It was an emotional round for everyone on NZNTM. Some of the key contenders had very forgettable weeks, old nags found new life in their brittle bones, and one of the early favourites had to pack her knives and go.
The ejection of Ajoh, far more so than Rhiannon’s departure last week, signaled the end of innocence for the models. To see her and Rebecca-Rose’s googly head alongside one another in the bottom two was the first real tremulous moment of the series, and in sending home one of the strongest competitors for one case of the bad attitudes (“in Africa it’s not good for girls to open their legs”!!) they signaled that they’re prepared to do like they need to, and shed some potential winner’s blood from way out.
A quick mini-ranking of the judges first up: CMJ comes out on top every time, but I’m mystified and half in love with his bizarre clanging outbursts; first “it’s like they’re putting on make-up in a trainwreck” (not during one, but rushing to the scene simply to pretty themselves up? Amazing.) and now “she sat on an energiser battery and started going crazy!”. For a guy who can be so cutting and articulate they feel almost calculatedly awful. Sisarich is in danger of being too cool for the show, needs to engage with the drama more, while Sara is definitely improving, but still plays the model’s mom over the arch dismisser, and needs to get harsher for sure. We probably need even more tears, terrifying as that sounds. Anyway, to the rankings:
1. (Last Week: 6) Laura
The light in the eyes is strong with this one. After a disastrous showing last week, that made you wonder whether the Wellingtonian had the right head game to take the comp, she pulled out a stunning reversal. Her form through the trying gymnastics round was immaculate, and showed a determination and engagement with the process that had been hitherto hidden from view. It was a week tailored for the Warehouse catalogue set (TL, Victoria, Lucy) over the young and couture-centric ones, and for her to back up her win in the gym round (and strong showing with the props) with a big day behind the wheel with some Michael Hill Jeweler (for some reason that felt even cheaper than Hannahs) on her arm was all the evidence you needed that this girl came to win.
2. (LW: 7) Teryl-Leigh
Regular readers will know how much it pains me to say this, but the sad-eyed Westie (I don’t even know if she’s from West Auckland, just has that vibe – not hating, it’s just a certain type of Westie. Most are great. Don’t smash me!) had what looked like a watershed week. She completely lost her shit in the props mini-segment (kinda like a shitter version of the quickfire, to continue the Top Chef line), sort of mashing a bottle of Vitamin Water into her face while looking like she’d just run over one of those big white fluffy cats (when she really should have poured it over her naked body – someone needs to just porn the shit out of one event, just to fuck with the judges. Would rather it wasn’t Teryl-Leigh though). The comp should have been all over bar the shouting then, but TL had a moment of clarity. She started playing as if her life depended on it, or more accurately, as if she had nothing to lose. At this point the game was up for her, so she had the freedom of a condemned man, and spun gold out of it. Her catalogue shot was actually beautiful, and she had a new (weirdly smug, but still NEW!!!) expression on her face. A revelatory week, and ominous for the other competitors.
3. (LW: 1) Christobelle
Nightmarish round for Christobelle, who received her mid-afternoon wake up call loud and clear. She had a mirror as a prop (a model’s dream) but looked like a kid mucking about with it. Pulled some cool shapes on the trapeze, but again there was the sense that she was just having a laugh, before completely tanking the MHJ driving segment. Her picture was the worst of the bunch, looked completely out of her depth and needs to internalise the lessons of this week (and the sending home of onetime contender/comrade Ajoh) to return to her rightful perch atop the group in future.
4. (LW: 4) Ruby
Maintaining her ranking implies a static week, but Ruby had anything but. More a case of two great challenges and one stinker dropping her squarely where she started. First things first: you put an umbrella in that girl’s hands and it’s a recipe for outrageous cuteness. Put her in the circus and she’ll let her disdain for the process show through, a pretty face but her limbs just didn’t want to be there. But behind the wheel, apart from the fact that she was looking anywhere but the road ahead (it’s pretty much a lock that one of these women will die a fiery car crash death checking themselves in the mirror while driving – my money’s on Rebecca-Rose) she looked great and glamourous, played older than her years and sloughed off the Hastings. Plus she’s tricked Sara into thinking her attitude’s changed (it hasn’t, but was never all that bad in the first place). Brimful of confidence, but maybe riding for a fall. I predict a bottom two appearance in the next two weeks.
5. (LW: 9) Victoria
HUGE week for Victoria, the onetime impotent basement dweller of the competition was the surprise package of the week. Admittedly it was all adult-contemporary, this girl’s future screams jewelery ads, so it’s hardly a stretch to see her in Michael Hill. That being said, she took a great photograph, the best of the week, by imagining her “beautiful husband brought me this diamond watch”. The most tragic part is, one day her husband will buy her a watch from the Botany MHJ, and she will drive around in a ten year old convertible MX5 and be truly happy. For this week, at least, it was more than enough. FUCK. Almost forgot the props. Had to swaddle herself in toilet paper and keep a straight face. AMAZING moment. Girl could sell you any household good and make it look meat-and-two-veg sexy. I worry that if she were given Jif she’d have gargled it.
6. (LW: 5) Hosanna
The big cry of the week (see photo), and all over being called a prostitute! Seriously, “you’re not working the streets, you’re driving them” was one of the better burns of the series so far (if a little obvious), and it destroyed Hosanna. She was pretty much convinced she was going home and sat sobbing with only Victoria, fresh off a home-run, willing to comfort her. Still, no one minded, because it gave Christobelle a chance to Dio girl it up; “I think it was quite mean of me to not care that Hosanna was crying. But I had more important things on my mind.” Ultimately though, they found a good shot of her, and her hysterics just go to prove (again) how badly the girl wants this thing. Which will make her ejection all the more brutal.
7. (LW: 3) Rebecca-Rose
The biggest drop of the week, and I bet the bobble-headed twig is still wondering why. The main reason is that she’s taken over from TL as the one-dimension queen. All she has is Blue Steel, and that shot of her at the wheel was frightening, a mess of pale skin, teeth and eyes. She did great on the circus gear (probably because she doesn’t have to contend with gravity like the other girls) and got a fan (that’s an alley ‘oop of a prop if ever there was one), but she will never, ever do a mainstream shoot, and today showed why. Could have easily gone home, and needs to step up big time next week.
8. (LW: 8) Lucy
She’s nothing if not consistent. Took six minutes to burst into tears for no good reason (“I don’t want to go home, but maybe it would be good for me?” – you’ll find out soon enough Luce), and maintains her place in the Power Rankings bottom two in a week which saw a number of girls scrambling for the position. She avoided it on the show largely because she fluked an OK shot, but really, it was as abysmal a week for Lucy as it was for Chris P on Bromance. She just somehow avoided the block. To give her a small crumb of credit, she did some amazing things with the fire extinguisher (again, a prop that was crying out to be turned on her naked body), but she looked cross-eyed and homicidal on the trapeze and the photo shoot was something else again. The girl has no control over her face whatsoever. Neither do I, coincidentally – my smile in photos looks like someone putting on make up in a trainwreck. But I’m not contending on NZNTM. The photographer was being polite in describing her eyes as ‘manic’, and the desperation oozing out her evey pore was excruciating to witness. She’ll go this coming week, unless another meltdown interrupts the process.