I’m back from a brief recapping hiatus to bring you these highlights and lowlights of the past week’s episode. Here’s most of what you need to know about Episode 6 (Beauty is Pride) from the previous week: Jeana and Khrystyana were standouts. Liberty went home. Moving on now.
As if we couldn’t tell from that episode title (and yeah, they really are sticking with that format for the whole season), it’s clear this is going to be an emotional episode from the opening scenes. Brendi K. talks to camera about her unsupportive mother. And Jeana, Erin and Rio have a really tough conversation in the hot tub where Erin shares that her son’s father passed away from cancer. She left him while he was sick and he died a year later, and she is carrying a lot of guilt for that.
Last week after panel, Tyra hinted at a “raw” photoshoot. Everyone assumes this means nude.
Tyra sends in nail technicians to give them manicures and then comes to the house to join them. Christina gets emotional talking about her dad’s heart issue, and some of the girls soften toward her a bit. (Watch out girls – this whole thing is fluke. Christina is still kind of awful.)
Tyra tells them how important vulnerability is and the best way to be vulnerable is to talk to your younger self. As weird as this sounds, this actually made me want to write a letter to my younger self. Am I under Tyra’s spell? Am I #nextlevelfierce?
Khrystyana shares in confessional that was molested at age 11. She felt disgusted with herself because of it, even though she knows it isn’t her fault. I feel so terrible for her because I can see how much it still hurts her. I’m so proud of her for sharing this though.
Tyra breaks the news to everyone that the photos aren’t nude. They’re just no makeup. Which you could call a nude face, but only if you want to be laughed at.
Casually she throws in, “Oh and I’m your photographer.”
They all take off their makeup together and the shoot is outside at the house on a bed of white sheets. Each model is photographed being vulnerable and tender, while the other models’ hands are on their bodies representing support and love. It’s quite lovely, actually.
It looks like most of the models do really well, and they all seem to feel really close to one another from this experience. Several of them get emotional.
But wait, there’s more rawness to come.
Drew and Director X are back. The models are going to use their voices to fight back against bullying in a video for the National Crime Prevention Council’s digital campaign. In groups of three, the models have to write a short voiceover script and a tagline. In the video, they will do a little acting and a lot o’ screaming. They’re told to pick people they want to know more about, and Brendi K. immediately picks Christina so that they can get to know each other and bury the hatchet. This was kind of surprising from Brendi K., but I’m all for it. Be the bigger person, babe.
Right away Christina is kind of awful though, so this warm fuzzy feeling is short lived. Stacey McKenzie talks to the models about their particular vulnerabilities and experiences with bullying, and Christina immediately says she’s been bullied in the model house. She’s clearly just saying this so Brendi can overhear it, which makes me roll my eyes. I can’t with this person.
Brendi and Stacey share an emotional moment where they relate over not feeling good enough for their mothers. I’m a little proud of Brendi for not engaging in the Christina stuff, especially on set. Brendi 2, Christina 0.
These videos are really emotional and clearly take a toll on the models. A lot of them are crying before/during/after their shoots.
Sandra, Kyla and Khrystyana’s voiceover script (read by Tyra, by the way!) tells their personal stories of struggle (Islamophobia, struggling with a stutter, and body shaming, respectively). It looks pretty great, but Khrystyana seems like a clear standout to me. She can channel that emotion into a very real performance. Her face just makes me want to cry too.
Erin, Rio and Jeana’s video was based around the tagline “Make it stop.” Drew says it was powerful.
Brendi, Shanice and Christina showed some actual bullying in their, but it didn’t end in a message of hope, according to the NCPC representative.
The winners of the challenge are Sandra, Kyla and Khrystyana! Their video will be featured as part of the NCPC’s digital campaign and shared on social channels.
We go back to the house for five seconds so we can see a Tyra Mail – aka Selfie Mail – telling the models panel is coming up. Why do we need a formal Tyra Mail for this? It’s the same every week. Ugh.
Kyla - Her outfit is very Lara Croft meets light BDSM. Drew says, “Every piece of you is activated in this image.”
Sandra: Drew calls it “fantastic.”
Shanice: Drew says, “You’re a rising star.”
Brendi: Ashley says, “I’ve never seen you look this beautiful before.” True. The photo is gorgeous.
Rio: Ashley says, “This photo is everything.”
Erin: It’s not great. Law says, “It should have been tender and it turned out tortured.”
Jeana : Tyra says, “This takes my breath away. Gorgeous.”
Khrystyana, aka THE QUEEN OF MY HEART: Tells her story to the panel, and this is the first time she’s really told people this much about it. The last time she saw her dad before he left their family, he left her alone in a hotel room with a business associate who molested her. Everyone is crying. She said she didn’t know what to do so she never told her mom. Ashley thanks her for being open and vulnerable and helping other girls.
The photo. Holy shit. It’s so stunning.
Ashley says, “Every time you come to set, you bring something completely different. You have such a story to tell in every photo as well.”
Christina: Drew says she looks nervous. Ashley says it’s not her best photo. Tyra tells her that “a no makeup thing is not your thing.” Cue Christina’s excuses and defensiveness: She says she never wears makeup so it is actually her thing.
Tyra has to explain to her like she’s talking to a fucking child that feedback isn’t cutting her down. It’s helping her grow as a model and person. Christina soaks in absolutely zero of this.
Call out order
Best photo – Brendi
But wait. She tells Brendi to stay right where she is and not walk over to the side as usual. Then she calls out:
Jeana, Khrystyana, Kyla, Rio, Sandra and Shanice
ALL 7 TIED FOR BEST PHOTO. First time in ANTM history.
Erin and Christina are the bottom two, obviously. They’re the only ones that got any negative feedback. Tyra tells Erin that she was so beautiful on set but got in her own head, which led to a subpar photo compared to the rest of the models. She tells Christina they’ve seen better from her and that she’s also in her own way.
Tyra is ready to throw some shade at Christina, so here it comes. “Erin, your photo was not strong, but you’re staying in this competition.” Tyra tells her she listens and she is moldable and “that’s what this competition is about.” (Yes, she said it in italics.)
To Christina: “Erin’s photo is weaker than your photo, but we looked at her body of work and her body of self.” It gets worse: “We feel that you are here for exposure and not to be molded. So we’re freeing you.”
Christina’s exit interview still blames everyone else. The only thing she got out of this whole thing was green hair, and she still doesn’t have an ounce of self-awareness.
Until next time.
Yours in #nextlevelfierceness,
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The authors of this blog are four women with opinions about pop culture. That's all you really need to know.