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1. Pageant Girl Showdown

The Mame and Hadassah rivalry sure is heating up. I mean, not as much as Mame and Justin, who Devin catches naked in the shower. Justin immediately justifies it as them conserving water for environmental purposes.

That’s “eco-conscious,” actually, but sure, I’m convinced. When Devin asks Justin if he’s having sex with Mame, he is evasive, responding, “I mean, I’m not saying we aren’t. No comment.” Like with the hickey, Mame has literally no comment on her sex life. You’re not about to catch her tarnishing her own image… aside from talking copious amounts of shit about Hadassah, that is.

It’s hilarious how in one breath, Mame can say that Hadassah is too much of a pageant girl to be a good model and in the next breath claim she herself is THE pageant girl of the competition. Where does that leave Mame in terms of modeling?

As usual, the ANTM house is filthy, so almost of the contestants are taking some time to clean it except for Hadassah and Bello who are resting or some shit. Hadassah then goes to take a shower, though hopefully not before someone got a chance to clean Justin’s ejaculate out of there. While Hadassah showers, Mame rushes in to use the toilet. If this were a porn film, they’d be kissing in a matter of seconds, but as this is ANTM, it instead devolves into a ridiculous argument.

I’m not really taking a side here because I think this fight is more about previous tensions than bathroom etiquette. On the one hand, Mame should have at least knocked on the door. Just because showering is a social experience for her, doesn’t mean it is for Hadassah. On the other hand, is Hadassah really that offended that Mame might see her naked when she promised to all the girls on the first day that they would be seeing a lot of her fake breasts? Furthermore, continuing the argument to the point where other people have to come in to break the fight up doesn’t keep your bathroom activities discreet either.

If only Hadassah had been more prolific in her rule-making session. “Don’t stare at me from a distance” is a good start, but “don’t stare at me while I shower” would have let Mame know upfront to stay clear.

The fight spills over into the bus on the way to the shoot. Hadassah and Mame each call each other “ghetto,” which seems like a totally inaccurate way to describe either a rich girl raised by a nanny or the daughter of a diplomat. The other models seem irritated that this drama is still unfinished.

Back at home, for some reason (the possibility of a threesome?) Justin thinks he should try to broker peace between the two women. He says that Mame and Hadassah have more in common than they realize and calls a house meeting to settle their differences. A guy who supposedly bruises that easily really needs to learn not to act as a neutral party in his girlfriend’s drama. You know Mame is pissed to hear that she has things in common with Hadassah, no matter how true it is.

After the meeting, the conflict is supposedly squashed, but something tells me that even Bello won’t be prepared for how much crown-snatching is about to occur between these pageant girls.

5 Funniest Moments of ANTM Cycle 22 Ep. 6

4. Laugh and Cry with Stacey McKenzie

I’m excited that Stacey made it to this iteration of NTM. I’ve been a fan since she was a judge on Canada’s Next Top Model a full decade ago. Her personality is as odd as her appearance, and that’s to say very, very odd. She quickly fills the runway coach void left by Miss J with her own brand of crazy.

Leave it to Stacey to show up with a trio of sassy voguers to show a bunch of amateur runway walkers how to… well, I don’t know that they walk any better, but they’ve certainly learned how to make fools of themselves and get laughed out of their next casting.

Her critiques of the girls’ walks consist mainly of pointing, snapping, and grunting in approval. Stacey loved the shit out of this move by Cherish:

which I think tells you all you need to know about how useful her feedback was.

But Stacey didn’t just show up to to drop knowledge. She also came to drop names. Did you know Stacey worked with Jean Paul Gaultier? Well you definitely know that fact now - she mentioned him more than CoryAnne referenced her supermodel mother. Stacey also twice mentions working with fellow “Vogue” expert, Madonna. It’s all part of her “believe in yourself” lesson - if you believe in yourself, you can meet celebrities. Like Zendaya, for example!

It’s not all fun and games for Stacey, though. Like a Top Model semifinalist, she comes prepared with a sad story from her past. Did you know she was rejected by multiple agencies before signing with one in Paris? And that she met her boss while wearing a $1 dress?!

At this point in the story, the models are literally sobbing in unison. Maybe the editing is wonky here, but the models seem devastated that Stacey met someone important while wearing a cheap dress.

The story does go on to get a little sadder: the agency head suggested that Stacey was too ugly to hire as a model. It’s not quite a live feed of Syria like you might expect from all the girls’ tears, but sure, that’s awkward.

No one seems more moved by Stacey’s story than Krislian, who says she can relate because when she goes to agencies, they always tell her that she’s “too sexy and too commercial.” Yup, that’s totally the same thing as being told that you’re too ugly. The struggle is real, Krislian!

On her way out, Stacey leaves the models with some surprisingly violent advice:

Sounds like a good way to end up with prison! But with any luck, you’ll wind up with a cellmate as cray as Stacey.

4 Funniest Moments of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23 Ep. 2

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2. Rita Wants a Recount

Rita, Rita, Rita… one minute she’s chastising Courtney for causing too much drama, the next she’s intentionally creating drama herself by pausing the call-out ceremony.

You’d think that Rita would just want to hurry up and finishing taping so that she can get to that flamenco dance class she’s clearly dressed for, but no, Rita decides to hem and haw about the decision well after the period

I’m not quite sure what Rita was going for in this moment. Did she think she could pull rank as the host and get the other judges to change their votes? Even Tyra has claimed she was outvoted on the Toccara and Mikaela boots. (Though it seems fair to point out that judges Janice Dickinson, Nolé Marin, and André Leon Talley mysteriously exited the show within a year after these disagreements. DO NOT CROSS TYRA.)

Rita likes Giah’s personality - as I think we all do, I might add - and doesn’t want to give up on her yet. She would prefer to eliminate Krislian because keeping someone who coasts on her sex appeal rather than talent is a direct competition to Rita’s own brand “isn’t fair.” 

The best part is that other judges barely even humor Rita. If Rita was hoping to create a memorable reality tv moment, the judges aren’t willing to give her any assistance. Instead, they calmly tell Rita, “No.” With a wave of her hand, Ashley reminds her that “majority rules” and Rita is put in her place. Literally put her in her place as she returns to her mark.

That, my friends, is why Ashley should be the host of this franchise. Not just because she’s the actual model, but because she’s the actual boss! And this is the  Boss Cycle, as I’m sure you’ve heard the show mention 5,000 times.

Now seems like as good a time as any to answer a question a lot of you have been asking in my inbox: How do I feel about the judges?

For the most part, I like them actually. Drew’s great. Ashley’s great. Law… I could give or take Law, but he’s not irritating me completely yet, so, sure, he’s fine.

As for Rita, I think she’s doing a good job and definitely exceeding my expectations. Kudos to her for trying to make things interesting in what would otherwise be an uneventful elimination. I’m not sure if Rita second guesses herself a lot, but she did date Rob Kardashian, so I’m going to bet this sort of delayed panic is a common occurrence in her life.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to abruptly end this post by half-heartedly slapping Courtney’s eyebrows on Rita’s face and calling her “Frita Kahlo,” and then head off to Vegas for the weekend. I hear it’s just like traveling abroad!

5 Funniest Moments of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23 Ep. 5

1. Avant-Grocery

Drew welcomes the model to a grocery store, the location for their next photoshoot. He explains that the shoot is inspired by a Chanel runway show.

Ehh, I’d guess it has more to do with how under-budget it was for ANTM to rent a bodega for the day, but inspiration can come in many forms! Honestly, when I first saw the preview for the shoot, I thought the real source of inspiration was this meme:

Somehow, half the models can’t even manage to hit this mark, though.

Speaking of inspiration, the designer responsible for the day’s outfits is Nicola Formichetti, the man behind Lady Gaga’s outrageous looks. To determine which model will wear which dress, he meets with them one-on-one to discover their essence.  

Nicola repeats a phrase we hear a lot this episode, and countless times in Top Model past: “Wear the dress, don’t let the dress wear you.” It’s a meaningless cliché at this point, but the intent is obviously to indicate that the models shouldn’t let the dress overpower them. That’s a lot easier said than done in avant-garde dresses that are designed explicitly to steal all the attention.

When Nicola meets with Giah, he wants to transform her into a bombshell. Possibly literally.

Actually, she’s assigned something equally as explosive: balloons. We can’t even tell that she’s got balloons under her tutu until later, though, which made this quote especially outrageous:

Is Giah smuggling cocaine in her anus?! The winner of ANTM 23 truly has to be it all: a supermodel, a brand, a business, a boss, and a drug mule.

Because the balloons aren’t visible unless Giah is literally tipped over for an upskirt shot (classy!) Drew has her lay down on the meat section and he finds the results surprisingly unsatisfying.

Yeah, well no duh it looks like shit! This whole thing is shit! She can barely move around either or her dress pops!

The judges are more receptive to Paige’s shot in the same location, calling it:

That doesn’t even make sense, although I suppose the steak has a longer shelf life than Britney’s first marriage. For my money, Paige looks about as dead as the meat products she’s reclining on.

India is criticized for looking “short.” When they dress you to look like a blob, it’s important to look like an elongated blob!

Drew chews out Kyle a good deal for not reflecting the environment she’s in. Apparently, he wants her to be ecstatic to wear deadly shoes in a grocery store. “Pretend you’re at the store opening!” he instructs her. Kyle smiles but the reaction is not good enough. Drew stresses the excitement of being at a store opening, but who the hell gets even a tiny bit excited at a grocery store opening?

If this is really how Drew reacts to a store opening, Whole Foods should hire him quick!

Nicola gets one look at Krislian and decides she’s too sexy. (An exasperated Krislian finally wonders aloud, “Is it because I’m Latina?” Sadly, probably!) Telling her that “oversexed becomes cheesy” and tries to play against her image by putting her in over-the-top funeral garb.

The editors try to make Krislian look incompetent during her shoot, but of course her veil is going to get stuck on her crown if they make her throw it over head. They actually show this exact clip twice to make it seem like it keeps happening, too. Drew thinks she’s not doing right by this “million dollar dress.”

You know how we know these aren’t really million dollar dresses? No one seems to give a shit when Marissa drenches herself in milk.

The judges adore Marissa’s photo, even though it’s pretty much an ass shot. They think she captured the right mood for the shoot and I can’t disagree because, again, it’s an ass shot.

All in all, though, I love how bizarre these photos are. That’s some vintage WTF ANTM right there, and the reason I continue to tune in.

5 Funniest Moments from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23 Ep. 5

4. Tyra Banks Is Watching

Tyra may not be the host of ANTM this cycle, but please, for the love of god, do NOT forget who she is. Your continued attention literally means the world to her.

Before the models even meet Rita and the new panel, they are first graced with the presence of the one and only Tyra Banks. As they do every cycle, the contestant hopefuls scream, leap around excitedly, and even shed tears at the sight of Tyra. Undoubtedly, that’s half the reason Tyra agreed to show up for this cameo - she craves the adoration.

My favorite reaction in the crowd is Paige’s slack-jawed stare. At first it’s as if she’s seeing a ghost… and then that ghost brings her to climax. Tyra, girl, you still got it!

Most of the girls gush about how they’ve been watching Top Model since they were kids, but I suspect they’re just kissing Tyra’s (fat) ass - if that many people were loyally watching the franchise, it would have never gotten cancelled in the first place.

A montage of Tyra photos flash on the screen (I wonder if we’ll still get her personal takes on the week’s photoshoots before panel) and that classic “Work That Hallway Like a Runway” song plays in the background.

Meanwhile, the muse that is Cherish tries to inspire a parody song: “Work That Freeway Like a Runway.” Man, as if sitting in LA traffic weren’t miserable enough. Someone better adopt that highway and set some ground rules.

Back to Tyra - she tells the girls that this cycle she’s not looking for a traditional model. She’s also not looking for a social media. She’s looking for…

BOTH! She also wants her next Next Top Model to be a boss, a badass, a brand, and a beauty. A lot of her previous winners haven’t managed to pull off even one of those attributes successfully, so this mission seems pretty lofty, but, you know, it’s good to have goals.

Tyra says that she’s stepping aside from her hosting job in order to create more opportunities for other young women. We know damn well that those “opportunities” consist mainly of tricking impressionable women into participating in a Tyra Beauty pyramid scheme, but not all opportunities are created equally.

Before Tyra departs, she promises to show up again in the future and gives the ominous warning: “I’ll be watching you.” How very Santa Claus of her!

She knows when you are weeping.
She knows when you’re being fake.
She knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be bad for reality tv’s sake.
You better tooch out
You better just smize
You better not look like a trout
I’m telling you whys
TYRA BANKS IS WATCHING YOU!

Run!!

5 Funniest Moments of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23 Ep. 1