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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Australia's Next Top Model Wrap Up: Episode Two

If you’re anything like me you’ve probably thought once or twice about the concept of having babies, and in amongst the “DEAR GOD, NO!” and “WORST NIGHTMARE!” reactions, you’ve probably also thought something along the lines of “But what if my child turned out to be a twat?”

Just like Alexandra’s parents, you send her off on a modelling contest and hope Charlotte Dawson accidentally eats her. Or that a friendly bogan at the local pub eats her, which very nearly happens this episode - but more on that later.

We rejoin the models at last week’s eviction of... er, who was it again? Oh yeah, Kamila. Or “Car-milla” as Alla-mella pronounces it. Point of interest – Alamela’s new BC nickname is Porcelain Nutcase, as coined by the enthusiastic ANTM chatters over on Television Without Pity. I likes it, so I’s stealin’ it.

Leiden declares Kamila’s ousting has reminded her that she’s in a competition (perhaps they should put up a few signs around the model mansion to help these girls remember what they’re there for) (and what their names are, and which way is left and right, and what it means when the little hand is on the 12 and the big hand is on...)

Back at model mansion, some random blonde has brought the girls a present, which causes them all to squeal and flap their arms about like seagulls who have just discovered an untended pile of chips on the beach. Shouldn’t somebody warn them about blondes bearing gifts?

The girls open up their box in the backyard and moths fly out. Gosh, after only one week? Oh no wait, it’s a bunch of butterflies. Or birds, if you’re Rebecca.

“Bec didn’t really like the butterflies because she doesn’t like birds and she thought they were like miniature birds, cos they flap their wings,” says Kristy. Sometimes I don't even have to make this shit up.

Alyce reads out the latest Jodhi Mail, which is all about transformation and change and metamorphosis. “I’VE READ KAAAAFKAAAA!” shrieks Alexandra, and starts doing her best cockroach impression in order to get a headstart on the next challenge. Surprisingly, nothing about her changes much.

The models get out some calculators and textas and butchers paper, and slowly put all of these incredibly cryptic clues together, and eventually after an hour or two come to the conclusion that THEY’RE GOING TO GET MAKEOVERS, OMG!!1111! THAT WAS TOYTALLY UNEXPECTED AND STUFF!

They’re met at the salon by Jodhello, who appears to be wearing a Tuff Stuff garbage bag dressed up with some natty buttons, and Pease Porridge, who is obviously about to audition for the role of Vince Vaughan’s sidekick in the sequel to Swingers, Swingers 2: Too Swingin’.

Jodhello tells them models with bad hair is her pet peeve. (Alexandra says hers is spilling her chai latte on her Kafka, Alamela says hers is having her personality software crash on boot up, while Leiden’s is having her burping sessions interrupted by a fart). Jodhello tells the girls they’ll have to get to understand the difference between a great haircut and “model hair”, so clearly the two are mutually exclusive.

Makeover in a nutshell: On the way from bogan brunette to token platinum blonde, Leiden passes through a funny little town called EGG YOLK VILLE;

Demelza gets a hairdo that allows her to put her hair up or down, and Pease crows about how VERSATILE it is, while Demelza shows how versatile SHE is by bitching about everybody else in equal measure; Rebecca is told to “think Naomi Campbell” and miraculously DOESN’T throw a mobile phone at Alexandra; Jaime gets blonde hair extensions and inches ever closer to modelling dressing gowns in the Harris Scarfe catalogue; Pease forgets which country he lives in and yells “FED EX IT, MATE!” when Belinda says her contact lenses are still on their way from home, and some questions are raised about Caris’ upbringing when she begins to cry over her hair colour, which apparently reminds her of her childhood. Alamela ends up with a severe bob that makes her look like the evil spawn of Chucky and Strawberry Shortcake; everyone waits for Alexandra to have a tanty and she promptly obliges, wanking on about how she’s “already done” her look before and it’s “a step back, where I used to be, as opposed to a step forward with a new look”. She proves this later on at the model mansion by showing us photos from LIKE, A WHOLE YEAR AGO, when she had a somewhat similar cut, and then calls her boyfriend to cry about it. Alexandra’s boyfriend displays distinctly questionable sexuality by actually remembering what her hair looked like a year ago.

“I am sure my new hair will help me as a model, as I have been given this hair for that purpose,” blurts Alamela.

“I will now make a cup of tea, as I have been given a teabag and mug for that purpose,” Alamela the Teabot continues, rolling off screen with her lights blinking while Pease settles back, waiting, with an Anzac biscuit.

Pease tells them all they’ll soon be strutting their stuff on a “very special catwalk”. I hope against hope that it will be a catwalk made of REAL CATS, which they’ll have to negotiate to avoid being scratched or sprayed, but as it turns out it’s just a normal catwalk surrounded by a bunch of horny sailors. Yawn, could have seen that one coming.

Just to deviate from ANTM for a second here, but as we’re constantly bombarded with that bloody tampon commercial with the beaver in it about 57 million times in every ad break, I feel I need to say something. Who exactly was it that decided that the best way to sell tampons to women would be to equate their nether regions with a furry woodland animal? And not only that, but to suggest that women are so in touch with themselves that they like to hang out with their aforementioned furry nether regions on the weekends and give them presents? I GET THE JOKE, beaver, got it, hilarious, but for goodness sake, IT’S A TAMPON, not a SPECIAL TREAT. Apart from which everyone knows the only people who agonise over what tampons to buy and what wrapping they come in are 13 year old girls who’ve just started their period and think they need to accessorise it. For the rest of us, it’s as important as deciding what brand of bandaids to buy to keep in the kitchen drawer. Right, moving on.

Back on the docks, and the girls are met by Dawson, who looks as though her jacket vomited pink silk down the rest of her body, and Pease, who looks completely unremarkable (better than covered in silk vomit I suppose) and are swiftly turned via makeup, hair and fishnet stockings into dockside hookers for the brief pleasure of 100 or so sailors from the HMAS Melbourne.

Not content with just looking like a slapper, Alex has to act the part too, bailing up Pease for round two of “I’ve had this hairdo before”.

“I’VE DONE THIS LOOK, I NEED TO MOVE ON!” she shrieks in his face, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she’s clearly been rocking the “petulant little bitch” look for quite some time without any problems.

What about two black eyes and a makeup sponge stuffed in your mouth, have you done THAT look yet? Ghd styling iron up the date? Army boot in face, how about THAT look? All can be arranged, I’m sure.

Pease hands out some new knickers to everyone and reminds them to put them on UNDER their clothing. Seriously, he does. As it turns out this advice is useless, as all of the models spend most of their 30 seconds on the catwalk showing their arses to the sailors.

Jordan (aka Squinty McSquinterson) and Sophie (aka That Girl Wot Didn’t Win) from ANTM3 take time out from their busy schedule of DOING BUGGER ALL to attend the parade. Notable in her absence is Alice, who’s probably off, like, earning money or something unimportant. Present front and centre, however, are Jodhi’s two girls – hello ladies! Wonder if she’s taking them out to lunch later and buying them a present of a new bra.

All in all the parade is a fairly embarrassing spectacle – a bunch of 30 something sailors hooting and hollering at a bunch of nearly naked teenagers in fishnets, winking from both sets of eyes. The camera flicks over the crowd and we notice the one awkward looking female sailor. If I was easily outraged I’d say something about the sheer inappropriateness of getting 16 year old girls to flash their knickers at men old enough to be their fathers. Oh wait, didn’t I just go off my head about a tampon ad? Hmm, never mind.

We are then told the “sailors’ choice” was Demelza, despite the fact that she thundered around the catwalk like she had a jet engine strapped to her new knickers. Sadly for her, this means nothing in the world of fashion. Pease says it’s no real surprise and declares her performance “smutty”. Yeah Demelza, next time you’re parading for cheering men in your jocks, try and make it classy, will ya? Somehow Alexandra is named the winner of the catwalk challenge, despite her having A TOTALLY ONE YEAR OLD HAIRDO, MANG!!11!1

As a prize, Alex and Demelza go on an $11,000 shopping spree. I’ll just repeat that: an $11,000 shopping spree! And it’s a good thing too because Alex appears to have nothing to wear but her grandmother’s washing day frock from 1953. And despite already rocking her current hairdo A WHOLE YEAR AGO she seems to have no idea how to style it, so the total effect is something like a mental patient who’s escaped from the institution’s laundry block.

I prefer the model on the left.

“The others are going to be so jealous,” says Demelza, while Alyce and Rebecca back at home start tipping her entire wardrobe into the garbage chute. Don’t think they will be actually, Demelza.

Back at home, and Demelza and Alex present the girls with a bag of clothes they’ve thoughtfully set aside for them on their $11,000 shopping spree – ie: the shit they bought by accident and don’t actually like. It contains three tops and one skirt. To be shared between 10 girls. Alyce and Rebecca quietly head to the garbage chute to explore further clothing options.

Next day the girls head off to a photo shoot for Napoleon Perdis. Apparently this year’s winner of ANTM will get to be the new face of Napoleon (well they can’t use HIS, can they?)

Despite scoring $11,000 worth of clothes, Alex has turned up in a pair of cut off denim hotpants and a hypercolour t shirt she borrowed from her younger brother.

Belinda is rather taken aback by Napoleon, saying she expected be “some kind of tiny, weedy little man”. HAS SHE NEVER SEEN THIS SHOW, EVER? Maybe she’s just got more of a grip on history than we thought and honestly thought she was meeting the REAL Napoleon.

But I thought he was some fat Greek guy?

“To be honest, you are starting to bore me,” says Pease to Samantha, in what is now officially THIS EPISODE’S TOP QUOTE! Hurrah for Pease!

“Boring? He doesn’t see me enough to know how boring I really am,” says Samantha, putting the smackdown on Pease and stealing the Top Quote Crown.

Napoleon shoot in a nutshell: the water pouring down on Alex’s head flattens her hair and makes her enormous huge SUPER hobbit ears look even bigger; Kirsty is declared “not the face of my brand” so basically doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning this competition ever; Pease looks like a cricketer in his baggy green; Pease tries to make Leiden’s female side bigger, which ends with Leiden yelling “I can’t do sexy for shit, and if I do it’s like I’m going to fuck you but like, kill you after” which sort of proves his point that she doesn’t have one; with all the wetness and the shivering Alamela the Porcelain Nutcase looks like an extra from Titanic. Pease declares her a “stunned mullet” which surprisingly doesn’t seem to fit with the water theme. Napoleon shrieks “I’m getting bored and we’ve only got three minutes to go!”, which should be the quote all of you aspire to use at least once tomorrow; Napoleon implores Demelza to melt, which she confuses for “blink” and ends up looking stoned in 90 per cent of her photos. This possibly explains why she feels so at home locked in the toilets afterwards. When she comes out it appears the Napoleon water shower is still pouring down on her – oh no wait, she’s just crying like a sissy. Wait until she finds out her clothes are in the bin.

Back at the model mansion, it’s Leiden’s birthday, for which she has received “two of the most ugliest dresses” as a present from her family. Alex dives straight in going “MIIIINE!!!”

All the models head to the nearest bar to celebrate and start downing vodka shots and pashing on: Leiden with Samantha in this season’s totally obvious “we’re not gay, we’re just hot and young and crazy” campaign, and Alex with some random bogan in a polo shirt. We suspect that this is also a look she has already DONE BEFORE.

Meanwhile the under agers left at home are studiously baking cakes, blowing up balloons and putting together party bags with a “pirate theme” for everyone to enjoy when they get home. If only the others had known I’m sure they would have come running back to join in the G rated fun. The three tiered cream sponge goes down particularly well when the pack of drunk bogans rolls home and starts throwing it at the walls.

“They threw cake at the Jodhi mail,” mews Demelza, who still obviously hasn’t discovered that HER ENTIRE WARDROBE IS IN THE BIN and there are probably other things worth crying about.

Elimination time, and our fembot army is led down the elimination path by Captain Jodhello, who’s sporting a rather fetching militaristic flak jacket (I would too, with Alex around – not to mention that model who can shoot bullets out of her nipples). Is Alex wearing Leiden’s birthday dress? Snaps to me!

Photo judging in a nutshell: Kristy has a feral mouth, Alex looks like she’s going to punch someone, Samantha looks like she’s got two black eyes (possibly from Alex), and Napoleon criticises Demelza’s eyes for not being able to draw, which seems a bit harsh.

“Why are you wearing glasses??” demands Napoleon of Belinda. Um, because SHE CAN’T FUCKING SEE WITHOUT THEM, IDIOT.

Leiden sees her photo and breaks down crying, which is sort of how we all feel, really. Emma looks completely wonked and Caris’ face looks like it’s become infected with something – it’s about this time we start to question the efficacy of Napoleon’s make up.

“I don’t know that beauty’s going to be your thing,” Jodhello says to Alamela, confidently taking the Top Quote tiara from Samantha for this episode.

“I hate the way she’s so fake,” says Napoleon of Alyce, without a hint of irony.

SO not fake.

“There’s emotion there, I can see a smart girl there,” he continues, looking at Alex’s picture, which basically ensures she’ll get “caught” reading Kafka at least one more time this season.

Dawson calls for Demelza to go (thank goodness for some sense – the girl has pug dog eyes), Perry says Leiden looks like Frankenstein and hasn’t done anything amazing (so maybe next week she should do a magic trick) (or she could just try wearing Alyce’s high waisted jeans, which in the off season are used by Sydney city council as a tarp when repainting the Harbor Bridge), Dawson brands Alyce a “snarly mouthed monster” and Napoleon brands her fake again, Belinda is told to get contact lenses and whimpers that she tried but her mum got her the wrong prescription, at which Pease shouts from off set “FED EX THEM, BABY! YEE HAW!”

In the end it comes down to Kristy and Belinda, so if Belinda gets kicked out we can clearly blame her mother for getting the wrong prescription done. Then Jodhello rds from the clipboard of death – and it’s unanimous. It’s Kristy.

“I’m sorry darling,” says Jodhi.

“SO FAKE!” yells Napoleon.

Now that you're finished reading me, go over and read my mate Jo's hilarious ANTM wrap up: at You know, when she ever gets around to posting it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Australia's Next Top Model Wrap Up: Episode One


ANTM is like, totally on again! And after winning fans, admiration and even the blessing of the anointed one, ANTM3 winner Alice Burdeu (I'm not kidding - see that big old quote over on the right there? That ain't made up you know), I've decided to get back on the model rollercoaster and blog ANTM4 for your reading pleasure.

So, shall we kick it? Yes we shall.

First, the model run down. There are the requisite weird names (Caris, Leiden, Demelza, Alamela), protruding hip bones, and bitchy looks. That's all you need to know for now.

The first models rock up and are made to sit in an empty room that looks like it could be an exhibit at the Tate called Study in Minimalism II. The same could be said of Alexandra's brain. She's 20, and a "university student" (I think you'll find they all are, actually, although it's unclear if any of them actually go) who explains that "My confidence comes from just the fact that I know I look good." Simple, really.

I am totally not posing.

Then there's 19 year old Caris, who is a university student (no, really) and looks a bit like Angelina Jolie. With braces. Yes, braces. I might remind you that the winner of this competition gets to shoot a cover of VOGUE.

VOGUE? Shit, really?

"I don’t take myself too seriously," she laughs. Neither will anyone else love, with those teeth.

There's 18 year old Leiden, who's unemployed (hey, at least she's not a university student), and who rocks up in hippie gear like she's just gotten off the overnight economy flight from Bali.

“I’m shitting bricks. These chicks are glam and I’ll have no chance,” she barks before blurting out the longest belch you’ve ever heard. She'll obviously be our classy contender.


"I don’t reveal all of myself immediately, so no one can get me," bleats Alamela, who is 17 going on 85. We can file her directly under W for WEIRDO, as you'll see later.

"I’m clean, I'm sophisticated, I’m more than a pretty face," spouts Kamila, the law student. So, doing better than Leiden on all counts, then.

"I don’t have a filter between my brain and my mouth - it’s like word vomit," shrieks 17 year old "country girl" Belinda, proving her point without even trying.

Next comes Miss Personality, 17 year old Emma.

"It’s going to take me a while to get used to ... meeting all new people, and that," she buzzes. CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR?

Then there's 20 year old business student Samantha, who announces she has a "killer in-stink", 21 year old receptionist Jamie who describes her personality as “bubbly, friendly, outgoing, and down to earth” (well don’t we just love HER already) and 19 year old bargirl Kristy who struts in with matching luggage and a silk scarf around her hair before crapping on about all the modelling work she’s done before. The other girls seem just as thrilled as we are to have her on the show.

Rebecca is a 16 year old "fast food worker", which means we'll probably get to hear the good old “I eat cheeseburgers every day but I JUST CAN’T GET FAT” song every episode. Anyway apparently she’s friends with Alyce, much to the other girl’s chagrin. A ready made alliance? For shame. Rebecca also happens to be wearing shorts that she fashioned out of a vinyl cushion from the sofa bed in the spare room at home.

I made these myself.

On to the judges, who are all same same but different this year: Charlotte Dawson, Jod-hello Meares, and Alex "Bond villain" Perry.

Dawson is now described as a "fashion presenter", which is a step up from last year's label "identity". Seems she’s moved up in the world, although her hair has taken a huge step back - she looks like David Bowie in a wig. So, she looks like David Bowie, then.

A big night? What are you talking about?

She, Jodhello and Perry meet the girls two at a time in a set that looks rather like an after photo on Changing Rooms . First up is Jaime and Leiden.

"Can the girl on the left please come forward," barks Jodhi.

This is obviously the first test. Jaime is struck with confusion - which left? My left or your left - but fortunately Leiden holds her hands out in front, identifies the one that looks like an L and steps forward.

Wearing long cargo shorts, a headband, baggy shirt and a goofy grin that may or may not be assisted by beer, Leiden looks like a backpacker straight off the plane from Bali. No word on whether she's brought a boogie board to the model mansion or not.

"Where do you see yourself modelling in Australia?" Priscilla asks Jaime.

"My ultimate dream OF COURSE would be to be a Victoria’s Secret model," gushes Jaime, showing a distinct lack of understanding of geography.

After this intense grilling, the two are shoved out the door to Jonathan Pease Porridge who has obviously swapped hair with Dawson this season.

He stuffs each of them into a an AD!AD!AD! Tigerlily bikini AD!AD!AD!. Wow, they’re quick. Don’t we normally have to wait until episode three to see their knockers?

"Turn up to my set without one of these – ticket to ride, you DON’T ride," Pease says, throwing a flesh coloured g string at Jaime. This could well be the quote of the season.

It’s fair to say Jaime has a rockin body. AND A BUBBLY DOWN TO EARTH PERSONALITY, SNAP!

"I like you so much better with your clothes off!" exclaims Dawson, something Jaime has no doubt heard countless times before.

Leiden swaggers down the runway like Robocop’s crack addicted fembot girlfriend, and glares at the judges with her lip curled like Elvis Presley. Not so hot, it’s safe to say.

Then it's off to a photo shoot. What the hell? Is this some special Fringe Festival presentation of ANTM in a Minute or something?

"I’ve never done a photo shoot in my life. Well, not a proper one anyway," says Leiden.

Back home Leiden’s brother’s mate’s cousin stops uploading model photos to Flickr to yell "Heyyyy!" at the TV.

Next in the judging room is Alamela and Kamila. They sell seashells on the seashore.

"Alamela has a really interesting beingness," says Jodhi. I wonder whether we shouldn't just ignore her for the rest of the series.

With her permanently wide, glassy eyes and combed hair, Alamela looks a bit like one of the kids in the "love is" series. She also seems like the kind of person who would describe themselves as being “in touch with the spirit world”. Is she an alien? Or a robot?

“What do you think you could bring to this competition?” Perry asks.

“ENERGY,” she replies, before blinking and continuing “...SUPPLIES LOW. SHUT DOWN IMMINENT” and shuffling off the catwalk.

On to Kamila, who does a nifty little parade for the judges.

“It kind of has a cute pout when it walks, but I don’t know what else it can do really,” says Alamela of Kamila.

“It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again,” she continues.

"Alamela's a bit creepy," says Dawson. YOU THINK?

“Great little body. That’s got Victoria’s Secrets written all over it,” meows Jodhi.

Moving on to Rebecca and Alyce, who float in on a powder puff of rainbows, sugar sprinkles and girlish giggles – TOTALLY BFF LOL! Alyce practically falls down the runway in a fit of excitement, flapping her arms and twittering until Dawson tells her to can it. Onya Dawson.

“I need this. I can’t do anything other than this,” she splurts.

“I’d do anything for modelling.”

“I’m going to hold you to that,” cackles Dawson, and we can already see Alyce’s future laid out for her – peeling grapes and pumicing corns while Dawson lies poolside cracking her whip and ordering a steady stream of margaritas.

“Victoria’s Secrets!” says Jodhi as Alyse is parading in her bikini, like a toddler who has just learned its first word.


“No Jodhi, that’s a spoon. And it’s SECRET anyway you dumbass.”

Caris and Demelza are next on the block.

“I was a bit embarrassed, because I don't have the best body, because I eat takeaway and don’t exercise,” mews Caris. Yawn. WHAT ABOUT YOUR BRACES, TRAIN TRACKS? Priorities, jeez.

“Demelza is beeeyooootiful, she looks like a modern day Veronica Lang,” coos Perry.

“VERONICA’S SECRETS?” shrieks Jodhi.

“Have you heard of the artist Botticelli? Beautiful, soft feminine women. You’re more jelly botty,” barks Dawson in a completely unrehearsed, unprepared and, coincidentally, unfunny line.

Perry tells them they both need to be a size 8. What the hell are they now? I take a look at my size 14 jeans on the floor and bite into another buttered crumpet yelling "SCREW YOU ALEX PERRY!"

Then we meet Belinda. She's the biggest dag of them all. She's only worn heels five times in her life and can’t really even walk in flats, and will clearly win the AMAZING OH MY GOD WHAT A TRANSFORMATION ugly duckling makeover award once they take off her daggy glasses and Deborah K top. She is also clearly the type they are going to play the country yokel background music for every time she's on screen.

"I don’t reckon there’s enough kind of, everyone’s focusing on the fact that it’s gone through the whole oh my god we don’t want that skinny emaciated pathetic looking people that look just anorexic so..." she says.

WTF? probably sums up the feeling in the judging room after this little speech.

Meanwhile, Alexandra has fallen asleep with an open book of Kafka on her head. Poor dear, someone should tell her that’s not how osmosis works.

When she wakes up she endears herself to everyone by boasting about how she looks at overseas fashion, not Australian designers, and drops a whole heap of names to prove what a fashionista she is.

Then she walks down the runway and it looks like her hips are going to disconnect and finish the strut on their own. Perhaps she, Leiden and Alamela can form their own breakaway fembot league of models.

When she's asked to give five reasons why she's better than the other models, she answers "I'm whiter". Oo-kay then.

Finally there's Samantha. The judges say “exotic”. I say “eyebrow wax”.

At least tweeze them, honey.

The girls are then shuttled off to the model mansion, and there’s a lot of “Oh my GOURD”ing. There’s all the mod cons, including a gym which, if last year was anything to go by, will never get used.

The first order of the day is to come up with some house rules. Alamela's LEDs start flashing wildly - apparently she's a neat freak. At least, that was how they programmed her back on Creepton 5.

The girls add such helpful, black and white, totally non vague rules as “Cook and clean” and “don’t take offence to criticism”.

This latter point is explained by Rebecca: “If someone says you’re ugly, and an ugly bitch, then sure you can cry, but um, like, we should be able to critique you and you shouldn’t get upset about it cos we’re just trying to help you.”

So if you call someone an ugly bitch, make sure you counter it with something like "But you have great taste in music".

The next day the girls head off to their first challenge, a video shoot for the ANTM TV commercial, which has a James Bond theme. Each girl is assigned a role, from Russian spy to astronaut. Funny though, I don't seem to remember the roller disco girl in James Bond.

“Everyone seemed well suited to the role they had,” says Alexandra, as receptionist Jaime is assigned the role of a spear fisherwoman. Although Rebecca is a jungle girl, which would seem to fit in Alex's world because she’s not WHITE.

“My boyfriend is going to be so proud of me,” shrieks jungle girl Rebecca who has a snake draped around her neck. He’s too busy beating off to care about that, Rebecca.

Sadly, she fails to complete the complex choreography of two steps forward, look around, one step left. Pease Porridge is unhappy.

Emma, the pilot, has to drop from the ceiling in a parachute.

“The hardest part about it was definitely the landing” she says. As opposed to all the other shit she had to do, like breathing.

“I can’t do it for her. I can’t stick my hand up the back of her and make it happen,” says Pease, without even a touch of awkwardness.

Belinda spends a good 20 minutes dicking around on some rigging squealing “Wee!” before doing a very passable impression of Sophie Monk’s yokel country half sister.

Belinda is quite clearly the Australian modelling equivalent of Superman. She’s completely hot stuff, bounding around with a body to die for and eyes that could slice you open as soon as look at you, but as soon as she puts on her glasses, it’s all “Clark, where’s that report I wanted?” and “Clark, get downtown you bonehead, Superman’s supposed to be showing up soon!”

“Lose the glasses, lose the kook, you could win,” barks Pease, as all the other models stand around doing impressions of Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters.

Alamela struggles with a giant mascara brush (stolen from Dawson’s dressing room, clearly) to play the Tarantinoesque role of “ninja schoolgirl”. Pity. I would have preferred to see her as Mrs Pink, arguing with Jodhi over whether you should tip.

Like all the other models so far, Alamela has difficulty with the demanding choreography of her five second piece – namely, twisting the mascara brush to the side while yelling “HA!” like a ninja.

“I’ve never had to go ‘ha’ before,” she whinges, while 11 other models in the background wish they could take that mascara brush and give her the motivation she needs.

Next up the girls have to shoot a series of Bondesque “silhouettes”, which require them to run three metres in front of a blue screen. They each have a half hour training session with a professional jogger and blue screen stunt man, followed by a short exam and 10 minute refresher course to make sure they fully grasp what is required of them.

Six hours later, Kristy, the roller disco girl, helpfully tells us what she learned: “The blue screen went down onto the floor, and it was like, material, and we all had to run across it and I had to ROLL across it in rollerskates and I was the last girl and it was really hard to get the skates moving on the material and then my head went that way and my legs went that way!”

Her skates get stuck, she has a cry. Then Belinda falls over, and suddenly she’s better again. Funny how that shit works, isn’t it?

Outside the studio there’s some good old fashioned bitching going on, with a few of the girls laying in to Alexandra in the back of the Tarago. Hang on, settle down, not in THAT way. I think that happens in episode four.

“She was talking about how her weight had fluctuated,” says one.

“What’s that?”

“Like, going up and down.”

Given that Emma had difficulties just mastering “down” in her film shoot, this conversation is possibly not so surprising.

Back inside, and Demelza is suited up as some sort of disco-fied astronaut. Or “arse-tronaut” as Pease labels her, because she has a size 10 rear. This, apparently, is unacceptable – EVEN IN THE OUTER REACHES OF THE GALAXY.

“I’m going to show that the world really does revolve around me,” she beams.

Yes. Just like an astronaut, who actually revolves around the... never mind.

We whisk through the others like a hurricane in Elton John’s dressing room - in a flurry of spandex and glitter eyeshadow - presumably because they were all too boring to show in their entirety, and the whole piece ends with a shot of all the models staggering towards Jodhi in ripped clothing and begrimed skin. I can only hope that’s how the winner will eventually be chosen – they’ll set off a bomb in Fox studios, and whichever model can crawl to Jodhi first without dying or requiring medical attention will win. Hurrah!

Back at the model mansion, and it appears a new alliance has formed – Bec, Demelza and Alyce, who have started to refer to themselves as “The Bitchketeers”. I would have thought of that eventually.

The first item on the BK’s agenda is number two. I mean it’s shit. No really, it literally is shit - namely, who has been crapping in the upstairs toilets. This, apparently, contravenes rule three subsection 1A of the house rules: “No shitting in the upstairs toilets”. On the flip side, it probably goes without saying that vomiting is not only allowed in all of the model mansion toilets, but encouraged.

Still caked in makeup from the video shoot (because model make up is like, totally hot, so we should just like, keep it on and run around in our underwear and stuff), Alyce sets about the house waking people up in an effort to seek justice for the misplaced poo. Alamela rather randomly declares she’d rather read New Scientist than be involved with their inane quests, at which Alexandra shrieks “I READ KAFFFFFKAAAAAA!”

The next day the girls are whisked off to a Collette Dinnigan shoot for VOGUE, at the mention of which all of them promptly pee their pants, except for Alexandra, who can name at least three other overseas designers she’d rather wear.

“No I’ve never bought her stuff and I probably wouldn’t. It’s too old for me,” she highbrows, not once mentioning that a lowly university student like her would have to live in a dumpster for a month eating nothing but sawdust to even afford her stuff in the first place.

They are met by Pease, who seems to be wearing a shirt that is trying to strangle him without him noticing.

Look out? Look out for whaaaaaaaa....

He takes out a honking great knitting needle to burst their bubble of happiness by telling them they’re not shooting for VOGUE magazine, but the VOGUE website. And actually, it’s not spelled that way, it’s spelled VOWG and it’s based out of Russia. And you’ll need to sign here, here and here, and just ignore the bit that’s headed MARRIAGE LICENSING INFORMATION.

VOGUE editor Kirstie Clements gives the girls a well deserved rap over the knuckles for their atrocious tan lines – most of them look like they should be hanging off the back of a ute in an Alby Mangles film from 1983.

“Go without tanning? But then I’d be white!” yelps Jaime, who looks like someone up ended her in a bucket of Twining’s English Breakfast and left her there for a week.

Then Samantha faces one of the more embarrassing moments of her life – having to explain to the editor of VOGUE why she has a bandaid on her elbow.

“Um... a bouncy castle incident,” she says.

With Kate Moss, it’s cocaine. With Naomi Campbell, it’s a lawsuit. With Australia’s Next Top Model contestants, it’s a bouncy castle. Horses for courses, I guess.

“Oh that dress suits you, it does, it’s very sweet with your... hmmph... he he... BRACES,” spurts Clements as Caris rolls out in a black lacy Dinnigan number. It’s all the poor woman can do to stop herself exploding with laughter. Braces? I mean come on, what’s next? A size 12 on the runway? Fortunately Caris has no clue.

“It was a real confidence booster!” she gushes.

“She feels quite passionate to do it for people with braces,” explains Pease.

“Oh, ha ha, right - and bad skin!” cackles Clements, in a way I’d imagine is not unlike how he Wicked Witch of the West’s even more wicked older sister would laugh.

So when Belinda the kooky yokel steps up to her to gas bag on about how she doesn’t like living with just girls, because she’s used to living with guys AND girls, and it’s only been a week and it’s really starting to get on her nerves – people begin looking for the nearest table to cower under. Fortunately however the queen has just finished her third kitten’s heart and washed it down with a glass of pearl infused Moet, so she starts singing Belinda’s praises instead of spearing her in the head with a stiletto and kicking her into the nearest photographer like we all assumed she would. Grand.

Photo time, and it’s one of those horrendous group shots ANTM loves to do, where one person looks fabulous and everyone else ends up looking wonked with a gammy eye, dead hand and weird hair. Works for me!

“It doesn’t feel like Emma wants to be here,” snarls Clements through a mouthful of puppy blood.

Not sure why.

“Belinda was my favourite today. She’s got slightly protruding teeth and looks like she’s going to walk into a wall,” she continues.

So THAT’S the secret, girls! VOGUE cover, here we come.

Next thing you know, a Jodhi mail has winged its way on set, and Leiden is reading out a quote by Winston Churchill. Or Church-chill, as she puts it.

“Church chill? Churchill? I don’t even know who that is,” she gobs, while all the other models, clearly history majors, laugh their size 8 to 10 arses off.

But here on ANTM, everyone gets their chance to look stupid, and we begin a delicious montage of moronic models all saying variations on the theme of “Winston Churchill is... um...”, the highlight of which is Rebecca who confidently asserts that “Winston Churchill was a famous philosopher.”

It’s times like these I momentarily consider the benefits of repealing the votes for women legislation.

Back at the model mansion and discussion has turned to more important things, like whether a size 10 is fat or not. The conversation takes a brief turn into a spirited debate about whether clothes made in Bali smell bad, but this is put to a swift end by Kristy’s trump argument: “Who cares, they’re clothes, we wear them.” Alexandra decides to squash all future arguments by not discussing fashion in the house, which is fine with her as all the other girls shop at Westfield and she doesn’t, and they wouldn’t even know what shops or brands she was talking about anyway, so there’s no point.

The fact that no one really wants to talk to Alexandra about anything at all seems to escape her.

On the way to the first judging session, Alamela increases her weirdness factor by about 150 points by breaking into an operetta because “I always sing when I get nervous”. Oo-kay.

But it’s nothing compared to the weirdness they face when they get to the JUDGING WAREHOUSE (cue ominous music). Jodhi. Delivers. Her. Best. Rehearsed. Stilted. Speech. About. The. Prizes. They. Can. Win. Which takes about 2 and a half hours.

Fortunately my dog got hungry and started chewing my big toe, waking me up in time to see Charlotte Dawson looking like John Travolta in Hairspray.

Can’t go back to sleep after that.

On to photo judging., in which:

- Samantha looks startlingly like the photographer’s hairy cousin Mario.

- Leiden looks fine but for the effect that her front tooth has been punched in (possibly by Mario).

- Perry criticises Rebecca for not being enough like that great fashion icon, Pol Pot.

- Belinda looks like she’s been dragged backwards around an obstacle course consisting of a large hay stack, a wind tunnel and a giant pot of foundation, and the judges almost wet themselves with excitement, particularly Ms Clements, whose enthusiasm for the Queensland yokel is beginning to border on creepy obsession.

- Perry decries Leiden’s hair as “Herman Munster”. If only it was Pol Pot instead.

- A whole lot of names are bandied about along with the phrases “Not safe”, “Not a model”, “She doesn’t cut it” – but who the hell really knows who they’re talking about? Demelza? Alamela? Kamila? Ramalamadingdong? IT’S ALL TOO HARD JUST KICK ONE OUT ALREADY.

So they do, with Jodhi reading off her notes the entire time (hey come on, we can’t ALL be Tyra – it’s hard to memorise 13 things to say), and the loser is: Kamila.

Who? Who knows? Who cares? Onward and upward, bitchketeers!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A case of fashion abuse

Gentle reader, I feel I have to come clean. I'm involved in an abusive relationship.

No one knows. Sure, I have wounds and scars, but they're not the kind you have to use concealer on or make up lies about stairs and doors to cover. They're the kind you can't see. For you see dear reader, my abusive paramour is one of the soft, pretty, floaty order. It's a dress.

It's not so innocent.

It started like any other relationship - eyes across a crowded room, a brief flirtation as we sized each other up, and the next thing I knew I was undressed in a cubicle with the object of my lusty attentions in my arms.

It was obvious I wasn't her first - the fingerprints on her straps and the tell tale REDUCED sticker on her swingtag showed she'd been loved and left behind several times before. In hindsight, this should have been a warning, but I didn't care. I knew Dress and I were perfect for each other.

Things turned bad soon after our first evening out together. Everyone said we suited each other beautifully, and they were right, we were a good looking couple. But as we sashayed around the room together winning admiring glances, all I could think about was the truth - that Dress had made it almost impossible to leave the house that night, being stubborn and uptight and complaining we weren't a good fit. I knew sometimes she had to be cajoled into coming out with me (she said she preferred hanging out with the jeans at home - they were so relaxed, she thought), but I still thought it was worth it.

The problem is she was always so touchy - you'd only have to brush past someone at the bar and she'd react angrily, proudly showing off her scars to all and sundry.

Then, after a particularly big night out on the town together, Dress just disappeared. Gone, like that. This wasn't entirely out of character, she'd done it before - once I found her at a friend's house where she'd been "staying" in the spare room for a week. But I had a big event coming up and Dress had promised to come with me. As the function loomed near I started to worry - where the hell was she? Then I got a call from the local dry cleaner to come and "collect" her. She'd been there for days, apparently, just hanging around, but she looked so shiny and pressed I couldn't stay mad at her. That is until I saw the white stain.

"What the hell is this?" I demanded, but neither Dress nor the dry cleaner had any explanation.

"All I can do is send it back to the factory for them to look at it," said the girl behind the counter.

"YOU'VE BEEN SLUMMING IT?" I yelled, and whisked Dress home for a proper inspection.

Looking back on it now, our relationship was obviously on the rocks, but I didn't want to let go - I knew how good we could be together. It wasn't Dress, it was ME, I was the one that needed to change, I thought. I'd let myself go, put on a bit of weight, and we weren't going out together as much anymore, only on really special occasions - no wonder she was looking around.

I thought I'd make it up to her at the big event. I'd get my hair done, wear my best underwear and expensive jewellery and take her out on the town, and everyone would see what a great pair we were. Things were going to be OK.

But things weren't OK. On the night of the big event Dress flat out refused to leave the house with me. She kept banging on about how I only took her out to show off to my friends, and how she was just some sort of "trophy". So passive agressive. No matter what I did she just wouldn't zip it. After half an hour of tug of war I finally decided to wear something else - but Dress wasn't having that. Immediately she wrapped herself around me and wouldn't let go. I pleaded and begged, I yelled and screamed, but she wouldn't give. I was to go to the party with her half hanging off me, or not at all. In the end, shamefully, I had to threaten her with a pair of scissors before she finally gave up and slid to the floor in a crumpled heap.

In the end I looked through my little black dress book and found a forgotten old friend from many years ago to take instead. She still looked fabulous. I'm already planning to take her out again soon - I don't know why we ever broke up in the first place.

As for Dress and I, who knows? For now, we're spending some time apart.

She says I'll never find another dress as hot as she is. I think she's just biased.

(Australia's Next Top Model fans make sure to check back here Tuesday night - the ANTM blogging begins! Want to know what to expect? Click here)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Signing your life away

Working in a modern office pretty much sucks. Not only do you have to share 40 hours a week with people you don't necessarily like, drinking crap instant coffee and answering calls and emails all day from even more people you don't necessarily like, most of us also have to put up with at least one office "signmaker".

You know the signmaker. She's generally female, based in human resources or another one of those departments no one really understands, and has unusually passionate reactions to people not putting the milk away or washing their mugs, which typically manifest in clipart adorned A4 posters in comic sans font with an excess of exclamation marks saying things like:




Historically, these signmakers have kept to their natural habitats of the office kitchen, toilet (PLEASE FLUSH!!!!!) and the crazy neighbours who live down your street (WE R SICK OF UR CAR BLOCKING OUR DRIVEWAY!!!!!)

Worryingly, it now seems they are starting to diversify their efforts, if the shop I visited recently is anything to go by.

Raoul and I were on one of our frequent magical mystery tours, in which we drive to strange suburbs and wander around looking for hilarity. This particular weekend we found a lovely little gift shop north of the city - the kind that, as Ab Fab's Eddie would say, sells "Absolutely GORGEOUS little things, darling".

As soon as we entered, however, one thing was glaringly obvious. The owner was a signmaker of the worst kind.

Ok, it's your stock standard "don't touch" sign. Nothing unusual about that - although I always wonder how they expect you to buy anything if you can't pick it up and bring it to the bloody register. Jedi mind tricks? But then we moved further inside.

A CLARIFICATION! So you ARE allowed to touch things, but only if it's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. This leaves obedient instruction followers in a right tizzy, for how does one determine necessity in this siuation? One man's necessary touching may be another's frivolous feel-up. I'm guessing: Picking up a scented candle to take it to the register for purhase = NECESSARY. Picking up aforementioned candle to see if it fits in your underpants = UNNECESSARY.

A FURTHER CLARIFICATION! Just in case you thought the "unnecessary touching" rule applied only to the diamante candleholders and lavender bath salts on the first set of shelves, our signmaker is there, laminator in hand, to make sure the "what constitutes unnecessary?" debate continues in the toy aisle. I don't really understand the motivation behind these signs - perhaps the shop owner is allergic to fingerprints - but frankly, the last thing one needs when trying to decide between a Tickle Me Elmo and a retro wooden pull-along train for your nephew's birthday present is an existential crisis.

Ok, we get it.


Again, what motivates a sign like this? How many people were coming into this giftshop asking for the toilet on a daily basis that necessitated a sign announcing the lack of one? And for that matter, why stop there? Why not make a few signs stating the absence of cheese on the property? Or lions?


But couldn't I just open them up myself and have a look? I mean, that would be necessary touching, wouldn't it? Unless I open the albums to look and then decide I don't actually want to buy them, which might render my touching of them in the first place UNnecessary, which means that OH MY GOD I'VE BURST MY BRAIN.

And then we saw it. The mother of all signs.