does new zealand have going on? the girls meet mr. jay & nigel out in a paddock somewhere & are informed that they’ll each be wearing a huge billowing black dress. the challenge is to stand out while modeling the same dress as the other girls. & they’ll also have to fight through the distractions of modeling with a big sheep. krista is apparently terrified of animals. nigel is the photographer.

alexandra is first & claims that she’s ready to bring face to set. she’s ready to start all over & get a great shot now that she’s made it to new zealand. nigel & jay love her–nigel says she has “fire & passion”. jay says she is “aristocratic”.

jessica is next & immediately falls down the hill & almost topples over the sheep. she actually tusn her back on the camera at one point & cannot get her shit together. she interviews that she was confused by the shoot because “the dress was so technological”. nigel & jay hate her.

nigel asks alasia what she’s thinking & she says, “i’m thinking about…the scenery.” nigel says he doesn’t believe her. alasia’s shoot is terrible. she says she’s going for “serene & peaceful”. doesn’t she remember what happened when poor brittany tried to be serene during last cycle’s ludicrous blackface photo shoot? tyra doesn’t want to see serene. she wants crazy hair & crazier personalities. alasia falls off a rock & bores everyone on set.

raina uses the trees, the rock, & the sheep, & nails the shoot, obviously.

angelea inquires if she can sit on the sheep. that’s a negatory, good buddy. she becomes obsessed with throwing her dress up in the air & allowing it to billow around her, despite jay’s recommendation to focus on her face & ignore the dress. she totally blows it.

nigel coaches krista through her fear of the sheep, & next thing you know, she’s rolling around on the ground, cuddling with she sheep. she sits on a rock & leans on the sheep, which annoys the sheep & he moves away. krista wipes out face first, nigel & jay are impressed with her dedication & concentration.

jessica & alasia admit they are nervous about panel. alasia says her biggest problem in this competition is “[her] film”. yeah, taking shitty photos would be a problem in a fucking modeling competition. these are not quite the brightest minds, here. jessica & raina ask angelea is she’s nervous, & she catches major attitude & tells them not to talk to her. but she admits in confessional that she is concerned about her shoot.

tyra is wearing another goddamn jumpsuit at panel. this one is purple & one-shouldered, & the shoulder has a huge shoulder pad in it. SOMEONE STOP HER.

raina is first up to be judged & tells panel that the sheep was named prince. this gives tyra a chance to show off her prince impersonation, which caused me to actually scream & recoil. they love raina’s shot, of course.

alasia’s photo sucks. it’s just her face peeping up over a big black billowing gown. ALT prefers the sheep.

alexandra again attempts to curry favor by catwalking to her X on the judging runway. her walk is mind-blowingly terrible. i seriously have no words to express my horror of her walk, but the judges don’t comment. they like alexandra’s shot because she is cuddled up with the sheep. they make no mention of the fact that it’s yet another up-the-nostrils shot, allowing them to see inside her brain, where constant sepia-toned loop of alexandra getting knocked off a runway by a swinging pendulum plays day & night.

i think jessica’s photo is the bomb. the dress is dramatic & elegant, jessica’s body language is strong, & the weirdest, shittiest part of judging is that tyra tells jessica that she is so pretty, she’s inherently commercial, so she needs to frown or grimace to make her face more high-fashion. which is EXACTLY what she’s doing in this photo. she’s angry-smizing. it’s a gorgeous shot–best of the bunch, in my opinion. & the judges are panning it (the guest judge says she “doesn’t like armpits”) because they don’t want jessica to win.

the judges praise krista’s cute purple dress. then they praise her photo, despite the fact that her eyes are literally pointing in two different directions. she looks how i imagine mr. gaunt’s son, the one who talks to snakes & then nails them to the front door, looks in harry potter & the deathy hallows.

ALT hates angelea’s dress. she says that it’s one of the dresses she won from the new zealand designers. tyra says it’s “cool, but cool for the club.” angelea takes the opportunity to do a slow club walk, waving to her admirers & using finger guns. the judges are horrified. there are no words. they also don’t care for her photo, which they say lacks personality. angelea also offered an armpit-to-camera photo, but gets no armpit-related critique from the guest judge.

the judges deliberate. nigel praises raina for moving all over set & exploring her emotional range. the judges hate alasia. tyra loves alexandra’s photo & says “it looks like she’s in pain & having an orgasmic moment at the same time.” nigel criticizes jessica’s relationship with her face & tyra says she is boring. nigel is impressed that krista “took advantage of prince, she was all over him!” the guest judge earns her bonus by saying that it was genius to dress each girl in the same dress. the judges dislike angelea’s photo & ridicule her “disco moment”. the guest judge says she is “traumatized” by it.

krista again gets first photo. alexandra, raina, & angelea are called next, but it’s worth noting that while everyone else is being called, angelea hangs her head in abject despair. when tyra gives angelea her photo, she also serves up a lecture on how unattractive angelea’s tendency toward self-pity & dejection can be. angelea cries.

jessica & alasia are in the bottom two. alasia has potential, but lacks focus. jessica is pretty, but commercial. sometimes she pulls out a photo that is “quite interesting,” in tyra’s words, which is apparently enough to stay in the competition. jessica weeps with gratitude & vows to practice every night. tyra calls alasia “miss pretty” & says she’s “the prettiest girl on the block”. how condescending. tyra tells her to focus & sends her packing. alasia acknowledges that she’s an amateur & admires the sunset while saying that she is proud to have made it so far.

all right, i think krista is going to win this whole thing, with raina as runner-up. angelea will be cut third when she can’t soften her delivery enough to sell cover girl. i think next week is the end of the road for unremarkable alexandra, & jessica will go home after that. because the judges hate her. & she’s obviously just too pretty & lacks the necessary edge required by “seventeen” magazine & cover girl cosmetics, amirite?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “top model in new zealand

  1. Dear Spinster Aunt Ciara, Emergency fashion advice needed!!

    Of course I cannot think of a better person to ask, since I know you are into fashion and know etiquette. Can you make a suggestion as to what I should wear to a May 15th wedding which requires men to wear a tie?

    I am so confused as to what level of dress or skirt ensemble I should wear. I am terribly afraid of being under or over dressed. This is a (Catholic) church wedding for my cousin (who is the bride) in Philadelphia and a reception at a fancy hotel.

    Also note i am an inbetweenie 14/16 size with a broad back and large waist. Any advice is welcome. I am at a loss since i am fashionably inept aside from the jeans & t-shirt department.

    1. a wrap dress will minimize broad shoulders & back. an A-line skirt will minimize the waist. the most flattering & appropriate length is just above the knee. pair that with two-inch heels & you’ll look great! it’s totally inappropriate to wear solid white, & prints should be demure. think florals, though you can’t go wrong with a solid color (but no neons!). i personally don’t think black is that appropriate for a wedding, but that’s an old-fashioned idea. still, i’d recommend a color. a jewel tone would be perfect for a spring wedding. something with a contrasting waistband or a wide belt will also help define the waist. modcloth has some great dresses that would be perfect. i am picturing maybe a floral wrap dress with some interest at the waist & a full skirt, or something high-necked with thick shoulder straps. you can’t go wrong with a filmy shawl either. it’s fine for the shawl to be black. but nothing whatsoever should be white or lacy! also, cotton is the most comfortable & tasteful. stay away from anything satin, & be forewarned that polyblends don’t breathe well & can be uncomfortable when you’re stuck wearing them for hours on end.

      basically, channel the elegance of michelle obama & try to imagine what you would wear to a fancy cocktail party. it sounds like there is little chance of you being over-dressed for this occasion, as long as you stay away from full-length skirts. the greater concern is being under-dressed, but you should be fine as long you are wearing something that fits well & makes you feel confident. i also always think an updo takes a more casual outfit to a higher standard of sophistication. even a simple bun would do the trick. keep jewelry to a minimum–maybe just some nice earrings. you can do whatever with the shoes as long as you’re not doing a platform (though wedges are acceptable). try to stay away from flats unless they are on the fancier side, like bejeweled or something. i find medium heels most tasteful, & you should paint your toenails or do french tips if you’re wearing peep-toes or sandals. any make-up should also be minimal–maybe just a little mascara & a tasteful lipstick. i think berries look nice. corals are in, but hideously tacky. good luck!

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