Bursting into the spring TV season with her usual dose of insanity and self-adulation, Tyra is back with another cycle of America’s Next Top Model. Can you feel the [perceived] fierceness?
We’re 3 episodes in, but I don’t have a lot to say about it yet. We’re still separating out the also-rans that don’t matter much, who get rejected for “relying on pretty” or “lacking in personality.” But there are a few stand-outs that seem destined to be around for awhile. There’s Celia who is “old” at 25, but is rocking the fact that she looks like a prettier Martha Plimpton. Allison is a weirdo with huge eyes that has a weird thing for blood. The girl with the strongest sob story is Tahlia, who is a burn victim with visible scars on her body. And then there’s Sandra, the anointed house bitch, who is really just a poor man’s Nnenna.
Speaking of which, I think in honor of this, the 12th cycle of Top Model, that it’s time to look back at the girls who really rocked the runway over the years. Maybe not the ones who were truly the best all the time, but those that made for good TV and great photos. Because at the end of the day – say it with me, kids – “it’s all about the photo.” So here they are, in chronological order.
The Top 10 Top Models
1. Elyse, Cycle 1
Waaay back in the day, Top Model was a very different show, on a tight budget and with a whole lotta Tyra (back when her ego fit through the doorway). At the time it seemed apparent that the girls were chosen more for personality (a model version of The Real World). Luckily amongst the crazies and fame whores we had pre-Med student Elyse. She was unabashed in her criticism of fellow contestants and the judges – her confessional meltdown is legendary! And since her time on the show, Elyse really got the last laugh – she’s constantly doing very edgy editorial work throughout Asia, and even wrote a book about her life.
2. Toccara, Cycle 3
The third cycle was so full of big personalities and hilarious breakdowns. Remember Yaya spitting out the product in her Japanese commercial? But amongst them all sauntered in the first true plus-sized contestant who really owned that identity. She’s been a full-figured personality ever since, becoming a reality TV staple.
3. Naima, Cycle 4
I have to admit I’m a bit biased in favor of Naima and her win. Her cycle was the first I saw, and sucked me right in. Watching soft-spoken Naima triumph over her detractors (eat it, Keenyah) was so delicious. And it was our first really pleasant finale, as she faced off against the noble Kahlen. Naima has always been quiet class (just don’t ask her to sell you Cover Girl – eek).
4. Kim, Cycle 5
The first girl to embrace a look of androgyny on the show was Kim, who butted heads against a lot of bull-headed beauties. Her attempt to “mediate” in the Great Granola Bar Scandal was hilarious in its misguided intention. But of course nothing was more fabulous than lesbian Kim’s crazy make-out moment with big-lipped Sarah in the limo.
5. Joanie, Cycle 6
Oh yes, here she is, my all-time favorite. Joanie is totally my top model 4evah! If there was ever a girl who was cheated out of a win on this show, it was Snaggletooth. She survived horrific dental surgery while consistently delivering some of the best photos in ANTM history. All that and she had to put up with a certain diva named…
6. Jade, Cycle 6
Jade. FUCKING JADE. How many times did I type those words back in the day? I know you think I’m crazy to put “leftover lady” on this list, but let’s face it – bitch made some damn fine television. Her insane antics and deluded manner have never been matched since. In fact, I think nuttiness on ANTM should be measured on The Jade Scale.
7. The twins, Cycle 7
OK, so I’m cheating a bit here. But you know it was twice as satisfying having identical twins on the show who both turned out to be very good at being a model. Throw in Michelle’s onscreen confession that she might possibly be a little bit bisexual (and coming out to her mom on the phone while Amanda was there for emotional support)…classic.
8. Dionne, Cycle 8
She could be a really fierce model, but Dionne makes the list by virtue of a single moment on the show. Read the delicious memory of Dionne’s daughter in my old post.
9. Jaslene, Cycle 8
You know I gotta pick my cha-cha diva! Say what you will, but she’s had more work (consistently) than any other past contestant that I’m aware of. Yeah, so she still has an accent thicker than Henry Kissinger’s. But she knows how to work that camera like nobody’s buisness.
10. Heather, Cycle 9
Normally I don’t get sucked into Tyra’s blatant attempts at sob stories on this show. But the story of Heather and her challenges with Asperger’s Syndrome sucked us in and we rooted for her week after week! So what if her walk was worse than Lurch – she took truly amazing photographs. And that’s what it’s all about, right?
So that’s my list! Clearly the girls from the last couple of cycles haven’t made much of an impression on me. What are your favorites? Anyone on this list you’re shocked to see? And who’s your early favorite for Cycle 12?