Would-be supermodels: Fierce no more and barely fierce

Barboursville's Isabella Falk (L) and Charlottesville's Colin Steers (R).

For three hours on Wednesday night, March 4, two pretty young things from Central Virginia displayed their genetic gifts on national TV, striking poses on a playground and in a suspended Lucite box, all in the hope of becoming the fiercest human clothes hangers in the world (or at least on cable TV). But only one survived to strut the catwalk another day.

Isabella isn't bella enough

On America's Next Top Model's two-hour premiere, Barboursville's own Isabella Falk was among the 34 finalists who squealed together in Las Vegas as they clamored to be the fiercest of them all, or at least among the 13 contestants chosen for the show.

The 19-year-old blonde first had to don a skimpy white tunic in an effort to become the next "Goddess of Fierce," by striking her "most fierce goddess pose" and fiercely walking on clouds (well, through a fog of dry ice). Among her competition: a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, a conspiracy theorist, a burn survivor, several girls from the 'hood, and a self-termed "Blaxican" (whose heritage is African-American and Mexican). Isabella's added dollop of drama? She's an epileptic.

After making the initial cut to 21, Isabella successfully entered the final circle of 13, with host Tyra Banks declaring, "I just want to buy cornflakes from her– but model-fierce cornflakes!" Then it was off to New York City's Upper East Side with the chosen few to begin ANTM's Season 12 in earnest.

The second hour of the show began ominously with Isabella receiving lots of air time in front of  the confessional camera (you know the one to which all reality contestants bare their souls). Rule #1 of Reality TV: If a contestant is on camera a lot, especially early in the season, you can bet that person will soon be packing. Isabella was even the focus of a pregnant pause intended to keep viewers glued to their TVs through a loooonnnngggg commercial break. Would the strobe lights of a runway show trigger an epileptic seizure? Wait for it... nope.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Isabella told the confessional camera nothing embarrassing, just smiled sweetly and repeatedly professed that she was from a small town and that her epilepsy had never held her back.

Meanwhile, the other model-wannabe with the most on-air time, Sandra, was trash-talking and deriding the competition. Rule #2 of Reality TV: The most despicable person in early episodes always survives to play another week. So, our local blonde's fate was already clear when judge Nigel Barker declared her photo shoot "one of the biggest disasters of the day." Tyra then hammered the penultimate nail in our girl Isabella's coffin by calling her "forgettable."

In the end, sweet Isabella and obnoxious Sandra found themselves side-by-side on the chopping block. And since Rule #2 of Reality TV is inviolable, the Barboursville beauty's fierceness was defused, as Tyra delivered the line all ANTM contestants dread: "You need to go home and practice."

Survival of the skinniest

Meanwhile, the second season of Bravo's Make Me a Supermodel got underway with the delectable Tyson Beckford declaring that rather than judging the competition, this year he will mentor the male models, while Australian model Nicole Trunfio takes the female models under her lovely wing. Among those receiving Tyson's tips: Charlottesville native and Carleton College student, Colin Steers, whose geek-chic looks seem not to have helped him much with the ladies since he immediately revealed to the confessional camera, "I'm a 21-year-old virgin."

Dude, did you really want all of America to know that? Stay tuned, though, because Rule #3 of Reality TV: The most embarrassing confessions– especially those regarding sexual experience– usually portend subsequent drama.

Tyson next introduced the supermodel hopefuls to photographer and judge, Perou (that's right–one name), who gave the models their first challenge: pair up, put on underwear, and find "an intimate moment" while suspended in a Lucite box in midair.

Cutaway to Colin confessing, "I'm the only one with absolutely zero modeling experience." Then cut back to Colin in the box with fellow model Ken looking painfully awkward as Perou declared, "These guys are f***ing awful!" At this point, you might understandably have worried for our boy Colin. However, Rule #4 of Reality TV: The most exaggeratedly weak contestants always survive the first few episodes and may even make it to the end.

When the models' measurements revealed Colin was even skinnier (with a measly chest circumference of 36.5") than the waiflike androgyne Chris, things were looking even better for the local talent   la Rule #4.

For the final runway challenge, the men walked down and back in fashions "inspired by" Alexander McQueen and Prada. One of the women confessed her fondness for Colin, saying, "He's very adorable in his Clark Kent sort of way." (Ahem, see Reality Rule #3.) Perou, though, was not impressed by Colin's catwalk skills, and during the model's evaluation sneered, "Your walking unfortunately reminds me of one of those dogs who sits in the back of the car with his head constantly bobbing."

Tyson went to bat for our handsome young brainiac, declaring that if the judges let Colin stay, "I could do something with him." Designer and judge Catherine Malandrino said dreamily that Colin's look was "poetic and timeless." Although the tall, skinny, and handsome local contestant landed in the bottom three, in the end he was designated "safe" and told to exit the catwalk. Backstage, the female models squealed in delight.

Prediction: Colin may not win Make Me a Supermodel, but our masculine little bloom will definitely be deflowered before he waves good-bye.

1 comment

The "delectable Tyson Beckford"?

Eewww! He's OK as long as doesn't open his mouth. Aside from being an extreme douche, he is like a cardboard cutout. It amazes me how stiff and awkward he is - so little natural grace... and his "acting" is horrible. He may know how to prance and preen down a runway (to some people's taste) but the man is a one-trick pony. He should stick to the steamy still photography that he excels at.