In Wednesday night’s thrilling penultimate episode of America’s Next Top Model All Stars, we learned what vengeful goddess Tyra’s endgame really was—why she assembled these familiar faces and spirited them away to the enchanted island of Crete. If you’d guessed it had something to do with filming a glorified commercial for her bestselling novel Modelland, you’d be Tiresias, the blind soothsayer. But let’s backtrack a bit.
The episode began with another addition of Shit Reality Competition Contestants Say. “It’s like a huge deal,” Laura reflected on her best photo. “It doesn’t happen to people where I come from.” And cue the tears.
But things got more interesting when the ladies received a visit from Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, a woman whose sharp Italian bone structure was destined to cut these “models” down to size. Each of the contestants was tasked with writing a blog post about Crete from her personal perspective. Pick an outfit, pick a location, take photos, write a few hundred words, and bam—win a seven-night trip to Crete. Are you kidding? This was basically my dream challenge, except I’ll take a seven-night trip to somewhere closer than Crete, because I hate flying and hot weather.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to read what the models wrote, which I’m sure would have been a thrilling exercise in inanity. (Actually, Allison’s blog post was chastised for being too weird and over-the-top. Maybe she could recap America’s Next Top Model for Crushable?) Angelea won, because she found some graffiti and talked about living in the ghetto. A hard-knock story trumps all else, especially when Lisa’s second-best blog post was about her fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle. You ever been shot at, Lisa? Then no one cares.
The photo challenge this week was a two-day video shoot designed to bring Tyra’s novel Modelland to life in a motion editorial. Anyone who has ever doubted Tyra’s acting abilities need only watch the scene in which she shows humility after Jay mentions Modelland’s New York Times bestseller status. I believed it. Also rent Halloween Resurrection, because it’s kind of fun.
Tyra explained the plot of Modelland, but I zoned out somewhere around Tookie looking for a button in the garbage and becoming a cat. The shoot was fun, if only because it reflected Tyra’s batshit sensibilities. Lisa was given a baby doll and told to act deranged. Laura was forced to squeeze whipped cream all over her face. (Side note: they were setting this girl up for failure, right? “Now, don’t be too sexy, but here’s a dessert topping to slowmo jizz into your mouth.”) And poor naïve Laura, who actually said, “I feel like this is a really good time for me to really prove to her that I can be America’s Next Top Model.” Oh, Tookie.
As Angelea put it, “We’re doing mad different scenes. It was crazy.” And yeah, when Tyra told Allison to booty tooch as a cat and then rub blood oranges on her face, I realized we were witnessing something truly special. It did get briefly boring when Angelea decided it was her turn to cry. Yeah, we get it, Angelea, you’re tragically unpleasant. But Tyra put it all into perspective: “This is what the really good actresses do.” It’s true. She learned that one from Lindsay Lohan while filming 2000’s Life-Size.
And look—it’s hunky male model-actor Tyson Beckford! All snark aside, Tyson is comically sexy. When Angelea asked if she could hug him, he said she could but that he was a little sweaty. Like, please. But Tyra actually brought him for herself, so she could reenact a truly absurd scene in which Tookie tries to fellate some dude’s thumb. Seriously. Cut to a cave where Tyson is rubbing his digits all over Tyra’s face, and she fucking goes for the thumb. Will Tookie ever learn the real way to love a man? Pick up your copy of Modelland to find out! [tagbox tag="Tyra Banks"]
At judges’ table, we saw part one of the Modelland shoot. (That’s right—there’s more next week.) I give this motion editorial credit for managing to be equal parts weird and dull. I’m reasonably certain we were meant to take it seriously (Tyra said she almost cried when viewing it), but I’m still stuck on the whipped cream going in and out of Laura’s mouth. Like, we really needed to rewind that footage? As Andre Leon Talley so coldly noted, “She’s worn out with the whole hee-haw elegance.”
Judges’ deliberation was the longest. Ever. In. Top. Model. History. We even got a shot of producer Ken Mok walking onto the stage and demanding a decision. It was about as believable as Tyra writing a novel, but no matter. It all culminated in the most gutwrenching final two we’ve seen so far: Laura and Allison. Throw in public nudity and this was literally my worst nightmare realized. In the end, Laura went home and broke my heart in the process. I miss her already, but I’m trying to hold my head high. We’ll always have Wanda Sue’s country frocks and whipped cream.