Models on Stilts ~ ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Cycle 17 Blog (‘ANTM’)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on October 1, 2011 0 Comments

I guess modeling on stilts is the new thing for fashion centered competition reality shows.  A few weeks ago ‘Project Runway’ had its first outdoor runway with models on stilts and now ‘America’s Next Top Model’ does a fashion shoot with the models duded up like circus performers.  I can’t be cynical; modeling on stilts is pretty effing cool!  I think this challenge produced some of the most stunning pictures in ‘ANTM’ history. 


                This cycle continues with the branding theme.  Early in the show Kristin Calvallari came knocking at the models’ McManshion to spread the gospel of branding oneself to a degree that they too can dream of being cast on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competing against Nancy Grace and her wayward nipple.  Later the gang was carted off to meet Mario Lopez where they competed to be the best interviewee.  Trying a different tact, the producers had the girls choose teams with the knowledge that no one from the winning team could be eliminated – high stakes for ‘ANTM’, it leaves models with middling photos at risk for joining the catwalk strut of shame.  Unexpectedly Allison Harvard won. 


                For the stilt photo shoot the models were paired up with one girl from both the earlier winning and losing teams; meaning that the pressure was really on for one of the models per setup. 


                Shannon Ratiff is in the middle of the pack.  She posed with Alexandra and I don’t remember if she was on team ‘win’ or team ‘lose’.  I did love how she isn’t letting Mr. J’s smack talk get to her.  He bitchily asked her if she was satisfied with what she was wearing (referring to her fussiness about wearing underwear for the first week’s shoot).  She cheerfully told him that she had already checked and she was wearing a bathing suit which she was fine with it.  Once again, I like how Shannon demonstrates that you can tell people ‘no’ within reason no matter what your profession.  I think this models a great life lesson for young women watching the show.  Sure, you are hired to do a job, but that doesn’t mean you can be forced to go over a line – especially if you have been straightforward about where you have boundaries.  Bravo Shannon, you aren’t going to win but you are definitely making an impression!


                Camille McDonald was paired with Isis during the shoot.  She is also in the middle of the pack.  She kind of had a blank look in her photo, but I thought her face was beautiful.  The judges didn’t quite understand Camille’s hand in the air nor her explanation that she was channeling the spirit of carnival from her homeland.  On the positive side, she doesn’t seem to be making any waves back at the models’ abode.  She was also on team ‘win’ so only Isis had to worry about getting the boot.




                Lisa D’Amato is working the personality angle although the judges wish she would take it down a notch.  She dressed in some pant monstrosity for judging panel for reasons unknown.  However she knows how to work it even when Nigel Barker makes a distasteful comment asking if she ever poses with her legs close.  Next time someone kids (like CariDee winner of cycle 7) that Barker has a stick up his asset then perhaps he should look back and remember what he said to Lisa. 




                Brittany ‘Bre’ Scullark was paired up with Laura and I think they created a visually stunning photo.  I agree with the judges that Bre’s face could have been stronger, but body placement wise this photo is what Rachel Zoe often calls, “a fashion moment.”  I think Bre is in the middle of the pack. 







                Bianca Golden was on team ‘win’ so her fear of all things creepy crawly or dangling from great heights made little difference since she was going to be safe no matter what.  However despite debating if she even wanted to complete the shoot she swallowed her fear and posed with Lisa.  I don’t know how many shots were usable, but I liked how she almost used her fear to get a good photo by posing under Lisa’s leg.  I believe she is one of the top girls, but I don’t think she will win the whole enchilada for reasons such as debating if irrational fear is a good reason for not participating in a shoot despite the fact that the women were all wired up with people spotting their movements.   


             Dominique Reighard I think is doing fairly well.  I would judge her being in the high middle in the competition.  Her picture wasn’t necessarily stunning, but she tried to be different.  She was paired with Kayla and despite Kayla’s awesome orange earrings (I’m not kidding, I really liked them) Dominique dominated the photo.  I think with longer hair (or just more hair) she is able to work her facial structure better.  Plus, she was known in her season for wearing butt ugly fashion to judging panel and I think she is now more mainstream in her ensembles.  Good for her. 




                Isis King: from first call out to packing her bags and leaving all within three weeks.  I didn’t think Isis would win, but I did think she would be around for a little while longer.  She was unlucky enough to be on team ‘lose’ so I don’t know if that made much of a difference.  What I do know is that I didn’t have a problem with her being on the program; however I can understand some issues others might have with her presence on the show.  Let’s face it, not only are there are a lot of gay men involved in the fashion industry, many of these men are in positions to dictate what exactly is fashionable and what is not.  This isn’t detrimental on the surface except in terms of an overabundance of mainstream designers who design clothing only for women that are under the national average in size.  And despite all the flack I send Tyra Banks way, she deserves credit for doing work publicizing that beauty does come in all sizes.   


          My main point about the designers is that their perception of the perfect female body tends to be bodies that are very flat and streamlined with little curves that, in many ways, is more reminiscent of a male body.  Although Isis has literally changed her sex, she can’t remove her DNA that probably allowed her to be taller than most women and to have a fashionable better body fat/muscle ratio.  With more and more transgendered models (both with and without the operation) making waves on international catwalks a question arises about transgendered models replacing individuals born with uteruses.  Bear with me here, I don’t think that will logically happen but already women size eight six and above are nearly invisible in most fashion shows.  Historically speaking as well, many cultures have had men perform on stage as if they were in females often for reasons involving the perceived inferiority of women in one way or another.  I think my friend’s reaction about not being at ease with Isis is the fact that she likes the idea of modeling being a primarily female occupation with allowances of men modeling for the less lucrative male clothing industry.  I believe attitudes will change and if XY individual identifies more with as an XX people will be accepting of their choices be it body modification, profession, or fashion ensemble.  I’m just hoping that the fashion industry as a whole embraces more people despite their gender or bigger bodies.  Isis is a trailblazer and ‘Top Model’ should be congratulated for putting her story front and center. 


            With that said, you know how earlier I talked about how Isis can’t completely divorce herself from her DNA?  Well, there were some angles of her in this episode made me think that she might have a slight problem with male patterned baldness.   She seemed unsure in the last two photo shoots.  So if she was an ordinary model, she probably would have been sent home. 


          Now I’m completely going to go off grid, and make a few comments about ‘Project Runway’.  I’m tired of so many of their designers whining about designing for women who are not model size because guess what?  Most women aren’t size nothing.  At some point I hope ‘PR’ does some sort of challenge where these numskulls have to design for real women by going to Mood with the purpose of making a woman of a bigger size look smashing without some sort of novelty challenge – like having the husbands/boyfriends help design the outfit.


           Allison Harvard not only won the interviewee challenge but she won first callout.  Earlier in the episode she voiced concern that she didn’t quite feel like she was making a splash in the competition.  I think she has a possibility to win and I also think she has a natural ability (or it could be from working behind the camera) in front of the camera.  In her picture with Angelea she stuck her booty out a little bit further by arching her back and therefore Tyra smized out a new fashion term called ‘booty tooch’.  Maybe it’s me, but booty tooch is no smize. 



            Laura Kirpatrick is so adorable!  She is definitely in the running for taking home the crown fifteen minutes of notoriety.  She made the modeling on stilts look cuddly.  She was near the top of the call outs.  She was so loveable that she was dancing with one of the stilt instructors.  








            Angelea Preston lived up to her ‘girl from the hood’ label.  Apparently Nigel wasn’t overly taken with her during her interview with Mario Lopez.  I think he wanted her to bring forth a bit more personality while she wanted to come off as more professional thus she was confused by the criticism.  Back on the model bus however she was all attitude and was ‘bitch this’ and ‘bitch that’ and acting every bit as a hood rat spreading her unpleasant aggressive insecurity.  During judging panel she stopped everything and asked Nigel about what exactly he wanted.  Nigel was pleased that she wanted to understand what he was looking for. 


             I think Angelea is going to fade from the competition.  I noticed that her skin is not the best and the kind of attitude she demonstrated on the bus isn’t one that wins ‘Top Model’ – you can have an attitude, you just have to know when and where to display it and if you have attitude you better sure as hell also have heart.  Both she and Isis were on the bottom, but in the end it was Isis who went home and packed her bags.


           Kayla Ferrel hasn’t yet to demonstrate the kind of pictures that got her so far in her cycle.  She was on the lower end but thankfully wasn’t one of the bottom two.  Oh, as I said earlier, I really liked her earrings.







          Alexandria Everett is doing well in the completion and despite not being a fan favorite.  I have to admit that her last two pictures have been amazing.  I am fearful that she might go far in the competition. 


         That’s it for this week. For more info on the show check out the show’s official website here.


          Here is a link to the last blog entry.

‘America’s Next Top Model’ Super Duper Cycle 17 ~ ‘ANTM’ ALL STARS Blog  



Westerfield © 2011

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