America's Next Top Model
The Girl Who Needs Six Months Of Modeling School

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Stopping Short

Awwww! Even Simon's voice is widdle! No wonder he likes to spend so much time around the optical illusions windows so often provide. I guess "Funhouse Designer" wasn't a respectable enough career field for him to get into, even if he secretly thinks it was his calling. Simon introduces himself by saying, "In New York, you never know who [sic] you're going to run into. So you have to think about how you dress every single day." That may be the single most depressing sentiment I've ever heard expressed, actually, but Tyra echoes it and tells the girls they always need to be ready to be photographed. To that end, Tyra decides to show off some of photographs of her own "personal style gone wrong," when she's ended up on Worst Dressed lists. One is of her in a black dress and a bikini top. One was when she hosted the Oscar pre-show in 2000 in a purple wedding dress. One, if historical accuracy is a prized asset on this show, will be when she unsheathes a Polaroid camera and takes a photo of herself right now.

Tyra instructs each girl to stand up and tell the story about how her current outfit explains her personal style. April is first. She is wearing a shoulder-less white dress with a light-blue waist and a giant slit down the entire front of it. She explains that she likes to "show a lot of skin," and Simon warns her that she needs to find a balance between "groovy and hip" and "provocative." He'd call her a whore, but he's saving that ace for when it's his only card left. Mercedes wears fresh flowers in her hair, which Simon likes. Sara is a little too "street style." Shandi -- who I guess left her stylistically-appropriate "black sheep" costume next to the Red Vines aisle at her former employer -- instead wears a red, off-the-shoulder shirt and a blue skirt. Simon praises her for having her "own thing going on," even though the uniquely personal style of her hair, her eyes and her makeup are all exactly fourteen seconds old and completely fashioned by someone else. Xiomara is wearing hoop earrings and a sports bra, which means she wouldn't even have to change her name before modeling the next great fashions in an upcoming revival season of American Gladiators. Camille tells us that her family is from "Jamaica, West Indies," so she likes to wear the colors represented by their red, yellow, and green flag, explaining, "Red is for the blood that was shed, yellow is for the sunshine, and green is for the land." A quick, intercut confessional here finds Xiomara just going, "Camille: blah blah blah blah" in a way that needs no further explaining, and we hop back to Simon, who warns, "This might be a little too theoretical." Doesn't he mean that it is exactly the most literal thing we've ever seen? It would be like if said, "My personal style is represented in the fact that my name is Dan, so I'm wearing these giant felt letters with my head sticking through the 'A' and I've tethered a 'D' to my left arm and an 'N' to my right, and I will walk the streets singing a jaunty ditty entitled, 'Personally, My Style Is Dan" over and over again. In a bracing win for subtle stylistic decisions, however, I've gone with the far more expressionist Hebrew Phish t-shirt instead, which is just the thinking man's version of those letters. Jenascia wears something that she admits fits into her personal style of wanting to be taller, at which point she slips into a kind of paragraph-ending self-parody that exists on such a base, molecular level that it actually affects grammar. Amazing.

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America's Next Top Model

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