A week which saw the models slough off the veneer of pleasantry which had just about been maintained through the opening rounds and pull out some good old-fashioned schoolyard bitchery. The young rose precipitously this week, while any over 20s saw their stock take a hit. Guest judge Karen Inderbitzen-Waller helped with jettisoning the good vibes, just calling it as she saw it, and the power-shifts we saw last week solidified into a new order, with some heavy implications for the old regime. Judge-wise, Colin remains amazing, Sisarich cool and even Sara is becoming vaguely tolerable.
With the elimination of Rhiannon so goes the innocence, and the first genuine contender has left the building, never to squeal “Sara mail!” again. Game on, girls.
1. (Last Week: 1) Christobelle
Another powerhouse performance from the Dio girl saw her comprehensively dominate the competition with a characteristic mix of focus and frivolity. She seems to know exactly when to turn it on, giggling her way through the make-up round before turning in a photo of international quality, and no one can doubt that she is in the box seat now. The other girls recognise it too, the extremely illuminating Q&A with an enjoyably frosty Sara saw her name emerge as the near-unanimous favourite. Just needs to be careful Ruby and Ajoh like their roles as loyal lieutenants, because if (when) they turn on her life could get ugly very quickly.
2. (LW: 5) Ajoh
The biggest mover of the week, Ajoh’s doesn’t even feel the fear anymore, and won the week with a photo balancing coquettishness and a fearsome engagement with the camera. She’s also learning quickly how to play the house game, and the mutual admiration society forming between her, Ruby and Christobelle could see them closing ranks until the final few weeks. Then watch for a spectacular breakup when they’re forcibly dismantled.
3. (LW: 4) Rebecca-Rose
This was her week to shine, with an artsy photographer and couture, playing to her strong suit – basically, that her head contains about 55% of her body weight. She’s figured out that regardless of her ‘experience’, there’s enough competition around that she’ll need to get dirty with the rest of the girls, and is allying herself with the young team, despite being on the cusp age-wise, turning that terrifyingly empty smile on them, and both sides are pretending like they won’t knife the other at the first opportunity. You get the feeling that she might be a little fragile when the torch is turned on her, but for now she’s secure amongst the front-runners.
4. (LW: 6) Ruby
Huge week for Ruby, one which saw her realise that other eyes are on her, and she could use that bubbly personality to manipulate the other girls and turn the comp in her favour. Winning the make-up round was a big plus, but it was the sweet daggers she delivered to Teryl-Leigh at that dinner party (which TL reflected back at her fave target, Hosanna, hilariously) which showed just how savvy she’s become. Her photo got a bit panned, but KIW was a huge fan, and that’s got to help her going forward.
5. (LW: 8) Hosanna
I never thought I’d say it, but Hosanna’s actually been kinda impressive. The only thing she’s there for is to learn and win (not to make friends, duh!), and while she’s got no chance of taking home the big prize (I’d put her ceiling at the final five or six), she’s proving far more difficult to dislodge than many of the more naturally gifted competitors. Plus she’s playing Teryl-Leigh expertly, and they both must subconsciously realise that so long as their conflagration keeps raging, they’re both more secure than they’d be individually. Or am I ascribing too much connivance to the models?
6. (LW: 4) Laura
Laura is a hole right now, caught between playing the game and being her own self. She’s clearly the one with the biggest independent streak, and she’s struggling to find the right time to deploy it. So the outfit she wore gave her a terrible case of the Kardashians – she had to see it as a setup after Comfygate (yeah I’m calling it), but couldn’t shake the impulse to express an opinion. After last week’s close-range shotgun blast makeup, she’s a walking target for every weird impulse the show’s behind-the-scenes people have, and has to just buckle down to avoid falling out the bottom.
7. (LW: 2) Teryl-Leigh
The biggest drop of the week, but in some ways it felt like she’s found her natural position, her underdog status and a bit of fight after the somewhat contrived first place finishes of the opening rounds. The way she just went at Hosanna over dinner indicated that she’s not going to just pull a Sarah and abdicate, and much as I hate to say it, when she drops the droopy hangdog face and smiles there is a hint of something more, something childlike in the old lady. And so long as the young cabal stay allied against her she’ll remain the main source of real agitation on the show, and therefore indispensible for dramatic tension – a virtual leave pass to stay in the house, provided she doesn’t screw up royally.
8. (LW: 10) Lucy
A comparitively big move for the tearful older sister from Dunners, who had a second-place in the makeup (to go with her near miss – that she should’ve won – in the Max dress-yrself challenge way back when) section. She’s fully aware that she’s cute rather than beautiful, and so, in vaguely Hosanna-ish style, she makes up for it by scrapping for gains where looks are less an issue. But her stonefaced frown for the main shoot showed she still lacks a clutch temperament, still allows her awareness of her shortcomings to show through when she can least afford it. Avoided the bottom two this week, but it’s a matter of time til we get to see her bow out. And the way she bawls her eyes out at every opportunity, that’ll be a speech to remember.
9. (LW: 7) Victoria
Another big drop, and with every new episode Victoria looks less and less like the limitless talent that was drafted so high in episode one, and more like a Warehouse catalogue waiting to happen. Something about her bone structure and eyes gives you hope, plus the poise she retains from her ballerina background should be a big plus… Somehow it just comes out mumsy and bland in every shoot, and she needs to make a big play next week to avoid joining Rhiannon (who made the most charismatic of exits – “I love being a kid” puts the whole thing in its place) in the dashed potential pile.