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New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Eight

It was my birthday on Sunday. If you want to know what it was like for me, cast your mind back to the twins’ birthday a few weeks ago, with me making the emotional speeches and Nellie’s part being played by a mirror. The whole day I was looking forward to the ep of NZNTM I had stashed away on the MySky, both because when you’re in your thirties that’s pretty much all there is left, and because it was the overseas ep.

Remember last year’s trip to LA? That was one of my favourite TV hours ever. By heaps. Teryl-Leigh complaining about the absence of Number 1 Shoes from Rodeo Drive? Hosanna comparing herself to Kate Moss being trumped by Victoria comparing herself to Tom Cruise? NIGEL BARKER flirting with Christobelle?! Some shit hot television.

But this week was flat as. Two quarter pound patties of Sisarich-as-beefcake with only a thin sliver of CMJ’s processed cheese between (his regal fan-waving was my fave part) was part of it, but I think the main issue was simply the location. Phuket (were I Paul Henry I’d be shitting my pants at that hilarious name right now) just isn’t LA. It isn’t even on any fashion radar that I’m aware of. It’s just a nice place to go and have a lie down. The lack of a sense of glamour or history-spurring-action severely impacted on the episode, and as a result I was empathising with the elephant by the end, in being entirely “tired of posing with girls from New Zealand.” (thanks Kane for the quote). Rankings: Continue reading

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New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Eight

Just knowing it was coming didn’t make it any easier to take. All week they’d been running a fantastic promo portending extreme emotion, as good as signing Nellie’s death warrant. But, like one of those fancy movies where they start with the ending (say Titanic, or The Butterfly Effect), once we were rid of the suspense of wondering how things would turn out we were free to soak in the plot, and decry the injustice of the whole thing at greater length.

Because Nellie did not deserve to miss out on a trip to Phuket (budget non-fashion destination it might be, but it’s the principle). Not when Mikaela took a disastrously empty photo, and Elza nearly hospitalised herself with a very high grade freakout.

In the end, though, it had to happen. You could argue for Nellie being top five, but not top four. So she was going to get kicked out anyway. And if you’re going to get got, it might as well be in the best episode of the cycle so far. Truly this was a near masterpiece of reality television, and one with so much visual appeal I put together a small, badly shot series of images at the bottom to commemorate its glory. Before then though, we have models to be ranked… Continue reading

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New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Seven

The episode opened with a sweet little letter from last week’s evictees, Eva and Lauren, read aloud to add poignance to their absence. Sample line from this week’s missive: “Danielle and Holly: I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you two – you have such interesting personalities.”

That might be one of the better backhanded compliments I’ve heard, at least in reality TV land, where back-handers tend to be very literal. And it turned out to be as portentous as the orange jacket incident from a couple of week’s back, with Holly taking her dead, Mako shark eyes home to her baby and (as she was so fond of telling us) ridiculously hot boyfriend. You could not argue with the result, and there was much cheering at DeadBall HQ when they finally cut her – but I for one feel a little hollow inside.

For better or worse she provided 60% of the drama on any given Friday. And while it had begun to feel rote and repetitious there was still a tension in the air whenever she was on screen. With one notable exception the girls remaining are so damned nice (exemplified by the twins deranged fawning over one another at the birthday dinner) that we might have to work hard to find much in the way of teeth going forward.

This will mean a heavier reliance upon two people: Dakota, who took her possessed mania to great heights without having the wax melt as in episodes prior; and Colin-Mathura-Jeffree who delivered what was probably his best all-around episode yet*. So maybe we’ll be alright after all.

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New Zealand’s Next Top Model: Cycle Two / Episode Six

The brutal axing of two of the strongest models in one week has shocked the Model-watching world from its slumber. Despite Lauren and Eva’s pre-show rankings of three and six respectively, they are now banished from the house, and must live once more amongst the humans in RL.

“It really makes you think,” said one observer. “If someone as pretty as Eva or with a haircut as appropriate for her face as Lauren can be eliminated, no one is safe. NO ONE!!!”

Crap quasi-news story intros aside, the decision to send the two youths home at once was probably quite guttering for all those who remained. Losing 20% of your colleagues at once would be traumatic for any workplace, and it has the effect of fast-forwarding us to business time – due to the strength of this cycle’s field all those still standing are either bonafide contenders or Holly.

The latter is clearly being carried now – she’s pure bitch appeal, and must on some level be aware of it – a minimum of four objectionable comments per episode to retain her place. As long as she keeps delivering the condescending, joyless lines she’ll keep getting plumb assignments like putting makeup on Courtenay’s eyes (to paraphrase CMJ, a blind person could’ve won with that draw), leading to cheap wins and evading the axe for another week.

Other than the extra shrinkage the main talking point* was the abysmal styling of the photo shoot. They took a bunch of bubbly adolescent girls and turn them into the most frightening kind of Howe Street hookers – truly the worst look of the franchise’s short history. Anyway, aside from the two eliminations there have been a number of big moves, so let’s rank them.

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New Zealand’s Next Top Model: Cycle Two / Episode Five

"In my life/ There's been heartache and pain..."

“Chinese go home,” said the man in the orange jacket*, and while at the time it just seemed like garden variety New Zealand racism, as events unfolded it took on the air of a premonition – albeit one which mistook Amelia’s ethnic origins. Actually it was pretty horrid, but I did quite like the way the judges drew a line between that kind of abuse (which sucks, but is part of life) and your friend dying in a car crash, the latest misfortune to be visited upon poor Danielle.

Amelia basically got told to harden up, and that’s something all the girls would do well to learn. Even by Top Model standards there were a lot of tears this episode, by my count at least five girls turned them on at one point or another. To be fair though, they all met Dave Gibson for the first time in this episode – which is an emotional experience for any human.

That anti-smoking thing was comedy gold, but between Dan Carter’s 4 Everyone water, the Herbal Essences conditioner and Not Our Future it was an episode which blended a little too comfortably into the ads. That being said, those scenarios did conjure up some pretty amazing moments – and violently re-shuffle the rankings – so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

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New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Four

Makeovers week is always the highlight of the early rounds of Top Model, all those PYTs with great clumps of hair around them and tears streaming down their faces. I did think it was a bit gratuitous when they callously handed Lauren her ponytail (see above) – but it was she who underwent the most dramatic transformation, and while she was initially mortified once she got over the shock and realised what an improvement the look was (from next-for-the-chop to top eight) it elevated her performance no end.

But while the makeovers were, on the whole, both relatively subtle and rather good, they did have the unanticipated side effect of leveling the playing field somewhat. Which is to say that the girls with disastrous hair were pulled up close by those with lovely hair. And thus Aafreen, one of the stars of the show prior to now and possessor of thick, luxuriant locks, got sent home. But not before Colin had his fun with her one last time:

Aafreen (at CMJ’s behest): “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I’m the hottest Indian of them all.”

Mirror (played by CMJ): “No you’re not, it’s still Colin.”

That was my favourite Colin of the series so far, even if it seemed a little cruel in light of subsequent events. Still, the joke was on Colin’s face at the end of the show. That was one truly awful beard:

Anyway – rankings:

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New Zealand's Next Top Model: Cycle Two / Episode Three

"Amazing. You've got beautiful..."

Up until now, if I’m honest, I’ve just been fucking with Sisarich. I get it – he’s our Nigel Barker, only less charming and talented. But he is amost as creepy as Barker, and knowing that his American counterpart is renowned for running trains on the cast of each cycle, it was fun to just imply that Sisarich was doing the same. Particularly when he gave us some pretty fine material.

But this week? I am convinced. 100% sold on his being a lech and up to all types of dirty ass shit with these young women. There’s that photo up top, for sure. And the line which accompanied it, which I had to rewind five times to make sure I hadn’t misheard it. But that was hardly the only misdemeanour. How about this combo: Continue reading

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