Last week on Top Model, we were finally freed of the scourge that was Mean Girl Kristen (unless you happen to follow her on Twitter, but I’m not sure how anyone can do that while still maintaining a basic will to live). On a scale of one to Kim Kardashian, how shallow is it to be glad she’s no longer around to give us blondes a bad name?
Kristen’s elimination means that things have gotten real for the remaining contestants; the episode opens with all four of them wandering pensively on the beach and reliving the worst critiques they’ve gotten this season. For as much as Top Model has changed this cycle, the sentiments of the final four remain as rote and stale as ever. Everyone wants it! Everyone feels the pressure! Everyone thinks one or more of the other girls doesn’t deserve to be there! I’m not begrudging the girls’ feelings — of course they feel that way — but for the first time, I’m semi-excited that next cycle will feature male models too. Maybe a change in how the models experience and express emotion will make the final few episodes feel like less of a trudge toward the end.
Then the girls head to Half Moon Bay’s equestrian center for this week’s challenge. Laura talks about how much it reminds her of home, where her family has multiple acres and a pond, which as always seems wrong to talk about in front of once-homeless Kiara. Rob and Miss Jamaican Universe explain to the girls that they’re auditioning for the chance to be in a commercial advertising the resort. The catch? The scene will be on horseback in the ocean and, perhaps more terrifying, the girls are in charge of writing their own scripts.
Nastasia forgets her lines, while Laura and Kiara pull off some pretty solid performances. Leila is still traumatized from last week’s dolphin attack and panicks when her horse gets a little spooked. She manages to rally for her second take, but Kiara is declared the winner, and, since at this point the challenge winner has to absolutely tank her photo shoot to be sent home, I’m thinking she’s a shoo-in for the final three.
Next, the girls shoot ads for the Top Model fragrance, Dream Come True, which seems like a long fall from when the girls used to shoot Cover Girl spots. Nastasia is up first; in a voice-over, she says that she applied to ten colleges and got scholarships to all of them, which hasn’t come up yet this cycle and is legitimately impressive, but it doesn’t help her get the “magic shot.” Leila says she’s very nervous, mainly because she’s more high fashion than commercial, and it shows. Kiara has an emotional interlude with Bryanboy when she talks about how this is the first truly good thing that’s happened to her in life. Laura whines about this a little, saying she’s worked to be where she is, too, and I’m sure that’s true, but the familial wealth she has to fall back on makes it harder to root for her. Kiara’s an underdog, and I’d like to see her win.
At panel, Leila gets called out for being a little too sexy in her photo — Kelly uses the term “ba-bammy” to describe her, which I fervently hope becomes Kelly’s next catchphrase. Rob then bickers with her, saying that it’s the perfect amount of sexy. (Of note: Rob Evans’s legacy this season will clearly be his positive stance on sexiness.) Tyra was pleasantly surprised by Kiara’s shot, but Kelly tells Kiara that her picture is too "wishing well," as though she’s talking to a magical dolphin. (No, seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up.) Nastasia gets complimented for “the wonder in her eyes,” and Kelly loves how aspirational she appears. Finally, Laura gets criticized for being too sexy (if we could get some sort of sexiness matrix to clear all this up before the finale, that would be great) and for losing her edge.
Nastasia ends up being eliminated, and while it’s sad to see her go, since she was the most consistently kind of all of the contestants, it’s not surprising. I never had her pegged as the girl who’d go the distance.
And next week is the finale! I’m rooting the hardest for Kiara, but thinking that Leila or Laura will likely win.