Australia’s Next Top Model Episode 03: Live Blog

Previously on Australia’s Next Top Model, our fifteen gal pals took the “trip of a lifetime” to exotic Thailand, where sneaker wedges were scarce and each girl’s ability to remember the word ‘muse’ was put to the (considerable) test. A photo shoot requiring the aspiring Dovimas to channel poor little rich girls alongside elephants quickly separated the wheat from the chaff before a delightfully scathing panel sent Chanique packing and off into the glittery ether of ANTM alumni.

Though name-to-face recognition remains admittedly low, join us here and on FOX8 from 7:30pm Australian Eastern Fashion Time for the third installment of the #AusNTM Live Blog.

7:33pm: We start the day the right way in a hospital Emergency Room, where a resilient Ashley has been struck down with a case of burning spine resulting from her appendicitis, which requires immediate surgery. Chic.

7:35: Meanwhile, a fleet of red cars delivers those still standing to their temporary manse in (what looks like) Balmoral. “I’m a Westie which means I’m from a ‘lower socioeconomic area’” says Jade, “so being in a $15 million mansion feels fabulous.” After much fanfare [squealing] in walks Mother Jen, whose duty it is to recite the ultimate winner’s prizes: a car, a cover, a contract, a casting in Paris and some cash. Because this is neither the time nor the place for restraint or mediated, emotionally sound responses, everyone screams some more.

7:37pm: A Cribs-style tour of the household amenities reveals that there are indeed bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, a Miss Shop boutique and underlying tensions emerging between the gals with Rhiannon and Shannon, who last week emerged as the maligned Alamela and Cassi of Cycles 4 and 5 respectively.

7:40pm: Back in the kitchen, Jen reminds the girls she’s still here by dishing up some real talk with the help of personal trainer James Duigon, a dietician known for his work preserving the bodies of Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington Whitely from the inside-out. “Sugar literally drags collagen out of the face and makes you old,” says Duigon as I slowly draw another piece of [my brand of choice] chocolate to my mouth. Pretty sure ‘Time’ is responsible for dragging collagen out of the face and making you old, but whatever. After making some on-trend #greensmoothies and throwing plates of junk food into the bin, the largely symbolic but nonetheless devastating cleansing can begin [after the ad break].

7:47pm: On our return from the commercial break, a phone resting atop a copy of Fifty Shades delivers an urgent “Jen Mail” directing the ladies to the television, where we watch the girls watch Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel expound on the merits of hard work while all of us – you, me and Candice – sit on couches in our respective model houses. Smash cut!

7:48pm: Time for the challenge which everyone assumes is something to do with health and fitness, and watching sweet beautiful slender youths who’ve never so much as thrown a tennis ball to a dog because they haven’t had “a need to exercise”. This should be excellent.

7:50pm: Arriving at today’s challenge location, The Girls are greeted by our new favourite #cleaneating nut James, who tells girls they’re going to confront obstacles in their careers akin to the kinds of challenge they’re about to face. In rides Diddy-Yeah [Didier] on an ATV, who tells the girls they’re undertaking a seven-stage, 1km obstacle course that’ll weed the contenders from the pretenders. The prize? Some gym clothes and a year’s supply of James-branded health supplements. “Oh my gawd” is the general consensus.

7:54pm: War paint on, the girls dive head first into the first of many puddles. “There was 100% poo in there. You could taste it,” notes Brooke.

7:59pm: Trainer James was right – this is just like the Fashion Industry: crawling through detritus under barbed wire, pushing rubber tyres up hills, eating dirt; you know, the usual. With a slightly maniacal scream, personal trainer Jade falls on top of the finish line while last over the line, Rhiannon, wanders over having run fresh out of RiRi’s to give. Dajana barfs into the grass. Bless.

8:03pm: Back at Casa Di Top Model, gift bags brimming with Jen Hawkins designer water and the renewed presence of a post-surgical Ashley sans appendix await to more extreme emotional responses. There is, apparently, no middle ground in the Model House.

8:11: If the theme for the week hasn’t yet sunk in with the girls, it should do so now. The Mod Squad arrive at a gym in Artarmon, where Charlotte Dawson informs them the theme for today’s Justin Riddler-lensed photo shoot is the fashion buzz word of SS2012: Sports Luxe. This means, almost certainly, baby oil, fake grease, cornrows and sneaker wedges :/

8:15pm: First up, Taylah knocks it out of the park with her “Olympic vibe”; an emphatic Duckie is, Justin observes, being “a model right now”; a few other girls coast by pleasantly before Madeline requires a lil’ pep talk from Charlotte to lift her game. Ashley, who executes her shoot lying down because she’s just had emergency surgery, knocks it out of the park looking like ‘a Million Dollars, Baby’. ¯_(?)_/¯

8:23pm: In no time at all we’re at [the judging] panel and it’s time to critique the photos with our esteemed judges, Char Char Dawes, Sunglass Head, and Didier/Diddy-Yeah. At panel the unfit Taylor (I think there are two Taylors, maybe three?) receives an underwhelming critique and looks to be in trouble. Duckie and Rhiannon knock ‘em dead; Shanali, who I think just spoke for the first time, looks in her photo to be losing a fight with a giant rubber band ‘neath a black puffer vest; a few other Taylors/Taylahs serve indistinguishable yet admirable sports luxe realness.

8:28pm: “I don’t think she’s photogenic. It’s like pushing shit up the hill,” says the ever harsh-but-wise Sunglass Head of Unfit Taylor in this week’s standout critique, combining two recurring visual motifs from this episode [poo and Sisyphus]. Things are #not looking good for Taylor Not So Swift.

8:30pm: Western Australia Taylor, on the other hand, is the first gal through having received ample praise for her angular one-piece portrait. She’s followed soon after by various other gamine youths who fulfilled the brief to satisfaction. As predicted, Unfit Taylor and wide-eyed Madeline are left quivering in the bottom two. My pick? Taylor, for sure, no questions asked…

8:34pm: Nailed it! Taylor receives her marching orders, stifles her sobs and fades into starry-eyed soft-focus while that annoying exit music plays out. “I feel horrible. It sucks to be the person in the shoes,” says Tay Tay, who failed to live up to her vague Twiggy potential and now knows how it feels “to be the person in the shoes” of a reality TV also-ran.

8:37pm: That’s #AusNTM for another episode. Tune in next week to see how the remaining Taylors/Taylahs fare against the rest of The Girls in THE JOURNEY TOWARD BECOMING AUSTRALIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL™.