America's Next Top Model Review: There Could Only Be One
The inevitable moment for which we’ve all been waiting, or at least saw coming: the announcement of the girl who is recognized by the AMTM gods as having the potential of being America’s Next Top Model and who is awarded with a contract with IMG Models, “one of the top model management companies in the entire world,” a spread in Italian Vogue Magazine, a cover of Beauty in Vogue, a six-page spread in Beauty in Vogue, a feature on vogue.it, which is Italian Vogue’s website, and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl cosmetics. Runway blunders, lost challenges, runner-up for best photo, and insulting clients notwithstanding, Molly and Brittani learned which one of them would join the ranks of classic, fan favorite ANTM winners Yoanna, Eva, Danielle, CariDee, Jaslene, Saleisha, Whitney, Teyona, and Krista who have come before.
On the shuttle ride home from last week’s elimination, Molly and Brittani reflected on the pre-ANTM road that they traveled to get them where they are. Molly experimented with drugs and then went to a rehabilitation clinic when she was younger. Brittani lived in a trailer park, and she and her mom were on welfare for the first eight years of Brittani’s life. Then during interviews, Molly and Brittani evaluated each other. Molly recognized that Brittani has a better runway walk than she does although Molly has gotten best photo three weeks in a row. Brittani admitted that Molly takes great shots although Brittani is more high fashion than Molly. Molly’s obvious weakness, as she admitted herself, is that she is not Cover Girl-esque. Portraying the traditional image of a Cover Girl will employ more acting skills for her as opposed to natural charm. The next day, Ivan Bart, senior Vice President of IMG Models, sat down individually with the girls to evaluate their portfolios and meet them more intimately. Ivan also acknowledged Molly’s strong portfolio and admitted to looking forward to see Brittani walk on the runway.
After the meeting with Ivan, Jay Manuel prepped the girls for their long-awaited Cover Girl commercial at the LD Bell Country Club. Pierpaolo Ferrari shot the photos that will become the print ad for the winner of ANTM. During hair and make-up, Brittani reflected on her previous blunders with and without scripts during the coffee commercial and The Insider live shot. One important element of the Cover Girl commercial is the script. While they were shot with three cameras during the commercial, Jay Manuel noted there would be a teleprompter at only one. While Molly was the winner of the last commercial challenge, she was the most uncomfortable in front of the camera. The next day the girls went to what Brittani called a “100-room palace” to meet Pierpaolo again, as well as the stylist for Vogue Italia, Valentina Serra, for a photo shoot for Vogue Italia. Pierpaolo and Valentina noticed that Brittani was very professional and enjoyed her shoot while Molly complained (about missing her chicken – really, chicken?). She complained about having to sit on cold tile while wearing lingerie, and the photographer and stylist had to remind her not to lose energy. Although models and photographers do it all the time, this time when they lightly clapped when the shoot was over, they did it as a sign of mocking congratulation to Molly that she’d gotten through the shoot and could go home now.
Back at the Top Model house, Molly and Brittani arrived to the smiles and open arms of Molly’s (adoptive) parents. Brittani’s mom was unable to put her daughter’s need for her mother’s presence in front of her anxiety disorder. Oh, and she was recovering from a recent back surgery. While Brittani cordially chatted with Molly’s parents who were happy to temporarily play surrogate parents in the absence of her own, Brittani shed pitying tears for herself as she reflected on the countless times she’s wanted someone to be there for her but was left alone. However, thanks to modern technology, Brittani was able to chat with her mother online.
The next morning, Molly and Brittani met Jay Manuel at the Granada Palace for a salon-style fashion show where they went from one room to the next while modeling the garments of the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania line. As part of a recent Top Model tradition, joining Molly and Brittani in the fashion show were a few of the recently-eliminated models: Kasia, Alexandria, and Hannah, as well as last cycle’s winner, Ann. At the runway entrance of the ‘salon,’ rose petals were strewn on the floor from ladies who were leaning over the second floor balcony. During their last walk, Brittani and Molly walked together. Brittani slipped on one of the rose petals, crashed into the wall, fell onto the floor, and injured her ankle. In a the-show-must-go-on fashion, Brittani sniffed up the rest of her tears and other nasal liquids and joined the other models during the finale walk. With Brittani and Molly creating one of the tightest final-two competitions in ANTM history (Tyra & Co. say that every cycle), after the fashion show, Jay and Ivan announced to the girls that Tyra wanted to give them another makeover. Thus, Molly and Brittani arrived at the final judging with Mia-Farrow-in-Rosemary’s-Baby hair cuts, which is Tyra’s favorite cut.
During her evaluation, Molly was told by the judging panel, which included Jay Manuel, that her walk during the fashion show was too bouncy and during the commercial she looked liked “the mean girl” (maybe that’s because she can be). However, her Cover Girl photo needed to be hung in a salon, according to Andre’ Leon Talley. Brittani received obvious critiques for breaking character during the runway when she and Molly posed in front of the judges’ table although Jay Manuel immediately noted that she should be commended for pushing through after she fell. Her Cover Girl commercial and photo shoot simply rocked. While Molly had gotten the best photo of the week for the last three weeks in a row and she won The Insider challenge, Brittani became the competition muse of not one, not two, but three of the photographers. Therefore, the obvious winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 16: Brittani!
Cycle 16, Episode 13: “Season Finale” (originally aired May 18, 2011)
For more ANTM recaps, click here.
Check out “Stumbling To The Finish Line,” Desiree Neall’s take on this cycle’s finale.
Images courtesy of Walter Sassard for The CW