The Face Finale Recap: The Winner Is Fekkai Fabulous!

Well guys, it’s all come down to this. The Face. Finale. The episode where judges and hair maven cum man of my fantasies Frederic Fekkai will finally choose a face to be THE face for the world's most luxurious… hair... brand. OK, we were close, but look, a head of hair has to have a face attached to it if the guy is gonna move product. Then again, I wouldn't NOT watch this show:

We've been through so much this season: Makeovers, press conferences, lingerie shoots and gender swaps. But things are as serious as ever. Will The Face be Afiya Bennett, Naomi Campbell's spunky Bronx girl? Or maybe Ray Clanton, Lydia Hearst's contestant who may or may not be a secret viral marketing campaign for Denny's? Or will it be Tiana Zarlin, the pixie Audrey Hepburn impersonator from Anne V's team? It will probably be Tiana. But let’s pretend we don’t know that yet and see how things shake out.

To kick things off, Ray walks back into the Model Loft from last week’s elimination room. Naomi and Afiya are literally in shock that Felisa Wiley was eliminated. I mean… the camera did not cut away from these two for three minutes:

Anne V tries to relay to Naomi the fact that Felisa put up no fight whatsoever. She practically eliminated herself. But Naomi won’t have it, grabs Afiya, and the two head off to their room to hold each other and softly cry. End scene.

Challenge time! This finale is divided into three parts.

PART I: THE GO SEE

The girls arrive for their go-sees bedecked in the finest of duds. Though, in Ray’s case, the word is a bit literal. I’m calling this look “unsexy secretary.”

I mean, even in this pic, the other two girls have been styled to look pretty cute and modern, while Ray is rocking a look I call “Annie Potts in Ghostbusters.”

Let’s go see Fekkai! Here is his building:

Which I will now plug into Google, reverse search the address, and know exactly which lobby to “casually hang out in” while my silky brown locks cascade over my bare chest.

Whoops! Never mind, he’s already filing a restraining order.

First up for the go-see is Tiana. She knows how to work the dude with a delightful “Bonjour” and a lingering cheek kiss.

He asks which of her photos is her favorite, and she’s like “Duh, the one where I’m naked… right over here… on page 7…” This is not enough for Frederic. He wants to know something deep. Something secret. Her biggest flaw. Tiana says she’s never been to jail, doesn’t do drugs…

But there must be something she’s hiding! Tiana digs deep, and says her biggest insecurity is her break-out prone skin. Fekkai is sympathetic for 2 seconds, until he clears things up pun intended by telling her that he has a dermatologist down the hall who can clear up her skin in a few days flat. So…. That’s the end of that drama I guess.

Afiya is next, and when Frederic asks for something about her that would surprise him, she sort of blows it by saying:  

And he’s like:

Ray tries to build a bridge between herself and Frederic by bringing up the fact that they both went against their father’s wishes to become a hairstylist and model respectively. Fekkai is feeling this angle. Fekkai is charmed. Off camera Ray is all...

After Round 1, it looks like Ray’s winning personality has put her ahead of the others in the race to be The Face.

PART II: THE PHOTOGRAPH

There to photograph the girls is none-other-than celebrity photographer about town and ex-husband of a certain Real Housewife of New York, Gilles Bensimon. The girls get their hair and makeup ready, while Fekkai himself darts between their stations to make sure their follicles are up to his lofty standards. 

Lydia tells Ray to use positive affirmations, which Ray does, looking into the mirror and saying she IS The Face. Frankly, I think this works. The last time I used “talking to myself in the mirror” to pump myself up, I was drunk at a bar and on the verge of going home with a dude. I took a quick ladies room break to run to the bathroom, stare in the mirror, and say “THIS IS HAPPENING.” Now sure, by the time I left the bathroom, said dude was halfway across the Manhattan bridge in a taxi…. Still, I support this tactic.

But no amount of affirmations in the world are going to help this photo:

Fekkai doesn’t sugarcoat it:

Lydia tells Ray to use positive affirmations, which Ray does, looking into the mirror and saying she IS The Face. Frankly, I think this works. The last time I used “talking to myself in the mirror” to pump myself up, I was drunk at a bar and on the verge of going home with a dude. I took a quick ladies room break to run to the bathroom, stare in the mirror, and say “THIS IS HAPPENING.” Now sure, by the time I left the bathroom, said dude was halfway across the Manhattan bridge in a taxi…. Still, I support this tactic.

But no amount of affirmations in the world are going to help this photo:

Fekkai doesn’t sugarcoat it:

Lydia tells Ray to use positive affirmations, which Ray does, looking into the mirror and saying she IS The Face. Frankly, I think this works. The last time I used “talking to myself in the mirror” to pump myself up, I was drunk at a bar and on the verge of going home with a dude. I took a quick ladies room break to run to the bathroom, stare in the mirror, and say “THIS IS HAPPENING.” Now sure, by the time I left the bathroom, said dude was halfway across the Manhattan bridge in a taxi…. Still, I support this tactic.

But no amount of affirmations in the world are going to help this photo:

Fekkai doesn’t sugarcoat it:

Thankfully, Lydia is there to stagemom a bit, and tells Ray to relax her jaw and just let loose. Here is Gilles’ photo:

OK next up is Afiya from Team Naomi. She tries her best to look sweet, but the final product is less “Dolce” and more “Gabbana take it outside?” as in she will kick your ass. Outside.

Gilles does his best to soften her appearance. Afiya’s final looks are strong, almost a little too strong (don’t hurt me) and time runs out.

Tiana Time. Tiana is a beautiful human ladybird whose only problem is bad skin brought on by stress. The good news is there is a billion dollar industry catering to this very problem, as Fekkai pointed out earlier. Frankly, he doesn’t even notice the skin, because he’s concerned with other things.

Makeup runs in to paint a new face on Tiana, and I must admit the makeup does wonders in her favor. I mean look!

And while you might think the win is in the bag for one of our Tianalists, there’s one last stage of this challenge to complete….

PART III: THE RUNWAY CHALLENGE

A fabulous fashion show where each of our finalists will strut down the runway and directly into Fekkai’s heart. It’s an interesting remaining group of contestants, in that they all pretty much get along famously with each other. This finale is certainly doesn’t have much going on in the lady drama department. Ray, Afiya and Tiana were unbelievably sweet to each other up until the remaining moments. Not to get too sentimental, but kudos to these girls for Keepin It Klassy.

Enough of that!! RUNWAY TIME. The girls are primped, prepped and positively reinforced by their individual team members. Ray is sweating bullets as she doesn’t have a lot of runway experience, as is Afiya. Tiana, meanwhile, is kicking back with her feet up sipping a marg. After some introductory speeches by Fekkai and Robbie Myers, the Editor-In-Chief of Elle Magazine, it was time to see our Face contestants in action….

But first, let’s make them all feel like sh*t by letting our VERY EXPERIENCED SUPERMODEL COACHES WALK THE RUNWAY!! First: Anne V:

Anne’s walk falls somewhere in between George Michael’s “Freedom 90” video and a Kentucky Derby horse taking a victory lap. (I mean that in the best possible way.) She is above and beyond.

Next up is Lydia:

Anne is a hard act to follow, but Lydia holds it down. And finally, the reason we’re all here, the inimitable Naomi Campbell. What can one say about Naomi without immediately regretting it? She is perfection:

And now…. Our finalists. Tiana leads the way. And look… I love these girls more than my own children (note that I am childless), but all parents have a fave. Tiana is a shoe in. She wears a to-die-for evening gown with a beaded spiderweb motif that just pops.

Anne V. could not be more proud. Fekkai doesn’t love that Tiana’s hair is gelled down to her scalp – after all, this is a competition to win a hair modeling competition – but you still can’t deny her beauty and grace.

Ray is next. She looks stunning.

Ray is a sweetheart. And she’s done great this season. She’s even won over Fekkai. But Ray won’t win. Ray probably knows this, as does Nigel:

Uch… I’ll miss this lovable b-stard.

Afiya is last. And she decides to go out in topless fashion.

To quote a classic Seinfeld episode: “I'm not sure and correct me if I’m wrong… but I think I see a .... nipple.” On the bright side, it’s the best walk we’ve seen Afiya do all season. She glides across the runway, much to Fekkai’s delight, and walks the final runway with Naomi Campbell, a true dream. Still, let’s be real, she is not going to win this thing. Nigel really stretches the winner announcement out.

TIANA!!!!!!!!!!!

Tiana takes it!

Even Naomi seems genuinely happy.

Yes, the pixie with the expressive eyebrows won The Face. (Does Fekkai make Brow Gel? Take that idea and run you guys.) She deserved it. It’s a perfect win.

Ray seems a little bummed but takes the news well because Ray is the best:

If you have a fetish for watching girls with skinny arms hug each other for hours on end, then boy is this finale for you. Tiana and Anne V. can barely let go! They’re a regular Jack and Rose only not in icy water and very much alive.

And that is it!! The end of a great season of The Face. Tiana and her short ‘do will spend the next 12 months as part of the Fekkai family, and hopefully Afiya and Ray will keep on doing their thing and taking it to the next level. Though I’m guessing neither of them will be able to use Fekkai’s hair mist without cringing a bit after last week’s press conference.

What did you guys think of the way the finale turned out? Is there anyone out there who didn’t think Tiana would win? I beg you to speak your mind!! I’ve had a blast recapping this season with all of you. If you have any interest in seeing my own Face and/or hearing the things that come out of it, follow me on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll miss you guys! But I’ll miss this guy most of all:

 

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

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