This week Jane – as in Randall ’12, as in SchwartzDY ain’t the only insta-celebs in town right now – dodged the bullet in more ways than one.
A lot of reality television skeptics dismiss the genre as an exercise in tawdry public humiliation. Normally I counter such assertions with a disquisition on how reality shows routinely reach heights only the best scripted fare can equal (the phrase “subverts traditional narrative structures” gets a thorough workout). But in the case of America’s Next Top Model makeover episodes, tawdry public humiliation is exactly what’s up. And boy, is it glorious.
Bleached eyebrows. White-girl weaves. Peed-on-snow dye jobs. Sometimes all at once (see Rae, Cycle 13). Everything’s on the table once Tyra decides to “edge a girl out,” and this Cycle was no exception. But while one girl got saddled with a fire-engine-red mullet, Jane made off relatively well, receiving only a gentle hair lightening and some tasteful extensions.
New ‘do in place, Jane then managed to survive both of the episode’s eliminations. This was despite committing a cardinal sin of modeling when she posed with her head closer to the camera than her body. As any regular Top Model watcher can tell you, such ill-advised leaning can lead to an unsightly bobblehead effect:
Fortunately, Jane’s was just one of a whole group of lackluster performances this week. Whether she managed to step it up going forward is anyone’s guess — but an an educated one, thanks to a little-known requirement associated with the model’s makeovers.
The reason most people don’t sport drastic, Top-Model-style dye jobs and hair extensions in real life is that these hairstyles, in addition to being frequently as “questionable” as they are “edgy”, are expensive, difficult, and time-consuming to maintain.
As a result, most Top Model contestants ditch their show makeovers after a few months (ie, once the show actually starts airing). Most contestants, that is, except the show’s two finalists, who have to keep their Tyra-approved look until the finale.
For example, check out this picture of Cycle 10′s top three on the day of their makeovers, and then compare with this pic of the same trio of girls at that season’s finale viewing party. Pop quiz: Can you tell which model failed to make the final two?
The current season of Top Model filmed in June, which mean’s that Jane’s makeover is just about to reach its expiration date — that is, unless someone (a certain Tyra Banks, perhaps) is paying for, and demanding, its upkeep. So keep an eye out – Jane may be sworn to secrecy about her fate in the competition, but extensions never lie.