Oh, you thought America’s Next Top Model was cancelled, honey? Well, it was. But Tyra Banks isn’t just a model, she’s a “Fierce-a-Preneur” (that’s a fierce entrepreneur, BTW), and, thanks to the saving grace of VH1, she has a hell of a lot more beautytainment to give. Since ANTM’s humble beginnings in 2003, we’ve seen 22 “cycles” of models fighting to be on top — often literally, like when they modeled Lubriderm on top of alligators. The reboot is (relatively) Tyra-free, with Rita Ora taking her place as host so the Fierce One can focus on producing. But, don’t worry, Tyra still shows up and all the girls gag with excitement. It’s lovely. And yes, it's all girls this season.
Cycle 23 starts out with a classically campy Tyra Banks speech where she beats into the girls how this season is about being a BOSS. (The episode’s called Business, Brand, Boss.) But the season really kicks off when Rita Ora descends in a helicopter (yeah) and exits with a really lazy strut — she’s so dynamic yet chill! The freakout continues as Ora reveals this cycle's judging panel: supermodel Ashley Graham (she's really cool), Paper Magazine’s Drew Elliot (he mostly makes snarky comments), and celeb stylist Law Roach, who prefers to go by “image architect” because it’s more humble. (Roach also believes “all women should bathe in diamonds and milk,” though he admits this might be a fantasy.)
The challenge? It's easy. Basically, each girl shoots their comp card (winners shown below), then meets with one of two designers (LaQuan Smith, who makes dresses for Beyonce, or Philipp Plein, who is essentially a caricature from Zoolander) for a go-see, before finally getting judged before the panel. Winners are allowed past security at a fancy fashion party and losers are turned away at the door. It's a bloodbath since there are 28 contestants and only 14 will make it on to the show. (Spoiler-not-spoiler: the producers, aka Tyra, basically only show clips of the girls who get on the show. The results aren't a surprise.)
WARNING: The rest of this recap has spoilers, and you’ve now been advised to go watch the show if you're worried about those sort of things. VH1 has lots of commercials for potato chips. Bye!
Now, before we get to the final roster, let's discuss the TWO MOST DRAMATIC MOMENTS OF THE EPISODE!
#2 MOST DRAMATIC MOMENT: I'm Not Falling For The Chia Pet Eyebrows
Courtney has iconic brows and a tortured backstory. She's perfect and will likely be on most, if not all, of the show. But Quei, one of the contestants who gets eliminated, decides she is NOT having Courtney's bushy brows and yells, for no reason, "Nourish those Chia Pets on your eyebrows!" Courtney cries, but Quei doesn't give a FUCK. No remorse. She's a boss and I'm pissed when she's eliminated.
#1 MOST DRAMATIC MOMENT: Kyle + Starr's Romance Is Brutally Destroyed
Dear ANTM viewers, we have really lost something magical in this first episode, and that's the weird, premature, and epic romance between Kyle and Starr. Kyle (above left) makes it onto the show, but not before some intense flirting with Starr (above right), who could benefit from a friend telling her to cool her jets. Kyle + Starr spend a half-day with each other, decide they're in love, and when Starr doesn't get let into the club, she sobs on the corner outside the fake fashion party, screaming how she "should be in there with her!" Please post your romantic fan fiction about the Kyle + Starr romance that will never be. It's a real loss.
With that drama out of the way, let's meet the 14 contestants:
Binta is an all around badass from Seattle (by way of Gambia).
Cherish makes a really strong first impression and then disappears for the rest of the episode.
Cody is Twin #1. Drew Elliot is cranky and says one of them looks scary.
Tash is Twin #2. "Double trouble."
Coryanne's obviously a killer model, which is no surprise—her mom is '90s icon Stephanie Roberts.
Courtney. Review #2 MOST DRAMATIC MOMENT.
Giah’s from the country and ain’t never been to a go-see.
Another Seattle girl, India says she's a rocker chick, but, like the Gigi Hadid kind of rocker chick.
Justine is the baby of the group and has never been on her own.
Krislian has 50k Instagram followers, she's the only Latina competing, and the judges tell her she's too sexy. WTF?
Kyle has a Ruby Rose vibe but is pretty soft spoken.
Marissa's the "strong" one but immediately cries while being judged.
Paige is a straight A student and has a kooky bible camp vibe.
Tatiana is probably the most boss because she is literally the boss of her own skin care business.
Next week: Probably catwalks and how to the be the boss of a catwalk.