‘America’s Next Top Model’ recap: ‘Total dreckitude’


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This is the episode that you’ve been waiting for. Not the finale, not the inevitable back-stabbing fest, not the go-sees in a foreign country, not even the “Tyra acts like a photographer” one. No, the best episode of the season, we all know, is the makeover episode. And man, this one was a doozy. There were extensions everywhere, Mia Farrow haircuts, and unfortunate eyebrow decisions. And to top it all off: a double elimination and a very hungover-looking Patricia Fields as a guest judge. Plus, if we’re judging Tyra’s weave based on the Homeland Security scale (and I do), this one went from a relatively normal green straight up to high alert RuPaul orange, believability-wise.

So, the ladies were all a-flutter when Tyra came to visit their humble, high-modern Venice abode to deliver the news that the hour of makeover had come. Tyra was dressed like a ‘Newsie’ extra (really? Cap and suspenders?) but wasted no time concocting riddles about what each lady’s dramatic look change would be. When the models got to the salon—after some minor, totally weird drama over a fake “hair agenda” in which Lexie, Ann, and Sara detailed their own makeover predictions—they each departed on their own magical, high-fashion transformations.


There was the good, the bad and the boring. The good: Chris’ “Beyonce” weave that accentuated her face, and Jane’s super-long extensions. The bad: Sara’s darkened hair and bleached eyebrows that left her looking perpetually surprised, Kayla’s electric red muppet cut, and the decision to permanently widen the gap between Chelsey’s front teeth. The boring: pretty much everyone else. Terra started crying about her short haircut and Mr. Jay chastized her, hissing to Miss Jay that “you can find someone in a mall who poses better.” So it wasn’t a huge surprise when, in a surprise mid-episode elimination, the Jays sent Terra packing. (“I just wish they had eliminated me before they cut my hair!” she wept.) [Updated: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Terra’s sister Chris had been eliminated.]

This week’s photo shoot combined ANTM’s love of crazy costuming with the obligatory once-a-season challenge in which the models are hoisted into the air by some acrobatic contraption. (Are there really that many mid-air shoots in fashion magazines?) Each model portrayed an angel who had fallen to Earth because of (drumroll) her love for a mortal man—which means, of course, male models.

The assembled ANTM crew treated their modeling partners like girls meeting boys for the first time at the annual summer camp dance, flirting, blushing and hiding. The styling for this photo shoot was particularly awful. It looked like each model had been randomly daubed with glue and rolled on a dusty floor full of vulture carcasses. Each chose their own “kind” of angel. Maybe it’s just my Irish Catholic background, but they all sounded more like celebrity perfume titles than divine entities: “lust/desire,” “rebellious,” “predatory,” and “seductive,” as a sampling. All in all, it was much more Criss Angel than Michelangelo’s angels. Not to mention that those harnesses looked devilishly uncomfortable. Kim described them as “like wearing a Depends diaper, only made of metal.”

Regardless of the new makeovers, most of the models were terrible at the challenge. At judging, Tyra declared the film, collectively, to be dreckitude. Her anger seemed to inflate her hair, which achieved 1980’s aquanetted heights (think Christina Aguilera circa the “Lady Marmalade” video). The best of the bunch were the newly gap-toothed Chelsey, Kayla, and Chris. Ann broke out to get best photo for the second week in a row. She’s looking like one of the real forerunners of the season. The rest were in the dreck-filled bottom, and in the end it came down to the newly-brunette Lexie and the dreadfully-remade Sara. Lexie made it on the strength of her potential—but she seems like she’s not long for the competition. Kim and Esther were also pretty blah. And Sara is stuck with that makeover until her eyebrows grow out. Fierce?

Best Tyra lines:

“Give me a tour! How is the house? What about the farts and stuff?”

“As a woman, you feel a connection to your hair.”

“PREDATORY!” [Horrifying raptor face]

--Margaret Eby

Photo Credit: Sara from Cycle 15 gets her eyebrows bleached. Credit: Mathieu Young