At the end of last week’s episode of Australia’s Next Top Model, Sarah Murdoch announced to the top 20 contestants that only 16 girls would be Top Model finalists. That meant another four girls had to get the chop. But for whoever those girls would be, at least it would come after a whirlwind trip to Paris!
Top Model Meets The Amazing Race
After landing in Paris and wheeling their leopard print suitcases through chic French streets, the contestants arrived at the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon, where they jumped on beds, marvelled at the bathtubs, and found their first bit of ‘Sarah-mail,’ which contained clues about what was in store. A line about needing a “tower of strength” pointed quite obviously at something to do with the Eiffel Tower, though some of the geography-challenged girls first thought of the Tower of Pisa.
The following day they met Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry at the Eiffel Tower, where they were given their first real challenge of the competition. Divided into four groups, the girls were handed envelopes with 450 Euros, a map, four store destinations (H&M, Gap, Come On Eileen and Le Dressing de Brigitte) and directions to Next Model Management. The task was that they had two hours to visit the shops and buy stylish outfits that they thought would be appropriate for a model casting. The strict time limit also meant that anyone who arrived at Next late would be immediately disqualified. And off they went, on an Amazing Race-style tour of Paris!
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With so much pressure, it wasn’t exactly the way you’d want to have a shopping spree in France. Caroline’s group had so much trouble with their map that they had to ask several groups of French boys for directions, and only had time to make a stop at H&M. Cassy was the focus of her group, and wasn’t particularly pleased with the man-style shirt she’d be given because she felt like a jockey. Yolanda didn’t like that Amelia had taken on the role of stylist for her group. And Simone’s group had dramas because they hadn’t bought a single outfit with only 20 minutes on the clock. So it was all up to H&M to solve their model-style dressing dilemmas!
The poor time management skills of Simone’s group also meant that they were the last to arrive at Next . . . and they were also late. An unimpressed Charlotte and Alex sent them away, leaving three groups in the running for the Paris present. While Charlotte and Alex voiced some of their observations, the big decision of the best dressed came from the president of Next’s Europe division. His pick? Caroline, Madeline, Neo, Rachel and Sarah!
A Model Prize
To reward their efforts in the first Parisian challenge, Caroline, Madeline, Neo, Rachel and Sarah were treated to a one-on-one (or is that five-on-one?) dinner with one of the world’s top models: Natalia Vodianova. The Russian stunner shared her personal story with the girls — how she started working at a young age selling fruit, and was used to hard labour — and gave them a piece of advice: no matter how they were feeling, “You have to be in a good mood and look good.”
Contestants, Couture and the Château de la Muette
The location for the girls’ first official shoot couldn’t be grander: the Château de la Muette. Inside its walls were rooms filled with racks that contained couture gowns that had been flown in from around the world, including dresses that had been worn by Mila Kunis and Beyoncé.
As Jez photographed the girls he made comments about their performance, such as Simone’s expressionless face, Izzy’s amazing movement, Neo’s confidence and how he was worried it would turn into attitude. Cassy forgot the name of the designer she was wearing (John Galliano) and had a stylist check her label, while Yolanda chose a sexy, sheer dress that she thought would impress the judges.
Most of the girls were thrilled to be dressed in couture, but it seems Caroline had her own ideas of how she wanted to look. After a stylist rejected her choice of a hot pink gown for a dramatic black dress with feathered shoulders, Caroline called the stylist a “b*tch” and pouted her way through her photo shoot. Did she not hear what Ms. Vodianova said about always being in a good mood?
Back to Reality (and Results) in Sydney
Upon returning to Sydney, the girls were greeted by Sarah at the warehouse to receive their photos — and find out which four girls wouldn’t be continuing in the competition. One by one, the girls saw their Chateau pictures for the first time, most of them amazed by their transformations. Caroline said of her photo, “It doesn’t even look like me,” and had to be reminded by Sarah that as a model it wasn’t in her power to dictate her look. Alex Perry praised Izzy’s shot, calling it the “most couture,” while shy Elizabeth was told she embodied couture. Charlotte had only one word for Yolanda’s sultry shot: “Goddess.” (Line of the night also came from Charlotte, who said, “I love Madeline [even though] I give her a hard time about looking like a tranny ’cause she wears more makeup than Alex Perry.”)
When it came to revealing the results, Sarah handed out photos to the safe girls until only four remained — Shannon, Sarah, Georgia and Lauren left the competition. With a difficult shoot done and dusted and only 16 girls left, things are only going to get tougher from here! Were any of your favourites eliminated?
Photo courtesy of Foxtel