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'America’s Next Top Model': Some girls walk tall while others act small

September 24, 2009 |  8:11 am


I’m just as guilty as anyone else in doubting that a short girl can be a top model, but that’s exactly what this week’s episode sought to disprove. Finally the girls received some real instruction on what it would take for them to compete against the Amazons who dominate the business. 

Before I get into the competition, I have to talk about some of the drama in the house. Lulu and Ashley have become the mean girls of "Top Model." According to Nicole, all Lulu and Ashley do is talk trash. One of their favorite targets? Bianca. Sundai clues Bianca in on the backstabbing, but instead of confronting them she fumes about it. Didn’t I call it? Big bark, no bite. Later, she discloses to Nicole that while she may seem hard, she’s really very sensitive. Duh.

The overarching message of this week’s episode was that just because the contestants are short doesn’t mean they can’t learn to look tall. Who better to prove that fierceness comes in all shapes and sizes than runway coach extraordinaire Ms. J? He’s joined by his mini-me for the night, Diva Davanna

Nine-year-old Diva Davanna proves that one doesn’t need to be tall to work the runway like a pro. She has no problem asserting confidence and proves it by working it alongside Ms. J in an entrance that warrants a rewind. I just hope that, with more than 200 runway shows under her belt, she’s not washed up at 12 wondering where her childhood went.

In the meantime: Work, Diva Davanna!

One thing I love about Ms. J’s runway lessons is how he pinpoints right in on a girl’s problem, then proceeds to mimic it. It’s so mean, but he’s so good at it. Laura and Brittany got daps for their walks, while everyone else got served. Of course, there’s always a foolish girl who claims she has a signature walk. This time that fool was Lulu.

The first competition was a runway challenge in which the shorties were paired up with models taller than 5-feet-10. The goal was to hold their own against their tall counterparts. Editor Anne Shoket of Seventeen magazine dropped in to judge and announced that the winner would model in an advertorial to run in the magazine. By the way, advertorials are those annoying magazine ads dressed up like real articles – now, that’s a prize! Strange enough, I felt the tall girls looked kind of gangly and unattractive next to the shorties on the runway. 

That forced me to think: Is the show changing the way I think about beauty or did "ANTM" scrimp on the budget and hire some majorly B-list models for the competition? Probably a little of both. Brittany won and picked Laura and Kara to join her in the “prize” – an advertorial shoot for prom dresses (they were psyched, believe it or not).

In the photo shoot, the girls posed in what can only be described as someone’s basement – there were ropes, metal pipes, wooden boards and an old couch. I’m now thoroughly convinced that this episode cost practically nothing. The winner would be the one that most worked with the junk, er, props, and their poses to make themselves look taller. 

Super petite model Jamie Rishar, who has graced the cover of Italian Vogue in back-to-back months, joined the judging panel to further prove that there IS work for short models. Kara, who has a really strong '90s supermodel look, won while Lulu was sent home for not being able to maximize her height. At least she got a new weave! In my book, that counts for something.

-- Jethro Nededog

Photo: The eliminated Lulu. Credit: CW