Awww, look at how in love Chris and Don are. You can really feel the romance in their shot… until you turn your gaze to the left side of the photo where Cory, the homosexual homophobe(?), is doing what can best be described as a disapproving dance. His “I just smelled a fart” face is too over-the-top for the scene.
Say what you will about same-sex marriage, but no gay couple has ever “ruined” heterosexual marriage nearly as bad a Cory ruins this photo.
Musician & Model (ANTM 20): Don Benjamin | Photographer: Kaleb Khu | Stylist: Ashley Rae | Make-up: Michelle Sfarzo | Hair: Tashi Lynell | Designers: Brooks Brothers & Moods of Norway | Annex Magazine Hombre 01 SS14
Excerpts from the interview:
ANNEX: You’ve spoken about growing up in poverty, but always having big dreams as a kid. A lot of kids in that situation don’t actualize their dreams the way you’re doing it now, so what do you consider your turning point between dreaming and actually doing?
DON: I’ve always felt like anything in this world was possible, it’s just a matter of taking the first step to start. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything for my career living in Minnesota, so one day I just decided to move to L.A. I called my cousin and he said I could stay with him till I get on my feet so I bought my ticket and was gone!
ANNEX: When you appeared on cycle 20 of America’s Next Top Model, you were instantly a fan favorite. Everyone loved the way you kept your head down, didn’t cause drama, and got sh•t done. How did you stay so focused?
DON: I think being older and having some experience already in the industry kept me focused on the bigger picture and understanding that any drama won’t get me anywhere or anything but a bad image. And I’ve always been more laid back and less dramatic so I just tried to be myself and not let the cameras bring out a false me.
ANNEX: What can you tell us about your music? What have you been working on lately?
DON: My music has been my main focus since day one. It just so happens modeling took off first. But it’s given me time to find myself as an artist to find my sound. I am working on an EP right now and I am off to a great start. I like to tell stories through my music that people can relate to. I’m hoping to have a couple new songs released by the early summer time.
Dustin’s back! Just don’t get too attached because he’s also eliminated again.
Tyra’s above face says it all. She likes it when you kiss her (fat) ass, and she wants it done with enthusiasm. As far as she’s concerned, offering subdued gratitude is the equivalent of spitting in Tyra’s face.
For the record, I think Dustin is appreciative. He just also happens to be an image-conscious, heterosexual, cornfed male teenager. He’s not going to give Tyra the flamboyant soundbite she’s looking for in a reality tv character. His constant mumbling probably doesn’t help to convey enthusiasm either.
While Tyra seems irritated with Dustin, Hadassah outright despises him. The edit comes out of nowhere; I don’t recall the two of them having beef previously. I suspect that Hadassah’s the only one who had a bad thing to say about the guy, so they just loaded the episode with quotes from her in order to “justify” cutting him again immediately.
Sure Devin has a couple choice quotes about Dustin, including the awesome sequence where he compares Dustin to a fly he wants to swat, but his comments are more in line with being annoyed that someone came back - not the personal attacks that Hadassah engages in. She questions why he’s here, she calls him a “hot mess” in the challenge photo (the same photo he scored higher than her on), and moans that she would have gotten second place points in the challenge if he weren’t there. She also can’t get passed the fact that he laughs a lot and treats the show like a joke.
Guess what Hadassah - this show IS a joke. Even Tyra knows it. If Dustin’s laughing at what they’re asking them to do, that just means he’s paying attention.
For someone who could have easily gone home on at least three occasions if the judges had scored photos fairly, you’d think Hadassah would have some perspective on a second-chance. Instead, she asks Dustin condescending questions like, “What have you learned by leaving and coming back? Hmm?” His response: “How to relax and not stress out about this competition like everybody else” is exactly the strong, concise kind of answer that Hadassah ought to learn how to give if she ever wants to win more prestigious beauty pageant titles.
What’s less impressive about Dustin is that he seems to have picked up some modeling “tips” from Mikey and sexually harasses the model extras on set. He suggests that one girl get his name tattooed on her upper back, continues to touch woman’s leg no matter how many time she slaps at his hand, and on multiple occasions encourages them to check him out on Instagram. (His signature pose seems to be tugging down on his pants and/or underwear to reveal the slightest hint of pubes.)
Hadassah yells at Dustin for flirting with everybody and complains that he’s too distracted. Dustin isn’t oblivious to Hadassah’s attitude:
Ultimately though, it’s not the girls that do Dustin in, it’s his lack of rhythm. When the deaf guy is able to match lyrics to a beat better than him, Dustin is doomed. I don’t know that that’s a reason to eliminate him, though. Isn’t it kind of refreshing to finally have a guy on this show who doesn’t fancy himself a rapper? (Yes, I’m throwing shade at Don Benjamin.)
I still can’t believe we lost Justin for a one-episode Dustin return. What a lousy trade. Whereas Dustin leaves with a big shrug while mumbling that he doesn’t mind leaving since he’s annoyed with most of the other models anyway, Justin actually cries those tears that Tyra loves to see.
Wait - I thought the one thing we knew about Justin’s parents is that they are most definitely not proud that he’s pursuing modeling. If that’s what he’s looking for in life, it’s time to become a pharmacist!
If the models thought they were let down by missing out on a trip abroad in favor of Vegas, just imagine the disappointment they must have felt when they pulled up to… the SLS Hotel & Casino? It’s so new, I guarantee you’ve never heard of it before.
Undoubtedly, ANTM chose this place over one of the Strip’s more notable locations as part of some kind of bargain. Like that the cast and crew gets free accommodations in exchange for free, repeated promotion for the SLS on the show. The joke is on the SLS, though! Who’s watching Top Model and thinking, “Let’s book a room at that hotel!”? Heck, I probably could have stopped that question at “Who’s watching Top Model?”
In all seriousness, the SLS is a beautiful hotel. Just trust Hadassah.
Plus it has fancy suites. According to wikipedia, some of the suites have been designed by Lenny Kravitz. They’re the perfect rooms for kicking back, listening to music, and letting your dick hang out.
Alas, unless Mr. Kravitz has an unhealthy obsession with Tyra Banks, it looks like the models’ penthouse suite was designed by Tyra herself (or maybe the Property Brothers.) Once again there’s Tyra pictures everywhere.
At this point in previous cycles, the model hotel has photos of the contestants hanging on the walls to prove that they’ve turned into real models, but not this time. With the countdown clock on, Tyra is no longer willing to pretend this show isn’t entirely about self-promotion.
Look closely and you can spot the crew member’s in the reflection of the mirror. (Hey, I’m a big fan of this show’s editors, but I’m not going to feel bad about pointing out their mistakes at this point since it’s not like they can get fired.)
While running around the hotel suite excitedly, the models find gifts “from Tyra.” Tyra didn’t pick out those gifts anymore than she sits down to compose Tyra Mail, but that doesn’t stop the models from exclaiming how well Tyra “knows” them. It’s all just name brand clothing and jewelry… it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a bunch of vapid young adults will like material goods.
The surprises aren’t over: the models get invited to a VIP pool party. No need to put on swimsuits, though, because they’re just going to make them dive into the pool with those new outfits. Ah, that explains why the clothes are “gifts” - production probably can’t return the wardrobe once it gets wet.
For a VIP party, the guest list is pretty boring. Yu Tsai, Miss J… and Don Benjamin, who frankly wasn’t even a Very Important Person on the season he competed on. As Mamé says:
He’s just a good looking guy. (Emphasis mine.) Let’s not get carried away with this “rapper” business.
All of the models take on casino archetypes that you might find in the SLS Hotel & Casino. Mikey is a gambler. This seems appropriate considering no many times he strikes out with a girl, he’s always willing to give it another shot. Nyle is a bartender. Hadassah is a shopaholic.
Did Hadassah just confess to credit card fraud? No wonder she’s been able to visit so many beautiful hotels.
Note to SLS: double check Hadassah’s credit card information before letting her order Life-Size to her room via Pay-Per-View.