Monday, September 10, 2007

Aliens in America

Like everyone else, I've seen this picture:
So when I opened up the CW website, I immediately assumed "Aliens in America" was a clever advertisement for ANTM. Ah, how I under estimate the anti-brilliance of the CW!

Anyway, I finally got off my ass long enough to digitize our America’s Next Top Model tryout interviews. I have to warn everyone that the sound quality is bad (yes, even worse than usual.) so if you are listening to it, I really have to give you mad props. Enjoy!

Click here to listen to the ANTM tryouts episode

The day started out well enough. Well, no, let me back track. It started out badly but then got better, which in the whole picture, made sense. I went to pick Scotty up at school. The collegiates came out of their class, and a new group went in, still, no Scotty. Finally, after waiting for an hour (Betch, you owe me! I only give Aaron 15 minutes before leaving.), just as I pulled up to my garage, Scotty called. Turns out he had skipped class and fallen asleep at home, conveniently with his phone off. Damn you sprint and your faulty chargers!

But I digress. I head over to pick up Scotty, and we get some quick lunch on the way. When we arrived, I felt as if I had inhaled not chicken nuggets and fries, but rather an entire bale of hay. And somewhere in that haystack, a needle was poking at my bladder. No matter, we do a quick recording in the car, and hit the ground running!

As we walked towards Drink Houston – wait, back track again!! Ok, whoever decided to hold this thing at a club during the daytime, and not serve drinks, was an idiot. The club was very damp and dark, with barely any seating. Everyone was sitting on counters (very hygienic for future drinkers) and it was very uncomfortable. As expected, we made several snide remarks about passing girls such as “HEYO! She’s not trying out, I hope!” or “D-damn girl’s got some badunkadunk,” or “That was a dude, right?” There weren’t very many people outside the club, which was weird. We managed to get a couple of interviews, and it turns out, NO ONE can pronounce chartreuse

Overall the interviews went smoothly. Sadly, no one asked where they can listen to their interviews. The highlight of the interview for me was when we accosted someone who I will now refer to as the Red-Eyed Monster. She barely spoke, was tall (to her credit), but had braces, a full inch of gums that were exposed when she mouthed words to us, and one of her eyes was completely red/scary. I know, I know, I shouldn’t make fun of people with eye diseases, but the soul cancer is digging away at me.

Now for the good part. The three requirements to get inside were you had to be female, between the ages of 18-27, and 5’7”. That is it, ladies. Now we see why we had our pick of the litter for the psycho sluts we see on this show. Scotty and I approached the lady who had the power of the stick (and no, she wasn’t a chick with a dick. If only we were that lucky!). She had the power to turn anyone under 5’7” away. When we asked her for permission for a picture, she encouraged me to try out since I was over 5’7”. Naturally, I was more than flattered (think Mean Girls scene when Cady finds out that she had been nominated for Spring Fling Queen, cut to Damien and Janice do an imitation of her swooning at the thought of possible reign) Still, I was hesitant to go in since Scotty had to leave for work in 10 minutes, and it would take hours for the audition. If you’ve met Scotty, though, you know how hard it is to turn down his big, excited, Chinese-opera like blue eyes and Cheshire grin.

With that, Scotty takes my car and I step into the dangerous world of Sluts“R”Us. As soon as I stepped in line, I realize what a huge mistake I had made. I felt as if I had stepped into a really boring lion’s den. There was possible danger, but most likely you had to wait an eternity for anything exciting to happen. By the time it happens, you’d probably be glad that your head was being chewed off (or in this case, your ribs, and instead of a lion it’s Tyra.) There were about three to four hundred girls in line, and cycle one of ANTM was playing on a huge screen. By the interviews, I knew that in this round, the things they asked girls to do were the following:

State your name and age

Tell them why you want to be America’s Next Top Model

Show them your walk

According to one of the girls, there was no panel of judges/directors/producers. Seems as if only the crew was running this whole shebang. No matter, I decided I’d wait for two hours, maximum. After filling out the 10 page application, I got stir crazy and decided I wanted to go home. I called my sister who proceeded to tell me that I would be a terrible reporter (duh that’s why I’m not one) and that I was failing all of our fans. What happened next is what I would like to call Gays to the Rescue. I called up Max and Liang and they both came over immediately! I was so relieved to have the gays over, and we were quickly giggling and gossiping as Max and Liang ate their pizzas and I scratched my mosquito bites that I had accrued while staring at the Hot Topic sign and cursing A.J. Long story short, the day ended at about 10 p.m. when I asked the “bouncer” (CW lady with clipboard) when my number would be called. She gave me an approximation of “midnight at the earliest” and that was when I decided that I had to go home. After all, a girl’s gotta eat.

And oh yeah, the song from this episode is Hotel Song by Regina King. She is the sexx.

My bad

So, I thought Stephanie had given up on recapping CNTM, but as it turns out, I completely missed her email with the last recap. My bad!! Here are the youtube clips, followed by her recap, and followed by "Canada's Next Top Model....Andrea Muizelaar's True Story." Anyway, sorry this is impossibly late, and thanks again to Stephanie!

Check it out.

Now that the black rain cloud that was Cori is gone the girls do the Snoopy dance of joy around the apartment. Since there are four girls left, it's not until the Jay-Mail arrives that they realize there is only going to be one photo shoot left – the Cover Girl ad.

At the photo studio the girls have the presence of mind to practice in the mirror ahead of time. Tia was a nervous wreck to the point that Nolé stepped in to calm her down. Sinead still comes across as the girl-next-door, no French Vogue potential here. Tara's shots made Nolé happy but I didn't really see why. Rebecca transforms from high fashion into a serene and beaming beauty by exploring her sadistic side. She found her happy place by thinking about Tia banging her head on the limo overhead light.

Back at the house the girls start playing the drinking game "Never Have I Ever". Headed for critical mass one shot at a time, it's revealed that all of the girls have made out with another girl at some point in time. Before long Tia's playing with her nipples and Rebecca is topless. Cut to commercial before anything good happens.

At the first judging session, the judges dance all around Tara's mystery ethnicity. Tia is commended for her ability to make a connection with people. Rebecca impressed them with her transformation into a girly girl. Sinead's Cover Girl ad is the virtually the same as her cover for Fashion Magazine, and I'm fascinated by the 'Mom jeans' she chose to wear to judging. The judges mix it up and call Tia first, only to send her home. Sinead is called and gets to stay. Rebecca and Tara face off but only Rebecca gets a photo. In the leaving speeches Tara is embarrassed to be a loser, but Tia's got her sense of humor and lovingly calls the survivors "bags of douches".

The final walk-off will be between Rebecca and Sinead, wearing Lucian Matis, a mess of Victorian frump and lace mistakenly referred to as haute couture. His work is not couture any more than sparkling wine is Champagne. Look it up, Ms. Beker. The "runway" is a cleared path through a carpeted hotel conference room, full of pedestals that the models must navigate in pencil skirts. Nearly naked men help the girls up and down without falling. Rebecca pegs the situation as a pretentious farce and exaggerates her poses into a comic take on S&M. Sinead is nearly pulled to the ground when her headpiece catches on a decorated trellis. The whole affair reeks of budget constraints, confirmed with the cheap paper confetti falling from the ceiling at the finale.

The girls pack it in at the house and Sinead forgets her big screen television behind. At final judging Rebecca is commended for making editorial come to life, while Sinead's newfound ability to walk has thrilled them all. Next the judges review all of the shoots from the previous weeks. The girls performed similarly on the various assignments. They both sucked on the nudie shoot. The fish shoot was okay, but really, how good can you look with a dead fish stuck to your head? The bling shot goes to Rebecca, whereas the trampoline editorial was equally ugly/good for both of them. The lingerie and dog shoot goes to Rebecca, not only because of Nigel's crush but because Sinead is too boney. The cover for Fashion Magazine is like trying to compare yin and yang: Rebecca is high fashion, while Sinead is approachably feminine. The Cover Girl advertisement should probably be awarded to Sinead for producing more femininity, but Rebecca gets credit for being able to change up her look.

Yasmin Warsame sums up deliberations nicely: "It's two different worlds and we just have to decide which one we want to stand behind." Rebecca has international appeal and now that she's had her feet wet she'll do it successfully whether they give her the win or not. Sinead has a good commercial look, but don't forget that she admitted to not being particularly interested in modeling before being placed on this show. And so Rebecca wins, on her own talent, surely, but also because deep down the judges are likely wary of recreating Season One's debacle of a winner who quits and bad-mouthed the whole industry a few months later. Warsame and the other judges will stand behind the girl less likely to make a mockery of them down the road.

Overall not a bad season, with a winner that doesn't leave us cold and who will be working soon. Nolé Marin, Yasmin Warsame and Nigel Barker came out shining while Jeanne Beker was true to her usual public persona of a bowl of oatmeal. Stacey Mckenzie remains an enigma, on many levels. Paul Alexander failed to impress, but he didn't dig himself a hole either. The Jays, oh the Jays… The Jay Manuel show relied heavily on other personalities; I'm left thinking he supported whoever Nolé, Yasmine and Nigel told him to support. He was no Trisha Helfer, no matter how much makeup he wore. But one thing I can say for sure is that I don't expect Miss Jay Alexander to willingly make an appearance on Season 3.

The day after the finale aired Rebecca was able to publicly acknowledge that she had won and would now start booking work. The most obvious thing about her post-show look is that although she is still under the umbrella of Top Model, her hair color has been toned down to a dull roar and the shape is less architectural. It looks good on her; perhaps this is the stylists' way of apologizing for the crap they initially made her wear.

"Canada's Next Top Model....Andrea Muizelaar's True Story"
She has her story posted:

My name is Andrea Muizelaar the winner of Canada's Next Top Model season 1. My story is a long one when it comes to CNTM but I will try to sum it up rather quickly in the next few paragraphs.

First, I will say though after being through hell and back I survived the road of being a model. No one seems to realize just the artificial and cut throat industry that fashion and film entail. I am forever changed because of CNTM and am forever thankful of it. I have been so lucky to have had such a strong sense of self to be able to walk away from the "glamorous" life of being a top model. I am not a quitter and want all those who read this to understand that. I had been trying to model on my own for five years (since I was 15) and had been emotionally and physically drained because of it. Once CNTM came around I became stuck between a rock and a hard place; 1)should I continue this unhealthy lifestyle of being stick thin, showing an artificial image or 2) should I accept this opportunity as it is 1 in a million? Of course at the time jumping at the idea of being on CNTM was the answer, like most would have been. The show was interesting; it tested everyone's mind and body to the extreme on CNTM. Even the producers were simply wiped by the end of the show. I got through it though… eating disorder (anorexic in case you didn't already know- for five years) was hidden due to the fact that well, skinny is modeling and it is really is okay for this business. Once home after the show I had a few months before the show aired and so I started to gain weight by working with a trainer so that I could be a good role model to women everywhere. This regime went great and my disorder was quite possibly going to heal over with a lot more work…..until I was declared CNTM winner to the entire world of course. Once my first photo shoot came about I was immediately told that I must not keep training and not build any muscle as long and lean is what makes a model and that's the bottom line. Needless to say I heard this repeatedly and so again conformed and became a complete skeleton. This eating disorder and what it did to me after CNTM is one that I could write a book on as it nearly ended my life but the real reason for this group is for me to just touch on CNTM and what it offered for me and my future, so here goes:

1) Contract of $100, 000 was declared work so the government taxed me to the hilt.
2) I was set up with a tiny room in a woman's house engulfed with city dirt, summer heat, no place to respectively store my food. In fact it was so hot that my granola was covered in white worms within three days. Oh yes, I paid about $650 a month for this place.
3) My modeling jobs didn't pay near what the world thinks I would be making, i.e. a cover page and 8 page editorial spread in a top magazine offered me only $500…..and these jobs are rare to begin with.
4) I had an interview where I was taken out of context in regards to a judge on the show CNTM and was looked on negatively and bitterly by absolutely everyone that new this person. Pretty sad seeing as how I was three weeks new to the industry versus the other party of more than 40 years experience.
5) I was told what to say, do, wear, eat, where my hair, colour my hair, how to walk, etc and never got to be the Andrea Muizelaar that one the show in the first place.
6) I was given little to no free products, clothes, make-up etc.
7) I was paying for every expense imaginable, i.e. transportation, rent, portfolio pictures, comp cards, postal services etc…..without my even knowing until I got what little money I made three months later from the original time of the job with deductions included.
8) I was mailed letters from a pre CNTM modeling agency's lawyer claiming I was still under a previous contract and owed money or else I'd have to go to court. This mess was supposed to have been avoided when my parents and I spoke to City TV of the risk of such an event way before the show aried, and City TV said, "If this agency does anything our lawyers will squash it like a bug."…..Well, I told City TV of the problem and they say now "deal with it, it is your problem"….I now have a lawyer and either way my hard earned money (what is left) is being drained
9) I moved out of the confined room and was placed in a man's house where I had to live with mice in another small room. What started off as a few mice turned into utter filth where mice were everywhere….running under me as I ate, shitting on my pillow as I slept. I again was forced to move. Yep I was paying $650 each month as well to live there. I moved to a final location where I was in an apartment building on one of the most dangerous streets in Toronto where I lived with cockroaches, drug dealers, prostitutes etc. for this awesome new residence I paid $675 plus hydro, cable, etc etc.

Well, I could honestly go on for a lot longer and depending on how many people are interested in my story should I consider writing a book.

Keep in mind with all I mentioned above I am lucky on so many things, i.e. I didn't get raped and killed while walking the streets of T.O. alone; or the fact that I was a clean cut kid who wasn't interested in drugs or the party scene (which is a huge part of this business)

To conclude the above I will note though that I am home after 8 months of hell, I work at a bank, I am a healthy, healthy girl who eats tons of food and looks the womanly self I should look like, never again touching a weigh scale, measuring tape etc., I am starting to become social for the first time in a long time due to my illness etc., I am attending college for Business Administration, and bottom line………..I AM HAPPY! Happy and healthy and proud of my success story! Anyone who still has negative comments on this decision well, all I can say is "Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in there shoes."