Mark Cuban’s dancing no more, which leaves us rooting for Dallas' Next Top Model wannabe. It was obvious something was up this week for our fair Ambreal when, within the first minutes of the show, she was on the horn to her Daddy lamenting her poor performance last week and asking him to pray for her. But then things started to look up.
The girls got a visit from the male model of all male models, Tyson Beckford. He gave the crew a lesson on being a spokesperson, and each competitor had to “sell” a random item from the kitchen with sexy flair. Dallas’ gal fed Beckford a mango and, thus, this week's episode title, “The Girl Who Gets a Mango,” was born (and those who know their ANTM know major shit always goes down with the girl referenced in the title). Said an absolutely ecstatic Ambreal, “I’m ready to win a challenge, and I got my hopes up, ‘cause Tyson bit my mango.”
And win a challenge she did. The girls had 30 minutes to develop a 30-second PSA for the I Am African campaign benefiting Keep A Child Alive (an emergency response and treatment organization dedicated to the AIDS epidemic in Africa). Ambreal’s team included Jenah and Heather, and even though their planning time seemed completely fruitless, they put out a simple cue-card based effort that earned them major rewards.
After a random drawing between the three, it was determined Ambreal and Jenah would receive $500 gift baskets from Carol’s Daughter (send some home, girl!) and Heather would get a Carol’s Daughter photo shoot photographed by Matthew Rolston and art-directed by Mary J. Blige (because of it, Heather turned out her first face-forward photo this week and had improved talking heads despite hints in previous weeks that her having Asperger’s Syndrome may have been contributing to social awkwardness and eye contact avoidance).
Then came the photo shoot challenge and things went to hell in a gift basket. Each girl was dressed and set amongst different various recyclables. Ambreal was newspaper (we approve). Only, said Art Director Jay Manuel: “I just wanna know when she forgot how to model.” Ouch. “She had probably one of the easiest garments to work and probably one of the most dynamic sets, and it was boring and she totally forgot about her face. It just was really uninspiring.” Said Ambreal: “It’s really heartbreaking, because I know I can do this and I don’t want to go home."
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When it came down to it, Ebony (who, in my humble opinion skews a bit mannish) and Ambreal were in the bottom two. The panel chose Ebony to stay. And Ebony’s response was, “I don’t really want to be here. Modeling, I don’t think is for me.” And the needle dug across the record.
Tyra proceeded to channel her inner momma-bitch for a moment to respond with, “You know what I think is not for you? I think it’s people telling you what to do. I think it’s people telling you you’re not perfect. I think that’s what you can’t handle. And the most unattractive thing in the world to me is a quitter and for that you can go. Good luck!”
Then she turned to Ambreal as if all were rosy and said, “So, Ambreal, a free pass has been given! There’s something really beautiful about this situation, because this competition is about giving a chance to people who really want this, and I know you really want this. You have to use that natural talent that you have. Take that, and own that. Prove these judges wrong that you were [in] the final two and the one that was going home this week.” With a teary “I will” from Ambreal, they embraced, and Tyra whispered, “This was meant to be.” Ain’t she sweet.
Lessons learned from Top Model this week, Friends? First, if you’re gonna quit, do it before they announce who’s going home, because to wait and see if you made it ain’t nothing but rude. Second, Tyra might just be a good actress … that’s the PC term for CYA on the CW, right? --Merritt Martin