'America's Next Top Model': 'Take my photo, Tyra!'

kara_topmodel13_500.jpgThis week's "America's Next Top Model" starts with Kara loving her boobs and loving to see her photo on the Short Model House wall. Ashley admits to having no expression and Bianca is aiming to overcome her issue of looking too fierce in her challenge photos. According to Tyra Mail: "Sometimes you only have a minute to make a second impression."

The girls are introduced to Sam Fine, a makeup artist with a handy makeup book, who shares with the girls the four basic model beauty tools: concealer, bronzer, mascara and gloss.

I don't think the bronzer should be on there (girls tend to go overboard with it these days) but you can't go wrong with a good foundation or concealer.

Beauty, Bruises and Band-Aids.

This week is all about beauty and learning how to put your best face forward in a flurry before a modeling go-see or casting. Nigel and his beautiful wife Crissy announce that the pee-wee models will be racing through Walmart for the CoverGirl beauty championship. It involves the girls running to different stations throughout the store which will prepare them for a potential go-see. There is a catch: The stations do not have enough items for all the girls to continue on, so it means the girls who make it to the station first, and put on the item first, gets to continue on the race, to the finish. At the finish only three girls will have crossed the line and the one girl that looks not as disheveled as the rest, wins a feature photo shoot on CoverGirl's Walmart.com page plus a $1000 gift card.

This beauty challenge has more of a "racetrack" theme than the previous Lady Godiva shoot The gun goes off and the girls go flying around the store front like they're running the 100-meter dash. Erin immediately grabs little Sundai, trying to hold our underdog back, and the girls are then whipping off their clothing and putting on jeans and tank tops that lay on the floor at station one. A few bras and butt-cracks are almost covered by the edit guy, but not really.

I would like to see the race again because the editing makes it seem like the Road Runner is zipping by. If you blink you might have missed it. I could barely Twitter during the race, the editing was so delirious.

Cheeks are rubbed hard, eyes coated with clumps of mascara, it's a makeup mad-house. When the final girls run to the photo-station, the girls are suppose to pick up their photo, it is the last stop before the finish line. Ashley and Erin have a moment of distress when Erin grabs a handful of photos and rips part of Ashley, leaving her to hustle to put her dented, mutilated photo back together. By that time it is too late and Bianca, Erin and Sundai have crossed the finish line.

All three girls stand like soldiers that fought a battle, waiting for their faces and appearance to be judged by the Captain, Nigel and his wife.

Bianca's eyes are pretty and vibrant.
Erin looks pale.
Sundai is glowing. Maybe it's the perspiration, but she looks very pretty.

Sundai wins! At last little-one!

Erin sums up the experience by saying "Races don't have manners," then Ashley rubs a bruise on her arm and the camera is on Erin in the limousine. Next Erin gets smashed up by the girls confronting her over her tyrant ways and she ends up crying and ruining her makeup. Crying while sitting in a limousine on national television is a shame.

Tyra's mummification obsession.

The girls walk into a photo studio and a body ... standing in heels ... in the center of the room ... is wrapped in a bandage of fabric ... asking to be unwound ... is Tyra.  

She announces herself as the "photographer of the day," and tells the girls, unlike other cycles, and photo-challenges, by the end of the day the best photo will be chosen and that girl will not be eliminated and "will be saved."

I think Tyra shooting them is an example of an amateur shooting aspiring models. Or at least that is how the shoot comes across.

The concept is to use sheer fabric and scarves, or -- what Tyra should have said -- accessories. Something that petite models can actually model, and create a beauty shot.  

A beauty shot is an important one for a petite model to have but the scarf concept is really terrible. It seems to be more about drama over how to cover the girls faces with the scarves than actually showing them off.

Perched on a black couch with a colorful array of wrap scarves around her head, Laura doesn't pull off a Hermes vibe and instead looks like a St. Jude's Hospital campaign. Again, Tyra makes an issue out of an actual asset, complaining to Jay about Laura's drooping lip.

Lay off Laura's lips. They're perfect for L'Oreal, Tyra!

Jennifer is feeling frisky -- or maybe it's nerves -- but she ends up being exhilarated from screaming on set, while Tyra shot her hormonal state or fit. The resulting photo is admired by the judges but I must be missing something. I thought Tyra was over Jennifer's lazy eye? Why the side profile again? Here's a missed opportunity for Jennifer to get a beautiful close up beauty shot, that she is capable of producing if given the chance, but she doesn't.

brittany_topmodel13_week4.jpgThe sad thing is Brittany is chosen as being this week's best. Her photo involves a camel-colored sheer scarf that covers her whole face and facial features. If you weren't told it was Brittney it might have been a girl from any horror movie about to attack you. It's a lazy attempt to create a beauty shot and actually turns out a little frightening.

The prize for winning is posing with two male models Tyra discovered (probably on her talk show or at a nearby Starbucks) for her website. The resulting photos looks like a threesome, in a bad way.

Aliens, Salvador Dali, and Jesus, oh my.

At panel, China Chow -- the petite model guest judge of the week -- likes Erin's "alien look" beauty shot, and although I don't see it as alien I do think it's one of the better shots because my eyes go to her eyes, which is a sign of a great beauty shot. Erin might have some personality issues according to Tyra, but her eyes pop and it is more about her face than the stupid scarf that's around her head.

Nicole's reminds me of the contorted women in a Salvador Dali painting, with her elbow being where my eye went first. She moves well and gets praised for it by the judges. But really, for this shoot should we be looking at her elbow? Why do the judges praise Nicole, Bianca and the other girls for how they move her body but bashes Ashley for her dancer background?

Rae has a great shoot, and it amplifies her ballerina look from the first week. Airy, angelic and coy but confident, Rae pulled off a great beauty shot that Shiseido should see.

I really thought Kara would be in the bottom two. I thought it would be her because Nigel mentioned she looked dead in her photo and Tyra proclaimed that Kara was relying on her DNA. This is an interesting statement and Tyra should have explained this more. Even if you are naturally beautiful, showing up and relying on the camera is not the attitude a professional model should have. Relying on your DNA to get the job done is being careless. Still, I'm not sure that Kara is being careless. I think her photo is alluring, but the judges aren't happy with it.

Ashley supposedly gave Tyra a hard time during shooting with needing her scarf changed three times, but I think Ashley (who is later head-to-head with Bianca as one of the final two in the petite pit) actually got a nice result. The light hits the side of her profile beautifully and her eyes tell a story I want to know about. Even though her face was put under a blue scarf, she looks prettier than Brittany.

bianca_topmodel13_week4.jpgBianca
has an orange scarf wrapped around her head and goes to her "Jesus place," producing a pleasant beauty shot. However she gets cuts and leaves with more bounce in her step than I would have expected. I will admit I was shocked to see Bianca go. I thought it would have been Ashley or Kara or even Erin before Bianca. I am rooting for Jennifer and Sundai the most, but I feel that Bianca wasn't given the chance to really take a great face shot, her nerves and the shows method of "putting you on the stage but not giving you the words to the song" got the best of her.

If we can judge Tyra, I thought the best shot of Tyra's, that had an actual beauty photo appeal, was Sundai's. With her facing the camera, eyes present and confident, natural, and just the perfect amount of makeup. Maybe also it was the best example of a beauty shot because the scarf was not the focus of her shot?

Shorter models should not fret over their runway walk, and I doubt many of them will ever pose on a horse or with a Jockey, but a beauty shot is a photo that all aspiring shorter models should have in their portfolio and on their model composite card. A beauty shot can lead to booking modeling jobs for skincare products, hair care, cosmetics, sunglasses, jewelry and much more. However there are a million other, more beneficial ways to shoot a beauty shot than with a scarf covering your face.

Isobella Jade is known as one of the tiniest working models out there. She is also the author of "Almost 5'4"," her modeling memoir. This fall her graphic novel "Model Life: The Journey of a Pint Size Fashion Warrior" will be released. Daily, Isobella gives modeling insight and advice on being a shorter-than-average model on her blog, Petite Modeling Tips. Despite her height she has modeled for Marshalls, Victoria's Secret, Easy Spirit, Macy's, Bon Appetit, Time Magazine, TLC, Women's World, and many others. You can find her at www.isobelladreams.com and follow her on Twitter.


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