“Top Model” mini-cap: Whitney wins it all

Well kids, I’ve made my peace with the finale of America’s Next Top Model. Believe me, if I’d written this recap as the credits were rolling, it most likely would have consisted of “Are you kidding me? What? No, no, no, no, no!” over and over and over. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, though, the inevitable win of Whitney seems for the best.

That’s right — good ol’ Plussie has won the almighty Cover Girl contract. It’s Whitney’s face you’ll be seeing in Wal-Marts everywhere, and during the next cycle of ANTM, we’ll learn all about her life as a Cover Girl (which, I hope, will be a hell of a lot more exciting than Tootie’s after her Cycle 9 win — not that wearing hair nets and visiting makeup factories isn’t exciting). All snark aside, congrats to Whitney for being the first plus size — excuse me — full-figured model to win on the show.

Photo credit: Jim DeYonker/The CW

Still, Anya was robbed. Robbed I say! I knew this going in, as some overenthusiastic East Coast friends spoiled the results for me. Had I been completely in the dark, however, the ridiculously slanted editing of this episode would have telegraphed the ending to me in 10-foot neon glittery letters that lasered directly into my brain.

The three remaining amigos — rather, the two remaining amigos and Fatima — immediately embarked on the most important mission yet: they’ve got to rescue the President! Wait, sorry: they’ve got to shoot commercials and print ads for Cover Girl. But the pressure is still high, and it’s so high, in fact, that Anya cries out of nervousness. It’s kind of like watching a rainbow fall down and squish a puppy.

Photo credit: Pottle Productions Inc./The CW

The last Cover Girl commercial the girls shot was The Italian Nightmare (“Brasilia!”), so they’re all a bit nervous; fortunately, the script is in English and there’s no movement required. They’ve all just got to stand there and talk about how awesome their mascara is, or something. The script may have been in English, but it was such a friggin’ tongue twister and they all had so much trouble with it that I couldn’t make out much more than “New lash blast last fast Cover Girl blast if a wood chuck could chuck wood.”

Ultimately, Fats looked gorgeous and knows her script, but her acting is … well, let’s just say that KITT the talking car from Knight Rider is more animated. Whitney also looked gorgeous and delivered a finished product coated in a fine glaze of cheese, while Anya (again, looking gorgeous) stumbled over the script. Damn that Hawaiian Russian surfer girl accent! Mr. Jay says that Anya’s charm and energy make up for her shortcomings and I find myself trying to give him a high-five. I also find my roommate staring at me, wondering why I’m slapping the television screen and giggling to myself like a moron.

The grand finale has all the fat trimmed and there’s no time wasted before the first panel. All of the contestants feel it — they want it, they’re all fighting for it! But there can only be a single Chosen One. Who will it be? (Oh wait, we all know it’s Whitney.)

The first panel is exactly where the editors started cluing us into the results: they show Whitney’s commercial and declare her oh so versatile, oh so directable, oh so Miss America! Fatima’s commercial featured a big blunder and I wonder if it’s really her best take — she never once got through the entire script in one go? Why didn’t they keep filming until she did? Her print ad is a bee-yoot, but Tyra told her she needs to “smile with her eyes,” which gave Tyra a chance to bust out her patented “smiling with her eyes” routine. I hope she expands her repertoire next cycle, perhaps to include “scowling with her knees.”

The judges didn’t hold back when it comes to Anya’s work. The commercial is dubbed a “train wreck” (albeit a train wreck that somehow works) and Paulina said that Anya looked “stupid” in her print ad. Yowza! Her stupid train wrecks prevail, however, and Anya is called first. I began to hope that my spoiler-iffic friend was lying just to mess with me. Fats was sent packing. She made a gracious exit, talking about strengths gained and new beginnings and I finally started to like her a little bit.

Photo credit: Pottle Productions Inc./The CW

When Tyra informed Whitney that she’ll be in the final two, Whitney broke down and cried a bit, giving Tyra a chance to play counselor. “Who is Whitney?” she asked. The judges all know that the confident girl on the outside is just covering up the fragile, unhappy girl on the inside, right? Right? Right, Whitney? You really have no self-confidence and you’re totally insecure, right? Actually, Tyra, she’s crying because she doesn’t want to go home.

As quickly as my hopes for a lying friend and an Anya win appeared, however, they vanished in a puff of smoke: Tyra loves to play shrink and get the girls to “open up” and talk about how miserable they are. Whitney’s forced “revelations” at this stage of the game all but ensure a win. Anya called Whitney’s crying and vulnerability “beautiful,” and once again I slapped my TV. Why won’t any of them high-five me back?

One more photo shoot and a runway show and our winner would be crowned. The photo shoot is for Seventeen Magazine: the winner’s shot will appear on the cover. Once the girls started posing in front of a huge American flag, my thought was, “Hmm, could the contestant constantly dubbed ‘Miss America’ and ‘All-American’ actually be America’s Next Top Model?”

The runway show is, according to Tyra, the biggest in ANTM history as it features Versace dresses. Anya and Whitney do their little turns on the catwalk beside real models and the results were mixed. Whitney flailed about a bit too much for my liking, while Anya was a bit too nervous. I noticed that every time Whitney takes to the runway, there’s a music cue change. (Hmm, the pieces seemed to be falling into place!)

ANTM conspiracy theorists certainly have plenty to chew on thanks to the Versace show; Whitney sported free-flowing dresses that move with her body, while Anya was crammed sausage-style into dresses so tight she could barely walk. Hmm …

Photo credit: Elizabeth Carrillo/The CW

Before you know it, it’s time for the final panel, where the girls were critiqued on their runway walks and their entire portfolios. As to the Versace show, the judges say Anya wasn’t as strong as she should have been, but Whitney reminded Tyra of Tyra. Hmm …

In reviewing the girls’ portfolios, Tyra talked again about how “versatile” Whitney is. (Apparently “versatility” means having your mouth open in all of your photos. Seriously, go to the CW website and check out Whitney’s portfolio — her mouth is open in every single shot. I can’t believe the judges never called her on it.)

Let’s see how Anya compared to Whitney based on panel comments and results: Anya is more “fashion,” whereas Whitney is “pretty”; Whitney was in the bottom two at four different, while Anya never found herself at the bottom; Anya won more challenges than anyone this cycle; Anya is a “budding high fashion model,” while Whitney is “a ham”; Anya has great energy and a charming personality, while no one knows who Whitney “really is.” Hmm …

Whitney wins!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Carrillo/The CW

Here’s the thing: while I think Anya is the one who deserved the title, it’s better it worked out this way. Anya will get work in the industry regardless, work far beyond the Cover Girl factory. Whitney can use this opportunity to be a role model, and Tyra can feel good about having a plus-size model as the winner. As Paulina said at the end of the show, “This should not be called plus-size or full-figured. This should just be called beautiful.”

So say we all. Now bring on Cycle 11!