Welcome To The Hungry Games

By Michelle Collins


Welcome to "The Face." Dare I say it's the most cutthroat reality modeling competition to ever appear on TV? Oh, dare I. The show will pit 12 young genetic lottery winners against each other in a bid to become the new face of Ulta Beauty. But they won’t be alone. They’ll have the help of three of the biggest supermodels around – yes, even one from that George Michael video – and in the end, one lucky girl will be crowned THE FACE.

Why don't we meet our coaches?

Naomi Campbell. The LEGENDARY Naomi Campbell.  Queen of All Supermodels, Czar of All Side-eyes. Naomi makes it clear from the get-go that no matter how pretty or young these contestants are, no face will out-face her face:

Karolina Kurkova, Czech supermodel who walked her first Victoria Secret runway show at only 16, which is exactly how old I was when I bought my first pair of training Spanx:

And Coco Rocha, the youngest of our judges at 24, high fashion It girl and also incredibly talented tap dancer. Remember those White House Black Market ads? That was Coco!

Coco tells us she's not your typical model, and that she "doesn't play it safe," which I hope means she’s going zip-line in and out of all her challenges.

And of course, our humble host, Nigel Barker, or, as I like to call him, Nigel "His Bite Is Worse Than His" Barker:

The 24 possible contestants all gather at the Zac Posen show at New York Fashion Week. And it’s really exciting!!! The energy! The clothing! The lack of a single hors d'oeuvres! It’s all very exciting/making me starving!

Our three model coaches gather the girls up to try and explain the rules to them, but it's sort of hard to hear them over somebody's desperate sobs for attention:

Karolina asks her why she's crying, to which she emotionally chokes out "I'm just happy to be here in front of y'all!" They might as well just tell her to pack her model knives and go. But who among us wouldn't cry at the thought of being physically evaluated by Naomi Campbell. I'm crying just typing it.

Nigel tells us the girls will be put through a series of challenges, such as posing... and walking. Assuming they don't fall into an open sewer hole, they will go up against each other week in, week out until a winner is crowned.

In this first challenge, the girls must take a barefaced photo – that means no makeup.  Makeup does amazing things. Without it, I am the star of Harry and the Hendersons, and with it, a slightly more Asian-looking version of that same star. The models fearlessly strip their face of all enhancements and prep for the shoot. And the stakes are pretty high, as the coaches will be eliminating the girls as they see fit after every round.

"I know it's not going to be me!" said a girl who will probably be eliminated in the first 20 seconds.

The first contestant we see is Sandra, a 20 year old from Philly. She's a self-described "strong person" who grew up going from shelter to shelter. She's got a great smile, and takes a very sweet photo, though it's a little more "Olympians in Entertainment Weekly" than "model." But even Naomi can't help but fall victim to Sandra's enthusiasm, and she makes it through.

We meet Amanda, our first Face casualty, whose photo would have been a shoe-in on “The Smells Something Not Great Face.” She is sent home where she will lead your average tall, thin, beautiful life. Aww : (

Next up is Margaux, who is naturally stunning, and goes for a more cutting edge look in her bare faced shot.

The coaches are surprised that someone had the gall to stick their tongue out of their mouth so soon in the game... but it's exactly the kind of moxy it takes to win, and so they let her "Margaux" on to the next round. (Nailed it again, Collins.)

Stephanie is 21 years old and was orphaned at a very young age. She also doesn't know a thing about modeling. The coaches check out her photo with a healthy mix of shock and horror, announcing that she's clearly "never taken a picture before." Oh come on, Naomes. I'm sure she's taken a photo before, right? We're living in a post-Y2K world!

Even though her photo is not the best, or even "good at all," Naomi falls in love with Stephanie's helpless ways, and takes the girl under her giant condor wing while mouth-feeding her the flesh of other weaker models who didn't make the cut.

New Challenge Time! Now that the human gargoyles have been eliminated, it's time to take a look at the bodies of the remaining contestants in the Walk Challenge, shockingly not titled "You Betta Walk!" Each girl will go head-to-head with another while strutting the catwalk in high heels, a bikini and a large floppy hat that will conceal their faces, allowing the coaches to really focus on any imperfections from the neck down.

Devyn, who looks like a full grown Willow Smith but minus the stanky Jaden attitude, strides through to the next round with confidence and ease. They love her.

Next in the runway challenge is Ashley:

She tells us "The Face is, like, my chance... Losing really isn't an option." To which Naomi Campbell reminds her that, wait, it totally is an option, and she gets cut from the show.


24-year-old Christy is a small town girl who grew up with strict parents, so decided to move to LA at a young age and "cut ties with anything holding [her] back." Well then she should probably cut ties with those high heels she has on, because the girl took a serious stumble down the catwalk. Like newborn horse stumble. Naomi let out a hilarious "Oh lawd!" But then remembered a time not too long ago when she herself fell on the catwalk at a Vivienne Westwood show. 


Still kept a smile on her face even in a kilt and pointe shoes because she is a PROFESSIONAL MODEL.

Finally, in the most heartbreaking moment of the night, the coaches decide to send home one of the most beautiful faces in the world... The face that belongs to Conan O'Brien:

Thus ruining my plan of this girl joining Team Coco and for these recaps to write themselves.

Now that their Faces and Walks have been evaluated, we're down to only 18 girls in the 2013 Hungry Games. And for our last challenge, the remaining contestants must pick out their own looks, from their hair, to their makeup, to their clothing. Margaux is up first, and her transformation is incredible – without the bangs and a little Lydia Deetz lipstick, she basically transforms into Jennifer Connelly:

Margaux waits behind a screen listening to the judges marveling at her transformation. When the screen is raised, whichever supermodel coach is holding up a binder wants that "Face" for her team. And for Margaux, it's quite the choice: Both Coco and Naomi are holding up their binders. TOUGH DECIZH. Each of them shmears Margaux with compliments. Naomi tells her she could be the face of a big brand, while Coco takes a more personal approach, saying that they're so alike, they would be great on a team together. Coco clearly does not want to rub Naynay the wrong way, referring to her as the "Fabulous Naomi."

In the end, Margaux goes with Coco, who tells the camera "I get the first girl over Naomi Campbell? I mean… I'm probably going to die later." Probably?



Devyn is a big hit as well, with all the judges vying for her hand in modelaige, but being a young mom, she decides to go with fellow mother Karolina. Young Stephanie, the baby orphan lamb, lands on Coco's team, while the popular Zi Lin, a striking woman who emerges from behind the screen with insane '80s Joan Collins hair, goes for Naomi, as does this rejected Avatar extra:


The teams have filled up unbelievably quickly, and before you know it, Coco is the only coach with room left on her team for one last girl. It comes down to Brittany, the 26 year old "Maggie Smith" of the group (translation: she's old), and Jessica, a human alien.

Brittany reveals her look, and it is... hmm... insane:

She looks like a mom who drinks wine out of a coffee mug while her children run around like animals only to have her husband walk through the front door, look around, and then leave to go right back to his secretary's apartment. Now if I were a coach, this would be enough to get her on my team, but the coaches were unimpressed, horrified even.

Nigel, who is now 5 shades darker than when the show started, tells her she's "not right right now." Brittany begins to defend herself: The reason why she's here is to learn, she has a story to share with the world, and she's always one step behind. She comes from a single mom, doesn't know her dad… it's a very teary affair, and eventually, Coco Rocha breaks down, shakily holding her binder up like a Wile E. Coyote surrender flag. Brittany is the final girl on Coco's team! As far as Futuristic-Faced Jessica goes, she gets unceremoniously sent home, but not before being sent to the incinerator. Thanks for playing, Jessica!

Our teams are chosen!!! Whose team are you on? Team Naomi? Team Karolina? Or Team Coco?

No, not that one, the other one.

Next week! The girls once again get to style themselves, this time like a slightly heavier version of Natalie Portman in Black Swan. And from what the previews promise, our coaches start to fight with each other! (Come on, that's the real reason we're all here. Well, that and Naomi!) See you next Tuesday! 

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