Nigel: It's Anybody's Competition Now

Nigel Barker

The Chopard Challenge was intense. It’s not necessarily a common challenge in fashion, but it does happen.  In order to show all sides of the business and prepare our models, The Face sometimes takes the most radical things that can happen on a shoot in order to prepare them for the most extreme conditions. If you’re an athlete, you’re not always going to have rainy weather but it’s good to train at altitude. Of course, you really just might book a Vivienne Westwood show in 10-inch heels! Naomi did it. Gisele had to walk on a rain-soaked runway for Alexander McQueen in really high heels, and it was one of her defining moments.

The Chopard Challenge is what is called a ‘fashion film.’ The brand is basically trying to blow people’s minds with motorcycles and smoke and high heels and over-the-top drama, and dropping a line at the end brings it to the commercial reality of what they’re selling. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ray delivered the lines the best. Tiana had it in the bag during the first part of the challenge, but when it game to delivering that last line, it was way over the top to the point of absurdity. Anne V admitted it was her fault for giving her poor direction, but the result was actually cringe-worthy. Ray, on the other handdelivered the tag as if she were in the moment honestly reading the Chopard jewelry box.

Nigel BarkerThe other girls just got so wrapped up in getting it done and going through the motions, but it’s not a relay race. It’s a professional job, and people are paid a fortune to do it right. Every little gesture is important, especially on TV. It’s not a question of overplaying it, it’s actually underplaying it, because on TV the smallest gesture looks massive. Unfortunately Anne V’s direction to over emphasize , and the director also not asking for a variation in the read didn’t help. I’m not sure what went wrong in the performance – for this one I’ll give Tiana a “get out of jail free card”!

Team Naomi won because they were the best of the bunch. They didn’t necessarily excel in any one area, but the other two teams flopped so badly either in the run or on the line delivery so Team Naomi was the default. It’s not the best way to win, but there you have it.                         

Naomi gave Afiya a hard time, but it seemed to be exactly what Afiya needed. Anne Slowey, the Fashion News Director from Elle who was on the episode, said to Afiya that if she could tap into that heightened energy and keep it real and authentic, she could have the most extraordinary performance ever.  The run had a much tougher, stronger, sexier look than the rest. Felisa gave an effected performance when it came to delivering the tag. I think overall most of the girls couldn’t really get there. You’re being mugged! I’d rather they slipped and fall then pick themselves up.  It seems like Naomi was really trying to get that through to Afiya, and it was the only way she understood.

I believe Tiana deserved to stay. Her performance was strong, her run was good, her acting was okay until the line was delivered, and Anne admitted she had a hand in it. Not to mention, she had to be up for elimination because she was the only one left on Team Anne V. Eliminating Amanda felt right at this moment. She had done okay, but just seeing her standing next to Tiana – Tiana looks more like a winner. Amanda was a bit out of her league, and the competition had gotten to her. There were really long days and nights shooting, everyone was feeling the burn at this point.

She did well to get this far!

Of course, Lydia is left with the greenest model, Ray. But, she was one of Frederic Fekkai’s favorite girls, and he’s the one who chooses the winner in the end! Sometimes when you have a naïve green model, they’re the ones who are the most available for change, versus someone who thinks they know it all; Ray is an open book and you can write her own words. Perhaps this is her strong point.

The competition is anyone’s at this point!

[Photo: Oxygen Media/Tim Brown]


Read more about: Nigel Barker Anne V Naomi Campbell Lydia Hearst

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