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Though AMAZIAN castmate Manila Luzon will clearly be his fiercest, pretty-as-a-picture competitor, we can’t help but think that Raja–the frontrunner after last night’s Season 3 premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race– has the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent to take home the big queen prize. Raja’s got legs that never seem to end. Raja owns a catwalk like Rupert Murdoch owns people. Raja is ROWR!
And like the iconic Ru before her, Raja–otherwise known as Sutan Amrull–looks just as beautiful (if not more) as a man:
Continue reading BABEWATCH: Sutan Amrull/Raja
Filed under: Adam Lambert, America's Next Top Model, Awesomeness, Beautiful People, Charisma Uniqueness Nerve Talent, Draq Queens, FTW, Gender Benders, Looking Fierce, Makeup Artist, Manila Luzon, Raja, Reality TV, RuPaul, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3, Sutan Amrull
Tyra Banks is the Mistress of Babble. She’s usurped the word “fierce” from drag queens and publicly abused it to the point that it’s been emptied of all meaning and packs the same linguistic punch as clearing one’s throat. Her biggest contribution to the English language, “smizing,” or “smiling with your eyes,” is a made-up modeling term that’s also a paradox, something she’s defined in the past as “squinting with your eyes open” (and something that I happen to really suck at).
Her crazy talk extends beyond modeling to the “social” ideas she explores on both her talk show and America’s Next Top Model. Remember when she put on a fat suit for a day to understand what it was like to be the victim of what she called the “last form of open discrimination that’s okay”? Or when she had the Cycle 10 ANTM contestants “do” homeless, posing with real-life homeless youth, and told the models she understood what it was like to live on the streets because she (again) did it for a day on her talk show?
Filed under: America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model Cycle 13, ANTM, Blackface, Essentialism Is So Fun, Paradoxes, Portraying Races, Racial Drag, Smiling With Your Eyes, Smizing, The Tyra Banks Show, Tyra Banks
America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12 starts tonight, and we’ll be watching even though it doesn’t appear there are any Asian sistas on the show this season, which is weird, since the fashion world is supposedly embracing more of our peeps. (I was holding out hopes for “Fo”–did someone say noodles?–until I watched her audition tape.) But we all know ANTM isn’t about fashion or diversity, it’s about hissy fits, drrrama, and smiling with your eyes.
At least the promo images for the show have the contestants looking like us. And when I say “like us” I mean they’re in full geisha maquillage, an orgy of origami flying all over the place.
Alas, alack, we’ll have to wait ’til next year for an Asian-American Top Model. Sheena Sakai was eliminated from ANTM last night after turning in another boring photo, which seemed to be her only way of responding to the judges’ constant criticism that girlfriend was too hoochie. Despite my enthusiasm for Sheena in the beginning, she was starting to work my last nerve, always picking fights in the house and getting on her soapbox, spoken word-style, about things that were really none of her beeswax, like Marjorie’s shyness or Elina’s control issues (both tired subjects, admittedly). She did handle her exit with restraint, however, without tears or drrrrrrama or uttering that horribly cliché but now de rigueur reality TV closing line, “This isn’t the last you’ve seen of (me in the third person).” Okay, she offered up a version of that–”I’m not going to be forgotten”–but then contradicted herself immediately with “and hopefully, I won’t be,” as though she had finally seen the bullshit in her own bluster. Was this a farewell to fakery for Sheena Sakai, i.e. what is she going to do about those boobs? Tits not for me to say, really.
After watching enough seasons of America’s Next Top Model, I know one thing for sure: models can’t fuckin’ read aloud! This is why they cry, sweat, chainsmoke, and vomit before they do a commercial challenge, because they know that few models were meant to speak. I’m still waiting for the day when one of the aspiring contestants gives up the soundbite: “I’m skinny and pretty, can you believe they want me to walk and talk, too?” or “They never make them say anything on Project Runway!”
So I guess we should be giving professional model Chanel Iman credit for getting through the copy for her OnexOne.org PSA with a relative few stumbles.
But when talking about the lives of impoverished children, a glassy-eyed read and a closing wink seems a little…glib, doesn’t it?
For those of you unfamiliar with the makeover episode of America’s Next Top Model, know that it typically brings out tears, and I’m talking Niagara-like lacrimation. When Cycle 11′s aired last week, the person who did the most crying over her new look was Elina Ivanova, a 19 year-old originally from Ukraine, to whom the show inexplicably gave the hair of the creepy, ‘roided-out comic Carrot Top. Elina hated her fiery weave–which was heralded as a first in “Top Model History,” undoubtedly for its aggressive fugginess–but she managed to move past that and win the swimsuit photo shoot in the end anyway.
As a rule, the previous week’s winning shot goes up in the contestants’ house the following week to motivate the other girls. Elina’s photo was shown several times over the course of last night’s episode, with some flattering quotes from the judges captioning it, one of which was “ethnically ambiguous.” Tyra had told the aspiring model the week before that that was how the new hair made Elina look, and she meant it as a compliment.
The phrase “ethnically ambiguous,” however, strikes me as praise of the backhanded variety. Often, it’s really just a gentrified way of saying “not too ethnic.” Or “not too dark.” Or “not too slanty-eyed.” Or “not too flat-nosed.” In August, before New York Fashism Week, a top casting director for the shows told Models.com that one thing the fashion world is embracing right now is precisely that imprecise look:
“Another thing this season is trying to discern from all the girls out there the ones that are ethnically ambiguous. Girls and boys that have faces that you can’t just put in a certain place or race or geography. I think it’s very helpful to see those types of faces in our conflicted world because you can see that we’re still evolving as humans and they are the results of people willing to go beyond the socially constructed notions around race…“
And, you know, he may be onto something, in terms of “socially constructed notions around race,” but what about our socially constructed notions around beauty? Is this latest notion of beauty a reflection of globalization and the world getting smaller or is it spin on an old idea, that “ethnic” faces are beautiful so long as they still conform somewhat to Western standards of beauty (i.e. so long as they still look kinda white). If faces that can’t be put in a certain place, race, or geography are desirable right now, what about faces like mine that most certainly can? Are they yesterday’s news? Are they a bit played? Should I stow my face for a few seasons like all those smock dresses I wore in 2006 until ethnic specificity makes a comeback? This comment about ethnic ambiguity was cited as the second key fall trend; the first was “the tomboy look.” Now it’s easy to go out and get a bowl cut and boyfriend jeans and copy Katie Holmes, but it’s not quite so simple to change your ethnic makeup. And since ethnic ambiguity is considered a “trend,” that means it’s only a matter of time before people tire of it and it will be replaced by something else. What will the “ethnically ambiguous” do then? Make themselves “more ethnic”? Play up the racial drag–kink that hair, chink that make-up? Go into hiding?
I think I have some space for the ethnically ambiguous in the back of my closet when that time comes, somewhere alongside all of my pointy-toed flats, boot-cut jeans, knee-length A-line skirts, those smock dresses that made me look preggo, and that pair of purple McQueen corset boots that would look killer on a pirate moonlighting as a hooker. In the meantime, it’s here in the dark, cluttered recesses of my closet where you’ll find me and my ethnically unambiguous face, as we wait for everything old to become new again.
Filed under: America's Next Top Model, ANTM, Elina Ivanova, Ethnically Ambiguous, Ethnically Unambiguous, Fashism, Mixed People, People as Accessories, Stupid Fashion Trends, Trends, Tyra Banks, Ugly Weaves
Sheena Sakai got busted for having fake TyTys last night on America’s Next Top Model. Paulina Porizkova asked her flat-out (so to speak) if her breasts were fake and Sheena said, “No, Ma’am,” which I imagine made the 43 year-old judge vomit in her pretty mouth because cool chicks married to rockers don’t cotton to being called “Ma’am.” (By the way, have you ever wondered what Paulina and Ric Ocasek talk about, like, over breakfast?) But Sheena had a change of heart and came forward again after all the girls had been addressed by the judges to, as she said, get something “off (her) chest” (around the 5:00 mark):
Which was an incredible set-up for Tyra to then have her Oprah moment and tell Sheena:
“I knew your breasts were not real. But one thing that I feel is absolutely beautiful is that you stepped forward and you said, you know what, I’m gonna tell the truth.“
And that’s when I vomited in my pretty mouth.
PREDICTION: After ANTM Cycle 11 is over, Tyra will have Sheena on The Tyra Banks Show for a Fake-Tits-Are-Baaaaaaaaaad story, we’ll go into the operating room with Sheena as she gets them taken out and Tyra holds her hand, telling her how “brave” she is, how beautiful she is on the inside and out, and how she’s a wonderful example to young girls everywhere.
*sighs and golf-claps*
Filed under: America's Next Top Model, Being Brave, Coming Clean, Fake Tits, Fakies, Golf Claps, Paulina Porizkova, Ric Ocasek, Sheena Sakai, The Truth, The Tyra Banks Show, Tyra Banks, Vomiting In Your Mouth
Duuude. I love Sheena Sakai, the lone Asian-American contestant on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 11, which premiered last night. Even though she does have, as our friend Ty pointed out and this Newsday story seems to imply, a man-face:
And despite the fact that the judges have already compared the native Hawaiian to DISGRASIAN Hall-of-Shamer Kimora and are calling her “Kisheena,” and that she didn’t backhand the dumb sow who told her she had an advantage in the competition because she was the “only Oriental girl” (around the 1:11 mark of this video). Still. Love. Tha. Bitch.
Work it, Sheena.
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: If you want to know who the finalists will be this season on ANTM, click here.
Filed under: America's Next Top Model, ANTM, Hawaiians, Kimora Lee Simmons, Kisheena, Man-Faces, Reality TV Contestants, Sheena Sakai, Trannies, Tyra Banks, Using the Word Oriental Makes You Sound Like a Dumbass
Last night’s America’s Next Top Model was laugh out loud funny, because the girls, who are in Rome, had to film a Cover Girl commercial in Italian. Right around the 3:23 mark is when you hear America’s Next Top Drag Artist Dominique speak Italian like you’ve never heard it before, prompting director Piersandro Buzzanca to say, “To me, it was Chinese.” As a Chinese speaker, I have to say a) please don’t put that whatthefuckery on us and b) to me, it wasn’t a language known to man.
We’ll admit– we’ve watched ourselves a whooooooole lot of America’s Next Top Model over the last nine seasons. And yet, we were ready within the minute to jump on the model mogul as soon as we saw her do this in Cycle 9′s eighth episode:
…as she told the remaining six girls in the competition that they would be taking their posing act to China. Good god, haven’t reality producers learned anything from the shark jumper that is Survivor: China? That land is not your gold mine. It is merely a reality recipe for disgrace.
But we didn’t disgrace her just then. We decided to wait and observe the results of the models’ visit in the following episode. Please observe a sampling:
…OH YES, everything you see is true, from the ching-chongy electric score to the staged martial artists’ attack, to the flurry of these one-liner gems:
shopping shopping shopping, like a whole bunch of shopping!”
I felt like we were part of the Jetsons or something!”
Oh god. No more. We think about 30 million of our brain cells just committed ritual suicide out of shame from bearing witness to that drivel. China is foreign! China is crazy! China is filled with little loud people that love rice and do kickflips in pajamas!
Hey, hey, of course we knew that Top Model in China was gonna be bad, we just didn’t know it was also going to be so frickin’ LAME. Though the show’s first encounter with the motherland didn’t anger us like we thought it would, it still gave us the icky tingles all the way through.
And yes, there’s a chance that next week will be far more deserving of the DOTW dishonor, but frankly, we don’t have the stomach to sit through another hour of this crap hunting for it.
an assault to the ears of gonging sounds that occurs in movies and television whenever someone or something Asian appears onscreen. see: Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles.
one who participates in the crime of gongbanging.
After watching America’s Next Top Model last night, during which Tyra announced at judges’ panel that the remaining contestants were “going to CHIII-NA!!!”, my ears felt like Jodie Foster on the pinball machine in The Accused. Damn, Tyra, I give you props for putting trannies, cross-dressers, voguers, Janice Dickinson, and other people who scare the bejeezus out of middle America on your show, but gonging while you screech the word “China” is so played. Don’t get me started on the lions, that chinky fan you were awkwardly dancing with, or those low-rent martial artists you had swinging swords off to the side of the panel.
Has your BFF Kimora “Chinky Giraffe” Lee Simmons given you a talkin’ to yet? Because if she doesn’t beat your ass, I sure as shit will.
Ever since the UPN-WB networks merged into the CW, it’s all gone to shit. They’ve canceled Veronica Mars, which became trivial this year after abandoning the format of a year-long, whodunnit story-arc, and long-running shows like Seventh Heaven and Gilmore Girls (don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful on both counts). Smallville and One Tree Hill are both returning and they’re tripe. It says something when America’s Next Top Model is the CW’s only crowning achievement, and when they’re conducting ANOTHER SEARCH for the next Pussycat Doll. Aren’t there enough already?
Fittingly, the CW Upfronts party, held at the Buddah Bar in New York, was a sad affair. This poor girl had to serve drinks there:
The first time I saw this photo, I wasn’t sure if this cocktail waitress was dressed as a Geisha or a suicidal clown about to stab a kid in the eye with a balloon animal. Is it my subconscious talkin’ or does she look like she’s got a cleaver stuck in her skull? What do you call that hat/fan/cleaver? Is that what people are talking about when they say “ASSHAT”? And why do those drinks she’s serving look like POO?
Here’s the upshot. Laura Palmer’s dad was at the party.
Oh shit. I just scared myself.