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America's Next Top... Cover Girl?

I swear, if Chantal won this season on America's Next Top Model, I was going to stop watching this series because I just could not take it seriously anymore.

Whew. Fortunately, Chantal didn't walk away with the top prize--the cover of Seventeen magazine and a $100K contract with Cover Girl Cosmetics (as Tyra reminds us each and every week)--but I was blown away by the fact that she was chosen first at the judging panel and guaranteed a place in the final two, a move which eliminated far stronger competitor Jenah, whom I believe could actually have a future in high-fashion modeling.

Rather than go into details about Top Model's season finale, which as usual featured yet another Cover Girl photo shoot and commercial, I wanted to talk about something else: the complete and utter disconnect between what the judges claim they are looking for and what they actually end up awarding the top prize based upon. Throughout this entire competition, the judges continually harraung the girls for not being high-fashion enough... or, in the case of eventual winner Saleisha, that she was too "commercial."

Which would be fine if the top prize was a photo spread in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar instead of Seventeen, which to me screams "commercial" at the top of its lungs. Its models may as well be modeling the latest J. Crew collection in the pages of its own catalogue rather than, say, Alexander McQueen or Vivienne Westwood.

Color me confused. I get that Seventeen and Cover Girl are corporate sponsors of Top Model and considerations need to be taken in hand in order to sate their own desires, along with the producers and the judging panel, that the winning model needs to be Seventeen-appropriate but having Chantal stand there next to the far superior Saleisha (who worked that runway like a professional with several seasons under her belt) was a slap in the face to the ideals that this competition claims to enforce.

Will Saleisha do a great job? Definitely. She's polished, poised on the runway, has an absolutely engaging and winning personality and definitely has that Cover Girl look (though I was glad to see that they fixed her hair for the post-cycle photo shoot), but I do wish that she would have faced off in the final challenge against Jenah, whose pictures, walk, and overall package clearly outshine that of Chantal, who--let's face it--is "cute" but amateurish and nothing special. To see Saleisha and Jenah go head to head for the top prize would have injected some much needed drama into the proceedings; Jenah takes some of the most amazing photographs ever seen on this series to date and has a confidence and edge that screams high-fashion.

To me, it was a foregone conclusion that Saleisha would win from the very moment Tyra called Chantal's name. Coincidence? Or did they want a more dynamic, confident, and editorial girl to win this thing?

In the end, I am happy that Saleisha won the top prize; she definitely deserves it and I do think she could have a future as a model as long as she tones down some of the shoulder movement on the catwalk and continues to use her sensational face. I do feel bad that the judges pushed Jenah to the point of tears (and, thanks Chantal, for saying that she couldn't be a role model for your little sisters) and then cut her from the competition even though her pictures are so sensational.

As for Chantal, I laughed my butt off when she tripped that guy on the stilts during the runway show. So at least she added that bit of amusement to the proceedings...


Anonymous said…
I was really bummed that Jenah didn't make it to the final two. Sure her attitude has been crappy the past few episodes but no one could outshine her at the photo shoots and she has always been superior to cutesy Chantal.

Yes, if they were only looking for a new Cover Girl or face for Seventeen magazine, Chantal's your gal. But if the show is about finding a Top Model (as they claim) who can do high fashion and kill on the runway, Chantal can't even come close. She was boring and bland on the runway...except for when she tripped that guys which was hysterical!

Happily, Saleisha took home the prize. I think she deserved to win but it would have been nice to see her up against some real competition at the end.
Anonymous said…
I agree 100% with everything you said. Every time Tyra said, "cover girl" I wanted to scream, "This is not America's NExt Top Cover Girl." The judges are totally contradictory. It's ridiculous that Jenah wasn't in the final 2. And, like you, when Chantal was called first, I thought, "Saleisha just won."

Jenah completely deserved to be in the finals. Chantal is one of the blandest, most forgettable contestants they've had on the show.

Stupid show.

can't wait for next season!
Anonymous said…
It's a running joke in the industry that this show exists. The only winner to make a dent in the industry was Danielle and even then, she mostly does catalogue work and some Cover Girl stuff. The girls are either too old or too plain to get jobs and the whole thing is just a way for fatass Tyra to self-promote. Will Salesha do anything worthwhile? Hardly. Will Tyra continue to roll onto bigger and better things? Absolutely.
Anonymous said…
seliesha is a cheater,...
she is too professional,..
she is already a model,...
thats why every time they will have a runway challenge she always win like what happen in episode 2 and the finale,...

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