It's been nearly a year since the first season of The Face, and in that time, a few things have changed. Namely, my own face, which has gotten rounder (and yet more square?), and the show's judging panel, which welcomes two new models into the mix.
There's Anne V, born Anne Vyalitsyna (catchy), known for landing a spot in the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 10 consecutive years. So for the five or so straight guys who will read this recap, now's your chance to get with this:
And Lydia Hearst, model, It Girl, and totally not related to anyone rich or famous who was born in the past 150 years. (Her great-grandfather, William Randolph Hearst, was born in 1863 and tiny italicized p.s., invented journalism.) Despite what this photo may look like, she is not actually legally blind.
Lydia has a very lovely and elegant demeanor, telling us that “I’m from a famous family, but my pedigree is not what got me on the cover of magazines.” And you now, she has a point. Rich parents can only help so much. Hard work and enthusiasm are what you need to be a success. And I should know. (Full disclosure: My parents are the dynamic Internet duo known as Leonardo Recaprio and Oxygen Jones.)
These ladies are joined by the one, the only, Naomi Campbell, the Jared Leto of models, who seems to Benjamin Button with time.
And here to warmly embrace our eyes and ears with his face and Britishness is Nigel Barker, who has gotten no less peppy over the past year. This man has enthusiasm coursing through his robust veins. He is a perfect counterbalance to Naomi, who will bow her head roughly one centimeter in approval – or cock it 4 degrees to the right when something has gone horribly wrong.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is me! Yes, I’ll be here week after week, keeping you guys posted on all The Face happenings. It goes without saying, I am happy to be back. I’m sure Naomi agrees. (Hi boo.)
This season, the girls are competing to be The Face of Frederic Fekkai, famed hairstylist and hair product impresario. Now you might be thinking: "Wait, shouldn't the show be called The Hair?" And honestly, I don’t — sorry, one second, phone call. (picks up) Hello? MMhmm. I see. (hangs up) We will not be taking any further audience questions at this time.
But what of the contestants? Could they possibly compete with the vivacious ladies of last season?? Yes, they can. In fact, this year’s crop of girls actually seem to have better working model potential than last season’s. Casting even went beyond our own American borders to find contestants from the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Senegal, and even Russia to compete for the big prize. Sadly, it's not Johnny Weir:
Our contestants show up in New York's Bryant Park to meet our model coaches and face their first challenge. They will have to walk down a runway in the middle of the park wearing nothing but their underwear. I had a dream like that once, only it was a fashion show for one, that one person was John Goodman, and it ended in a way that will stay with me for life. (You now know everything about me.)
The models are good sports about it, mainly because they have perfect bodies, no cellulite, and nothing to lose (specifically: weight.) One girl has trouble filling out a 32A bra size, and it really brings back some memories for me, back when I was 6.
An early favorite is Ray, 18, who tells us she’s a waitress at Denny’s, and that even though she loves her job, this is a huge opportunity for her. She is very sweet and a clear underdog. Sadly, Ray's runway walk is less "high fashion" and more "So that's two Moons Over My Hammy and a cup of coffee?"
Naomi nearly faints from this pose but makes it through unscathed.
Another early favorite is Kira from Russia, who has just the right amount of intensity mixed with Runaway Bride eyes that prove she will be great reality TV fodder. Kira coos to the camera "Believe it or not, I chav beeyootiful 2 year old son. You would never guess I had baby!" and then lifts her tank up to reveal the kind of stomach that would never be seen waiting in a bread line. "Everysing zat I do is for my son because I am a single mazah." She also tells the girls they have no chance against her, because "she's done more than all of them because she has very big credits." Credits such as:
Now that all of our models have been seen as close to naked as basic cable will allow, it’s time for our model coaches to pick their teams. This was a surprisingly painless process. The three coaches didn’t really fight over too many girls, and seemed to take it well when they weren’t chosen. Let’s take a look at our teams:
Time for our Campaign Challenge, called Girls' Night Out. Each team will have to create a window in a Juicy Couture store using Juicy clothing and accessories, turning themselves into living, breathing mannequins. They will have 60 second to impress this week’s judge, Creative Director of the Juicy Couture brand Matthew Ellenberger. The winning team will get a Juicy Shopping Spree and bragging rights.
While each group of girls combed the store for the right looks, they also had to create a story. But just when each team thought they had their lewks together...
Lydia directs her team to have a "respectable catch-up date" between ladies, and completely changes the looks her models assembled. She says she "wants to tell the story of friends getting together but not going to a nightclub." I think I've seen that story before...
Lydia's team actually looks great in the window, although Matthew doesn't know why a girl going out on the town would be posing with a bottle of perfume.
I’ve totally gone out holding a bottle of perfume like that, only it was whiskey I was sneaking into da club. A little behind the ears goes a long way if you enjoy inviting alcoholics into your life. Matthew the Judge likes this window.
Anne V tells her girls to do strong poses and make the look editorial and high fashion. “If you are supposed to hold [your pose] for a minute, hold it, even if you’re dying,” she says. This seems like sound advice, but I have a feeling it messed a little with her models’ heads. Check out their “pose holding” smile:
Naomi's team was having trouble coming up with a "story" for their window. Kira suggests they go in a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" direction, to which teammate Afiya says "Is Girls' Night Out in the daytime or at night… cause she's talking about breakfast!" **RECORD SCRATCH** Nothing to see here.
By the time Naomi rolls in to see if they’ve made any progress, it’s clear they have not. Afiya then has an actual genius idea: Selfies. They should stand in the window and pretend to be taking a selfie, using a black Juicy wallet as the camera. The girls take to the window stage with Naomi shouting from the wings "I'm not liking your pose Afiya at all. Actually, it's the worst of everyone's. Don't mess this one up." That's the kind of no-nonsense Stage Momming that will get you to the top, America.
And it actually does. Because Team Naomi wins the challenge! Which means the two losing teams will have to pick a model up for elimination, and it will be up to Naomi to decide who goes home. Lydia does the right thing and picks the young and inexperienced Ray, while Anne makes a strategically dangerous move choosing Isabelle, whom the coaches all wanted on their team.
The two girls go to face Naomi for elimination. Isabelle makes a Big Mistake, Huge Mistake when she says: “Because I know I have not only the look but the full package, and I know you know I have that because you put your board up for me.” Naomi is like “Uhhhm no.” Ray then has a sweet little speech that involves tears, and the decision is made. Ray gets to stay, and Isabelle is going home. I am more than OK with this decision, even though it seems Naomi eliminated the stronger model to help her own chances of winning. Because that’s the way the Face Game is played America! Denny’s for all!
And that concludes this exciting premiere of the new season of The Face. And as the preview promises, we are in store for a lot more ~DRAMA~ in the coming weeks. To put it lightly, Naomi is not in the mood.
Oh, and to answer the question this title poses? Zero to maybe a half. But the season is still young.
Check back here next week for another recap, and til then feel free to follow me on Twitter @michcoll, where I live.