On the previous episode of Australia’s Next Top Model, the burgeoning professional babes were tasked with a health and fitness challenge during which we were forced to endure the sight of poor Dajana executing a post-exertion hurl and a depressingly awesome-looking haul of “bad foods” get swept into a bin. The nerve of some people. Taylah (not to be confused with Taylor) crept into the lead as an early contender (after pulling out the stone cold fox-of-a-photo you see above) in the gymnasium staged sports-luxe photo shoot. What does J-Hawk, Sunglass Head and Cha Cha Dawes have in store for the athletically challenged young babes this week? Join us here and on FOX8 from 7:30pm AEST and we’ll all find out together.
7:34pm: The fourth week of the competition begins with our glum aspiring supers putting on a very convincing air of melancholy. They’re all casually corralled around the lounge room – pensively reading teen lit, natch – and reflecting on the exhausting emotional and physical trials of last week. There are a few tears from the doe-eyed baby Ashley, who says her life finally has some direction now she’s on the show. Ashley, girl, if I had a dollar for every teen I’d met (or been) whose life had direction I would have zero (0) dollars. Probably don’t sweat that one too much – there’s time yet lil’ lamb.
7:36pm: After a brief interlude made seamless by the magic of television, Jenny Hawko steps into frame looking like a sweet, chic Neenish tart ready to greet the girls at Elizabeth Bay house for a Pinterest-worthy morning tea. It’s a third-year gender studies major’s nightmare – a pastel pink re-imagining of a 1950s housewife’s kitchen tea. Not a moment too soon, the girls are let off their leashes and chow down on the various baked goods with wild abandon. Like any dream involving a room full of free pastries, it turns out it’s all too good to be true: an elaborate ruse designed to strip away any pretense of civility and decorum. Some ole doyenne who I think is June Daly Watkins is spying upon the girls with Jenny H. Classic reality TV switch-and-bait!
7:37pm: Clutching at her pearls, June is standing in the shadows with Jen admonishing their ability to perform basic tasks, like chewing with a closed mouth and not being a mole. A couple of girls start throwing all the food, glorious food; it’s just like Dickens’ Oliver, sans gruel and the black plague.
7:39pm: A-ha! Turns out it’s definitely June Daly Watkins, an octogenarian model and the Empress of Etiquette. Never one to dally (see what I did with that?) June gets to work immediately, dressing down the models’ off-duty uniform of denim cut-offs as “cheap and common”. As Shanali observes, this all feels a little anachronistic – lessons in posture, sitting with your legs closed, and walking down stairs balancing books on heads especially grate with Rhiannon who, at 19, thinks she has much more “life experience” than the other girls *#smdh, rolls eyes*
7:45pm: Ladylike etiquette duly noted, we return to Top Model HQ where the diminutive Miss Universe alumni Rachael Finch casually descends into the bustling pool area to announce the next challenge – an audition to appear in a nationally televised Nissan commercial that will result in a paid job. The challenge will take place that night at a red carpet premiere [cue screams!] for a mock ANTM movie [cue less enthusiastic screams]. Finch demands grace, composure and poise from our lackeys. This should go off without a hitch.
7:49pm: Returning from wherever you went in the last ad-break, we arrive on-set at an abandoned back lot as the first lowered Nissan pulls up and Shanali steps out to greet an assembled crowed of about forty extras playing the roles of media and fans. Her dismount was graceful enough, her red carpet presence was composed and Alex Perry and Finch are pretty impressed. To varying degrees of success the rest of the girls go through the motions: Abbie commits an offence punishable by “instant death” by forgetting the name of the car she rode in on; Rhiannon (or Jade, I still can’t tell) fluffs the name of the designer she’s wearing, which is not good.
7:55pm: Looking insanely fox-esque Taylah casually ‘comes out’ “with nothing to hide” about her having had a girlfriend for over a year. Chic.
7:58pm: Awkward leans mastered and the challenge completed, we all find ourselves inside the theatre where the only things these girls have got tickets on are themselves. After much fanfare, tiny diamond Rachael Finch & Sunglass Head reveal that Shannon, Brooke and Shanali book the paid Nissan commercial, from which they pocket a cool $1500 and some invaluable life experience. Shannon is going to buy some champagne with her spoils. However, the barely concealed rage of some of these girls at having missed out on the commercial is the real prize here.
8:05pm: A new day brings with it the dawning realisation that we’re on the set of another photo shoot, on which P. Diddy Yay Cohen – dressed in a slim-fit red shirt a little reminiscent of his namesake Seth – introduces noted fashion photographer Derek Henderson. Dez gives the girls a brief of “a 1950s modern housewife”, which translates to polished make-up, A-line skirts, peplums, pussy bows, wistful staring, knowing smiles and smizing elegance.
8:10pm: Up first, Ashley does a convincing 30-year-old. Derek Hendo loves it. Shanali also proves she can walk and look good while doing so, an impressive feat; Dajana underwhelms everybody when she has to be told to smize (really Diana Agron?); Rhiannon, the loose cannon, has too much pizzazz for the likes of Did-he-yeah after failing to adequately take direction. That’s a wrap.
8:22pm: Tensions are running high as per usual at panel, where everything is on the line and hopes are raised up only to be crushed soon after. It’s the best.
8:23pm: First up, Brooke incurs the taut wide-eyed wrath of Cha Cha Daws after making a quip about her age. Next, when asked how Jade felt about the 1950s theme she says she really liked it because “My grandma’s from that era.” Dawson, also from that era, hangs her head in shame because ageing and the involuntary passage of time are not #chic.
8:25pm: I think the surprise star of this season thus far is Alex Perry, whose levels of pursed-lipped smiling condescension have reached all new heights; his capacity for blunt “MOR” feedback is also kind of great and provides near-weekly highlights.
8:27pm: After Madeline delivers a knockout photograph, Melissa steps up to the panel. Earlier in the episode, Melissa counted she could stack seven-fingers on her forehead – it was impressive and refreshing to see her owning her unique look. “Bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep mmm bleep,” says an awestruck Dawson upon seeing Melissa’s arresting photo. “That is my favourite photo out of all of them,” concurs Hawkins. “I reckon that’s probably the best photo I’ve ever seen in this competition – of any series, this is special,” concludes Perry. High praise for a high – you get the point. A+ Melissa, you seem like a sweet gal.
8:30: It’s crunch time. No surprises as Melissa is called first, followed by Madeline and Shanali, Duckie, Ashley and Taylah – who looks like a young Charlotte Dawson, I might add.
8:30 and a half: PS Are we doing makeovers this season? Some of these gals could do with “getting’ they hair did.”
8:31pm: Following the procession of the middling models, Rhiannon and Abbie – who can’t present to-camera without busting into fits of giggles, ‘tee hee hee’ – are in the bottom two. They’re dealt the customary ‘pack your bags’ speech, before Jen announces Abbie is “still in the running to become Australia’s Next Top Model.” She remains refreshingly stoic, meaning it’s goodbye Rhi Rhi.
8:34pm: Rhiannon The Loose Cannon returns to The Haus, packs her bags and promises this won’t be the last you’ll see of her; there will be bus shelter ads, no doubt. Rhiannon had a bit of a bad gal personality and I expected her to stick around a little longer. She reminded me of that other alt-lite bad-ass from Cycle 5 with short hair and big lips and bigger attitude. You know the one. Jalen? Jayla? Jelleteen? I don’t know.
8:35pm: That’s it for another week. Rhi you next week, everyone except Rhiannon! Next week: MAKEOVERS!!!!