Episode 3 Recap: Nothing but Nyets for Naomi

By Michelle Collins

Picking up from last week’s racially-charged episode of The Face, Naomi and the one saved model, Khadisha, return from the elimination room, meaning Nakisha has been sent home. (This is literally the last time you will have to keep these names straight.) Naomi is pissed, assuming Anne and Lydia picked their black models to go up in front of her for elimination in the hopes she'd favor one of them. Now the competition is less one diverse face. Naomi could barely look at the other two:

Anne V. attempted to make her signature ducklips to get Naomi's attention, but alas:

But another week, another challenge for the tall and thin. And here to help judge the challenge is none other than Tyson Beckford. Hooo girrrl:

This week’s runway challenge will require the girls to walk the plank in highly restrictive clothing: A latex skirt, a leather corset, super high heels and a head piece by Eric Javitz. At the end of the runway, the ladies will have to strike a pose that proves they have some sort of personality under their electron layer of fat and bone. The judges will then give them a score based on this:

In the words of a classic Seinfeld, finally POISE COUNTS.

The outfits are Edward Scissorhands meets Robert Mapplethorpe. (Do not Google him at work.) Black, shiny plastic skirts, tight corsets and metal leashes. Was this Nigel’s idea? If it was Nigel’s idea, I’ll let it slide, because in the words of Celine Dion, “I would do anything for love… even that. Especially that.”

Runway time! The girls must make it over a series of steps even though their knees are essentially duct taped together. For the most part, everyone did pretty well. Especially Ray, who made it down the runway with a DirectTV dish on her head:

And Tiana, whose corset made me wonder how food travels from her top half to her bottom half.

But not all of the models succeeded in turning a veritable 6-foot long condom into haute couture. Khadisha, who usually oozes grace and sophistication, ended up looking like a newborn giraffe taking its first steps:

That is some Planet Earth insect mating footage if I've ever seen it.

Or Kira, everyone’s favorite Natasha, who was feeling nervous even before they put the Nacho Hat on her.

In the end, Tyson picked Tiana as the winner of the challenge. Well-deserved, as she was really the only model that didn’t make clean Tupperware noises as she strutted the catwalk. Their victory will give Anne’s team an advantage in the elimination round.

But before we get to that, let's talk about Kira. Kira is a reality show unicorn, the perfect blend of all the things that make for great TV. And is there really anything better than reading subtitles for someone who is speaking English? Few things. Few.

Time for the campaign challenge!! Nigel arrives, suit lookin' right, and welcomes gown designer Pamella Roland, who is hosting a dinner party for bloggers and fashion buyers to check out her goods. And their runway…. Will be THIS:

That’s right: The table from Coming to America, bedecked with flowers, glassware and plates, which will eventually be surrounded by notable bloggers and fashion buyers. Now, I’ve never walked down a huge table, but I once stood on a table at a Greek restaurant and attempted to dance, the entire time blood pouring out of my bangs as I prayed the composite legs beneath my weight would not give out. The point I’m trying to make is: This is my worst nightmare.

Apparently, it is also Sharon’s:

Each team will have to model a cocktail dress as well as a long gown to the guests, while trying their best not to stick a heel through someone’s kale caesar. Thanks to Tiana's win, Anne's team has the advantage of picking their dresses first. This is actually a life or death advantage as it seems that Pamella Roland prefers to make her gowns 45 feet long.

Anne V helps her remaining girls find the lightest and shortest gowns, followed by Lydia Hearst's team, and then Naomi Campbell's girls, who for once don't appear to be in a position to win.

Once the gowns are chosen, the models are given a chance to get used to walking in their booby traps  gowns, to get a feel for what it's going to be like when they trip and fall off of a giant banquet.

Naomi’s face says it all:

But enough rehearsal! The guests have arrived. And so the show begins. Hoof by hoof, each girl traverses the giant runway table in their cocktail dresses with surprising ease. Nary a glass is grazed, nor hors d'oeuvre disturbed. Then the evening gowns are put on. And Pamella Rowland wasn't having any of it. To wit:

To be fair, Roland is commenting on the poutiness of 18-year-old Amanda, who should be hired-for Britney Spears’ Vegas Show as a "When She Was Still Hot Hologram."

Not laying the bombshell on thick was poor Kira, who was in a verrry fragile place. "Prisoner Eyes" is not quite the look Pamella was going for in this show:

Amazingly, all of the girls do pretty spectacularly during the challenge. No major disasters, everyone's empty plates remain in place. It's a success! Until…


Poor Afiya. Her dress was HUGE. Heavy, purple fabric and a huge train. The mood was tense. Naomi had no choice but to revert to Lamaze breathing:

She made it down the first half without any damage, but on the way back her train was like a big satin street sweeper. 

Really, this isn't Afiya's fault. SOMEONE was going to have to wear that gown, and unfortunately, it was her. Still, for the first time this season, Naomi's team didn't win, as Anne V and her girls take the prize.

This means that Lydia, for the third time in three episodes, will have to send a girl in for elimination. She picks Ray the Denny's Waitress, who I am still rooting for despite her questionable makeover. Naomi has her work cut out for her, as it's the first time she has to pick anyone. Sadly for her and us (let's face it, she's a highlight of the show), Kira is sent to elimination. It will be up to Anne to send someone home. And it looks like someone won that Planet Hollywood auction for the entire Gattaca wardrobe:

The girls arrive. It is time. Judgment day.

Naomi told Kira to fight for her life. And she tried. Mainly, by blaming Naomi for not giving her enough direction to do a good job on the challenge, which seems completely untrue. If anything Naomi did as much as she could. Anne sees through her excuses, and does the thinkable.

This is how she takes it.

Kira's wails are so loud that they actually travel through the walls of the model loft, all the way into the main room where the rest of the girls and coaches wait. It becomes too much for Naomi, who breaks the rules and sprints into the judge’s room to embrace Kira, on the brink of collapse.

I hate to say it, but I'm going to miss Kira. She was a fountain of drama. One last Naomi hug, and the girl was off. To where? We'll never know. So long Kira. 

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