Aficionados of Classical femininity, take care before viewing the rest of this post, because your hearts may not be able to withstand the sight of so much unadulterated beauty.
Fans who have seen Whitney Thompson's images on the first two episodes of America's Next Top Model,
cycle 10, may have wondered: Could she possibly become any more
This week's episode proved, astonishingly, that yes, yes should could.
But we'll get to that in a moment.
The first challenge of the episode required the contestants to demonstrate their prowess with cosmetics. As you can see, Whitney has such a naturally flawless complexion that she doesn't need any makeup to begin with,
but she gave herself such a pretty, fresh-faced, youthful look that viewers were enraptured. Note the hint of a natural flush (bringing to mind the lost feminine art of blushing), and that most irresistible of all accents--frost-pink lipgloss.
Even the organizers of the challenge praised Whitney's appearance, prompting her to flash a big, Barbara Brickner smile. Note that most gorgeous of all facial characteristics, the "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat"--Whitney's most attractive feature of all.
This challenge was followed by a domestic interlude showing the girls interacting in their designated apartment. Fans especially adored a sequence showing Miss Thompson lounging in bed. The following image is particularly lovely, showing Whitney's facial features looking soft and full.
Whitney was also seen in an adorable segment in which she and a fellow model were shown . . . (wait for it) . . . playing with dolls.
That's right--playing with dolls.
It was such an innocently, distinctively girlish thing to be doing, that, if possible, it endeared Whitney even more to her growing legion of fans.
But notice Whitney's expression as she eyes the doll with the long, flowing blonde hair
Perhaps she had a premonition, as she drifted off to sleep (looking ever-so adorable).
A premonition of what? Just wait and see . . .* * *
The next day brought the girls to an interesting point in the competition--the time of the (in)famous "makeovers" (an ANTM staple). Perfect as Whitney must have regarded her existing look, she positively beamed with delight at the prospect of a new style.
Perhaps the mark of a truly great model is whether she manages to look gorgeous during
a hair/MU session. Whitney certainly does, as seen here.
As you watch the episode's video excerpts (linked below), don't miss another example of Whitney keen sense of humour, as she does a marvellous "bit" in anticipation of the makeover, tossing her hair in an enchanting manner,
and jokingly saying, "I feel like a new person,"
But gentle readers, you haven't seen anything yet.
In by far the finest "makeover" in ANTM
history, Miss Thompson traded her abbreviated dark hair for long, flowing blonde tresses.
One must applaud Tyra Banks (who personally chose Whitney's look) for understanding that, as she herself put it,
"Sexy, curvy girl needs sexy, curvy, long, thick hair."
So true! (Regular readers will remember this lesson from our "Voluptuous Volume" post.)
Note Whitney's Kailee-like expression in this ever-so-cute picture:
But now . . . words practically fail us in attempting to describe Whitney's beauty in the photos that accompanied her makeover.
The images passed by in a flash, but they showed Whitney garbed in perhaps the
most alluring outfit that any plus-size model has ever been given. No attire has ever presented a model as a goddess as vividly as do these white draperies. Whitney stands comfortably relaxed, poised, utterly at ease with her soft curves, fully aware of the sumptuous perfection of her Classical figure.
The flowing blonde hair, the buxom contours, the curvy waist--perhaps more than any other model before her, she brings the timeless ideal to life.
Even the cameraman seemed mesmerized by Whitney's figure, displaying her shapely limbs,
lingering over her most gorgeous feature--her curvy waist and hips,
and finally tilting up to include her angelic facial features.
Consider the brilliance of the model's pose--leaning forward ever so slightly, to emphasize the contours of her figure. (Note the curves along her side.)
This is also one of Whitney's most accomplished facial expressions, exuding a serene sensuality, a relaxed indolence that is the most seductive feminine demeanour of all.
Fans who have dreamed of what a plus-size Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated model might look like need look no further than to these images. Whitney was completely in her element in these remarkable photographs.
If anything, she appeared to become even more self-assured in the act of embodying the Classical ideal.
And she made no concession to fashion-industry waif-worship. The model's figure displayed generous natural contours, not hidden or disguised or compressed in any way. This is pure size-celebration, finally captured on film.
And as if Miss Thompson wasn't entrancing enough already, she captured the hearts of any viewers who might still have resisted her charms, when, after her makeover, she said (in her cute, feminine voice):
"This new look fits my personality a lot better, because inside, I'm super-bubbly and girly..."
*Sigh.** * *
Before we proceed, it's worth noting how brilliant Miss Thompson is at colour-coordination. Before her makeover, Whitney preferred blacks and reds, which went so well with her Snow-White-like hairstyle. Notice this cute red overcoat.
But after her makeover, she eased into an entirely new colour palette. Here she is in a Torrid-like fuchsia top, looking ever-so cute.
The pink socks and braided hair complete the youthful look--although note the sophistication of her demeanour (her irresistible natural vanity is always present). More than any other contestant on the show, Whitney completely embraced her makeover and ran with it, making it part of her persona.
Her fans enjoy both looks, but they do have a soft sport for the "plump and pink and flaxen" image (to quote Charlotte Bronte) that she now possesses.* * *
After such a remarkable beginning, one would think that Whitney could conquer the world, but the rest of the episode proved two things: (1) There are still many fashion operatives who don't "get" plus-size beauty, and (2) Tyra Banks is, fortunately, not one of them.
The episode's main shoot involved creating lingerie images, and with her limitless self-confidence, Whitney was delighted at the prospect.
She was even more pleased when she learned that the guest-star for the shoot would be supermodel Elle Macpherson.
Whitney offered many kind comments about Elle in one of her interview segments.
But the point that we made earlier about Paulina Porizkova being outshined by Whitney is doubly true in this case. Not even at the peak of her career was Elle Macpherson one-tenth as beautiful as Miss Thompson. Just look at the soft loveliness of her facial features.
As for the shoot itself, unlike the other models, (who were dressed in next-to-nothing,) Whitney was garbed in horrible, form-disfiguring "shapewear." She did look as attractive as anyone could in such an outfit. (Oh, that angelic face . . .)
And viewed just from the waist up, the ensemble was reasonably pretty--a lace bustier emerging from an open white shirt.
However, from the waist down, no outfit could be less flattering on a curvy girl. Why in the world didn't the stylist adopt a similar outfit to the one in which she posed after her makeover session (above)? That ensemble was infinitely prettier than this dreadful getup.
Here, by the way, is a cute moment--Elle gently embracing Whitney's waist as she helps her down off the shoot platform.* * *
As if to remind the judges of just how much more talent and beauty she possesses than the misguided lingerie shoot indicated, Whitney did an enchanting turn on the runway as she went up for her evaluation. (This is a moment of heart-attack-inducing beauty in the excerpts video.) She begins with one of her trademark confident expressions,
spins gracefully, to allow her luxuriant tresses to flow,
flashes a "You know you want me!"
glance and she emerges from the turn,
and ends with a coquettish glance.
Her eyes say, "No one else even comes close to matching my beauty"
--and she's absolutely right. Notice the adorable pout of her lips. This is a look that could enslave any man's soul on sight.
Notice, incidentally, her stunning profile--the cute nose, the rounded chin: a profile worthy of Lillian Russell.
And here is where Tyra Banks won accolades from all aficionados of true beauty. Not only did Tyra express her own disappointment that Whitney's "curvy, sexy" figure was distorted and compressed in this image, but she even affirmed that she had taken up the matter with the wardrobe stylist.
It was a rare and welcome instance of someone in power actually taking the fashion establishment to task for its anti-plus bias.
As Tyra pointed out, the images would have been far more successful if all
of Whitney's curves had been on view. Indeed, as Tyra made her comments, the camera was deliberately positioned to indicate that Whitney has a much fuller, more rounded figure--from every angle--than the lingerie photograph exhibits.
But Whitney fortunately has gone on to the next round, and fans will surely be counting the minutes until next week's episode, to see more of this goddess-come-to-life.
- Click here to view ep.3 excerpts video