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'America's Next Top Model': Model U.S.

March 20, 2008 |  8:22 am

Marvita "America's Next Top Model" for once actually touched upon a current hot-button issue in this country, apparently completely by accident. Race has been a hot topic in politics this week, and it played a major role in last night's "ANTM" installment. 

At the beginning of the episode, Dominique and Whitney bickered over the telephone (when will Tyra just do these girls a favor and put in more than one phone?). As their squabbling became more inane, Dominique accused Whitney of being a racist. Dominique seemed to realize right away that it was probably a stupid thing to say, as she tried explaining that Whitney could also be "racist" toward blond Jewish girls and redheaded Catholics. Whitney jumped all over this, however, pulling out the No. 1 white person's favorite rebuttal to this accusation: "My best friend is black!" 

Meanwhile, throughout the episode, various girls, including Marvita herself, continued to refer to Marvita as "a crazy hood rat" or "ghetto." "I'm too ghetto for this," Marvita mused about the competition, but what this really meant, for her and as a term in general, was never explored, especially as thus far there was nothing to indicate that Marvita came from a background that was significantly different from that of some other girls in previous seasons. 

Of course, these issues never were brought up again, sort of the way the separate definitions of "couture," "catalog" and "commercial" poses were never really explained by the fabulous voguing legend Benny Ninja. There were so many other topics to cover, however, like Fatima's semi-hairy armpits and how a model can squint-smile her way through dripping, globby paint to look beautiful in order to sell purses (or jewelry, or something.) 

Eventually, Marvita was eliminated for "not really wanting" it, which might be code for "ghetto," but probably not. It's a shame, as she was one of the more striking models on the show. But aside from her desire or lack thereof or her alleged ghetto-ness, she did continue to deliver the same expression in all her photos. 

Perhaps next week's episode will accidentally touch upon the North American Free Trade Agreement?

-- Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy of The CW)