Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Britain's Next Top Model? More Like Britain's Next Top Hunchback...

So following straight on from the final of Season 9 (9?!) of America's Next Top Model last week, came Season 4 (4?!) of Britain's Next Top Model on that bastion of all that is good and slightly trashy, Living.

I know, I know that everything in these shows is a set up and that none of the poor deluded souls involved will ever work in 'high' fashion (despite what Her High Priestess Of Fieeerrrrce! Miz Tyra claims) but dammit if I don't just love, love, love the whole chaotic delusion of it all!

I don't know what it says if I can name all nine winners of ANTM but struggle to remember even the faces of the three winners of BNTM. Are the British girls not pretty enough? Are they not dynamic enough? Is it that Lisa Snowdon cannot begin to even hope to match the crazy of HHPOF! Miz Tyra? That there's no Mr Jay and Miz Jay? Who knows.

Now that I think about it though, I vaguely remember the face of the first winner simply from recognising her in a Warehouse campaign a few seasons ago and I remember Liana - was that her name? - from Season 2 simply because that was the season that launched Abi Clancy onto the nation's lads mags and Liana whined and bitched like a spoilt child and was a crap walker. Whoever won last year I know shouldn't have done because Louise who was the runner up was far the better model but too fat for regular modelling but not fat enough for plus size.

What about the new crop then?

A whole heap o'meh. The thing that annoyed me most though? NONE OF THEM COULD STAND UP STRAIGHT! (phew! glad I got that out!). Seriously, it was like an audition for the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The worst out of the 14 were Aaron and Martha. They actually made me shout at the tv they were that bad.

Aaron did not cover herself in glory. First task? Tell a room full of fashion students (not fashion industry bigwigs like was claimed. I can spot St Martins and LCF undergrads a mile off) why you should be BNTM. Now see this is where the girls on ANTM come into their own. They've researched and obsessively watched every series for clues and tips on what to say and when to say it to make HHPOF! Miz Tyra do that cat's ass smile of approval. Basically, big yourself up like nothing else.

Aaron, poor love, was first up and said immediately that she didn't think she could win it.

Oh no she din't! Oh yes she did!

Lisa Snowdon Was Not Impressed.

Aaron clearly had not done her homework. The others had though albeit hurriedly and trotted out the usual crap about "living for this industry" and "loving fashion" and being "confident and friendly". Blah, blah, blah. I couldn't tell you their names because they all look the same - another BNTM trait that I've not seen in any others.

The first shoot was the girls paired up and topless, clad in ass hugging jeans. Again, this threw up the unbelievable revelation that none of the girls had the slightest hint of awareness about their bodies. For people who are supposed to be competing for their "dream and life's ambition", you'd think they'd have done some prep work. Or at least watched some old skool ANTM with Janice and Miz Jay bitching at people to suck the flab in. Instead it was awkward facial angles and saggy tummies all round.

And herein lies the major difference between ANTM and BNTM. ANTM claims to be all about the high fashion and no matter which way you cut it, right or wrong, you have to be a certain kind of skinny for that. HHPOF! Miz Tyra knows that, her production teams know that and they also know that they have a responsibility to the audience to include at least one plus size girl. But they make sure she could actually work in plus size.

BNTM doesn't harp on so much about the 'high' fashion but none of the girls have the right kind of skinny to do it. I remember reading an article in The Sunday Times Style section last year about the final weeks of BNTM when they were in Brazil. All of the professionals involved said that they couldn't work with any of the girls as they were simply too fat for regular shoots but too skinny for plus size. Never mind the blatant unprofessionalism. In a way, this should be applauded at a time when the size of models continues to be a source of debate (and indeed, legislation in France) but only if they are open about it. Say these girls can do commercial so why not 'high' fashion?

Anyway. The results were all a bit dismal and the photographer said she'd book one of them at a push. On to panel.

Lisa Snowdon's pretty but why does she have to do the Renee/Keira moué with her mouth all the time? This time round the slightly creepy Johnathon Phang had been replaced by Gerry DeVeaux (occupying the Mr Jay role) and loopy Paula Hamilton with Huggy Ragnarsson. Now I know who these people are but it was quite clear that none of the prospective models did. Strained smiles any one?

In a surprising touch they ripped everyone apart and almost gave up. I didn't blame them. It was Sophie who got booted first. She didn't think she should've been. I was finding it hard to care.

Which isn't to say I won't watch until the bitter end of course!