So last night’s episode of “Top Model” was the grand finale, which I watched with the sincere hope that the show is actually aware of its all-consuming campiness. I mean, Tyra knows, right? Anyway!
If you didn’t know (how would that be possible?), the glorious final three was composed of Fatima, a gorgeous Somalian; Anya, a Russian/Hawaiian goddess; and (hold onto your chairs) Whitney, a pretty normal-sized, beautiful woman we at MTV News have totally been rooting for.
There were so many amazing, hilarious, and amazingly hilarious moments in the “Top Model” finale. (Like Miss J's rhinestone eyebrows. Note to whoever thought up such a facial accoutrement: I'll have what you're having.) My rundown after the jump.
· The episode began with a Cover Girl mascara shoot in front of the Coliseum in Rome. I took a shine to Anya, because her mind-melting amount of practice reminded me of how my immigrant mother sometimes repeats phrases in English until she gets them totally right. Aww. Otherwise, Anya and Whitney kind of sounded like weather women. Weather women who were on a mission to attain voluminous, separated, and curly lashes! Fatima, though -- her enthusiasm was akin to a woman who would host an episode of the E! channel's "Wild On" series. It's also worth throwing in that nobody on the shoot was having fun. Like, not even slightly. This is perhaps because eyelashes are so serious…?
· In fact, I'd like to take a second to address the Cover Girl crew, and say that next time you have a shoot being filmed for TV, it'd be in your best interest to act even more disinterested. I'd also like to shout out to Jay Manuel: if your look was inspired by my darling, pancake-faced, and lip-lined aunt, you totally succeeded. And Anya: when you wore that furry black hat and striped shirt, you looked exactly like Sarah from "Real World: Miami." Not sure where that places you in the haute-couture ranks, but it kind of warmed my heart.
· While I won't say anything negative about The Tyra (because I fear her?), I will say that I wish she'd perhaps…take her enthusiasm…to a safer level. Again, I am too afraid to get more specific here. Actually, forget it! Tyra, you’re perfect, don’t change!
· During judging, the great ex-supermodel (and Mrs. Ric Ocasek!) Paulina Porizkova looked at Anya’s black-and-white shot and exclaimed, "Here, you look stupid!" As bad as this kind of makes us feel, is it OK to admit that we enjoyed this moment? Don’t cry, Sarah from “Real World: Miami”!
· You know what’s truly great about this show? It’s the way Tyra (hi, Tyra, don’t hurt us!) is soooo understanding of the pain of being judged for physical beauty on national TV. Like, when Fatima got the boot, did Tyra just let her walk out of the room? No! The Diva soothed Fatima’s significant grief with the words “I’m so proud of you, you learned a lot!” I think I would learn a lot as a contestant on “Top Model”…Is it possible to intern there?
· The blonde-on-blonde final competition was a runway show styled by Versace, which is not a tacky and over-the-top brand. The show looked exactly like you thought it would -– but with a few added bonuses: The catwalk was covered in glitter! Like the title of that Mariah Carey movie! Do you know how much joy this brought me? Do you realize how badly I wanted to head to the nearest 24-hour craft store and drench my floors in the stuff? A truly magical touch. Also, the footage was divided between crisp shots of the women working it, and gritty, presumably handheld shots of the models and stylists flippin’ out backstage. If I edited this show, I would’ve used that “Here Comes the Hotsteppa” tune as the soundtrack, as this whole scene was totally reminiscent of the 1995 Isaac Mizrahi tour de force “Unzipped” -- without the actual famous people.
· Then, it was back to the judges’ table, and long story short: WHITNEY WON! In addition to her Cover Girl contract, her face on a billboard mere steps away from MTV's Times Square HQ, a contract with Elite, and the cover of Seventeen, she now joins the ranks of such luminaries as Eva Pigford, Yoanna House, Danielle Evans, and that girl who smokes a lot of weed, married Peter Brady, and wants a boob job. Wait, isn’t this competition supposed to make you successful and famous? Hmmm...
So now that this, um, “cycle” is over, what to make of Whitney’s triumph?
Tyra is a smart (albeit animated) cookie. She’s well aware that, while the winners of this competition aren’t necessarily runway material, they do have Cover Girl cover girl potential. “Full-figured” Whitney, more wholesome than a slice of apple pie that’s resting on top of a Bible that’s leaning on a baseball bat, is America’s Next Top Model for that very reason: she’s kind of the representative, very beautiful, face of our country. I cannot wait to see her face on a billboard. And I double-couldn’t-agree-more with Paulina when I say in regards to Whitney’s controversial figure that “This isn’t plus-size. This is beautiful.”