Nigel's Premiere Recap: "Isabelle Could Have Been a Major Contender"

We’re back, and I’m so excited for the second season of The Face! We’ve really upped the ante this season with a partnership with Frederic Fekkai – the world’s most luxurious hair brand – and of course we have ELLE on board too as the prize package for the girls. This season will be another really great look inside the modeling industry like you’ve never seen it before. I’m also thrilled to say that this season, I’ll be blogging after each episode with my personal views on what happened. So let’s get started with the premiere.

Let me tell you…it was an unfashionably hot day on the premiere shoot. I watched the poor girls show up to Bryant Park -- which has been the Mecca of New York fashion for years – and they had to work in the sweltering heat in addition to being anxious and nervous over meeting the supermodel coaches.  I’ve been doing this a long time, but it was still very endearing and nerve-wracking to watch them.

[embed:render:file:342586:full]Overall, my first impression was that we had a stunning set of girls, and that this is going to be a great season. They all looked amazing and beautiful, and the heat of the day only made them glow. Plus, if there was ever a time to shine it’s now!

Of course everyone has an opinion when it comes to walks. The legendary Naomi Campbell is known for her walk, and both Anne V and Lydia have their own signature walks, which you could see in the episode. A person’s walk might depend a lot on the designer they work for. For example, a Victoria’s Secret model might shake her booty and wink on the runway, while another model working for a Japanese artist like Issey Miyake might have a quiet walk with no bounce, no smile, and she might look slightly robotic. If you’re used to Victoria’s Secret models, you might think the second model doesn’t know how to walk – but in fact it’s the perfect walk for the right designer. There’s never a singular way to do it.

What I look for in a walk is confidence. Even with Kira: I didn’t necessarily love her walk, but I did think she owned it and made it hers. Sometimes it comes down to a model’s face. Somebody might have a better walk, but their face has a questioning look, or they’re looking at their feet. You never want to look down: you want to know where you’re going and to get your turns right. When you’re leaving the runway, all eyes are on the back of you as much as they’re on the front of you. Sometimes when models walk off the runway, they do a little skip and say ‘oh I’m done!’ and they jet off to the left – but we can still see them! You want to continue doing your walk even 5-10 feet off the runway.

Overall, I felt that Afiya had a very sexy walk and had the confidence, and Khadisha had the strongest, most beautiful and elegant strut.

No doubt, the big controversy of this episode was Isabelle’s elimination. A lot of people put the onus on Naomi for eliminating Isabelle – who appeared to be the better model -- out of strategy. But really, I was surprised to see Anne V put up Isabelle. I just couldn’t understand it. Talk about fairness, it goes both ways. How is it fair that Anne V put up someone who was not the weakest link -- and why is it unfair then for Naomi to knock her off? I believe Isabelle could have been a major contender all the way through. She’s interesting, she’s got great bone structure, I thought she was going to photograph well. Of course Naomi eliminated her– she wants her team to win!

It was perhaps naïve on Anne V’s part to play that game, and frankly Naomi showed from the beginning that this is all business. This isn’t just a television show. This is the real world of modeling, and it’s not always a pretty picture.

Until next time!

[Photos: Oxygen Media/Tim Brown & Oxygen Media/Steve Fenn]

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

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