Nigel: Wearing a Suit Doesn't Make You a Man

By Nigel Barker

Androgyny has played an important part in the history of modeling. From Twiggy and her bob haircut and boyish looks in the 60s to the waif-like Kate Moss  and CKOne in the 90s, sexual ambiguity is a recurring theme celebrated by designers like Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. The whole concept of androgyny is not as simple as it sounds. Some people are predisposed to look the part, but the really successful models are the ones who embrace this almost anti-fashion aesthetic. To be successful you have to be a true chameleon and transform yourself into whatever the job requires.

There are so many different ways to do androgyny. It doesn’t always mean “play a man” or “be a caricature” – it means to play down your sexuality, and sometimes remove sexuality altogether. This is something that people get confused about. If people have to play androgynous, they feel like they have to drink a beer or pick their nose and spit or something. It becomes a joke. But, it’s not so black and white! Men aren’t always butch!  Like Naomi pointed out, the more backstory you give yourself, the easier it is to create a fully fleshed-out character.

I think Tiana has the look, but she didn’t stand out in the way I hoped she would. She rested on the fact that she has the haircut and the square jaw, so she thought all she needed was a suit…but it didn’t work out how she hoped.

On the other hand Afiya did a great job. Afiya is a sexy, curvaceous, brunette bombshell, but she was  ready to roll up her sleeves and act like a guy. She had the right mannerisms, and I never questioned one way or the other “is this a guy or a girl?” because it didn’t matter!

Naomi’s team really rocked it this week. It was a cut and dry win. By being the sex kitten, Naomi gave a ton of room for the other models to take center stage. With Anne V, it looked like a photo shoot of Anne V, rather than a team effort. Lydia’s shoot was way too complicated. She was over thinking it. It’s already complicated enough to do an androgyny shoot, by introducing a love triangle aspect – rather than creating a helpful back story, it was more than her young team could materialize.  

That said, I think Amanda did pretty well! I thought it was a big mistake to put up Amanda for elimination. Ray was by far the weaker of the two on Team Lydia. I don’t know why you’d do that.

Putting up Khadisha was a daring move by Anne V. I agree that she didn’t do a great job in that challenge, but I think she’s definitely a gorgeous girl who could easily be a model and a success, and I haven’t seen many girls who look like her. I was sad to see her go. But, at this stage of the competition, someone you love always has to go.  

The Face is an authentic, honest show. They don’t hide difficult discussions, like the argument about Lydia’s mentoring skills. I thought it was interesting, and I do think Lydia had it coming. She hasn’t won anything, and at the same time she’s questioning herself. She’s going to have to step it up and demonstrate some tough love with her girls. It’s good to be nice and sweet, but when you’re losing all the time, who cares!

Until next time! 

[Photo: Oxygen Media/Tim Brown]

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