‘America’s Next Top Model’ finale recap: The winner takes a fall


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‘America’s Next Top Model’ ended this week, not with a bang but with a whole lot of whimpering. This was the first finale in several cycles in which there wasn’t a clear front-runner. Brittani has a quirky, high-fashion look and a searing runway walk, but Molly had been taking pictures that made the judges drool all throughout their trip to Morocco.

What it really came down to was attitude. It turns out that a bad attitude alone won’t get you sent home, but if Tyra and the Jays are choosing between two fairly equally matched contestants and one is actually easy to work with, the model with a sunnier disposition will win every time. In the end, Brittani won despite her spectacular runway boo-boo because she was just easier to work with.


Then again, it may just because Tyra has a soft spot for women who can keep modeling through difficulty. During the requisite flashbacks throughout the season, Brittani was the girl who grew up in a trailer park and took care of her socially anxious mother, while Molly’s bitter crankiness stemmed from, as the voiceover put it, having ‘loving adoptive parents who’ve supported her every step of the way.’ Hmmm, tip your hand a bit, Tyra? During their Covergirl commercial, Molly got wound up and came across as a sour princess while Brittani managed to charm her way through it with ease. At the next photo shoot — this one for Beauty in Vogue — Molly was complaining like a starving Dickensian orphan because she was cold and someone forgot to put chicken in her lunch.

But where Brittani really started to have the upper hand sympathy-wise was when Molly’s parents, who did seem totally loving and adorable, showed up to the models’ apartment door in Morocco. Brittani had to settle for a video chat with her mom, who was stuck at home after back surgery, but she didn’t sulk about it. That’s some emotional maturity that brings home the big bucks, Brittani.

On to the biggest rodeo of them all: the Vivienne Westwood runway show, held in what looked like a really large restaurant. Kasia, Alexandria and Hannah returned to walk in it, as did last season’s winner, Ann, who looked like she had grown into herself considerably. Molly and Brittani had their hair teased to high heaven; they looked like what would happen if Dee Snider and Ziggy Stardust had children. Unforunately for Brittani, her finale look included some serious high heels and the combination of rose petals and a marble floor with her teetering get-up led to a massive, ankle-twisting spill at the end. She finished the show, but not without some backstage bandaging and tears.

Apparently the judges deemed the finale still lacked sufficient excitement, so both girls had redone makeovers right before panel, shearing both girls hair to Mia Farrow shortness for no readily apparent end. I was sure that the runway fall was the kiss of death for Brittani, but apparently Molly’s walk was, according to Andrew Leon Talley, ‘cheap-looking’ and her commercial was pure dreck. So Brittani joins the happy ranks of America’s Next Top Models. What do you think about the judges’ decisions? And what kind of havoc is Alexandria about to wreak on the All-Stars cycle? I will say one thing for Molly: She had the best outro of any top two finalists. No tears, no hysterics. She just looked at the camera dead-on and closed: ‘I am going to take a nap. And then eat a pulled-pork sandwich.’ As should we all, dear readers. As should we all.

-- Margaret Eby

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