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Old 21st April 2008   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default ANTM: Whitney, ep.9

Last week's episode of America's Next Top Model was a nail-biter for Whitney fans, as the show began to reveal its true colours.

After weeks of giving Whitney praise, the show's producers obviously became nervous about the fact that they could not fault her modelling talent, her beauty, or her confidence. Theyfore, they began establishing a ridiculous excuse--that she seems "pageant-like"--to eliminate her.

Said criticism was obviously just a talking point given to the judges by the producers, since one by one, each judge repeated it verbatim--as if they were programmed to say it.

We knew that ANTM's hitherto size-positive tone was too good to last. But rather than coming out and admitting, "We dare not let a plus-size model win," the show is setting up this absurd rationale for cutting her.

Fortunately, however, Whitney survived the week, and set another ANTM record--becoming the first plus-size model in a cycle with a full contingent of girls to make it to the international destination.

And, as we noted once before, any episode in which Whitney's fate is on the line has a silver lining. Such episodes provide a great deal of screen time for Miss Thompson, yielding countless gorgeous screencaps, such as this angelic profile image.

Whitney herself was motivated to say, "I actually feel really good about being a plus-size girl and making it as far as I have."

And it's true--she has already surpassed any previous plus-size contestant on the program in terms of duration and accomplishments. (That she surpasses them all in beauty was evident from day one.)

In terms of personality, the show is presenting two sides of Whitney's character, each of which is intensely attractive. One is the alluringly vain goddess, who is fully cognizant of her own beauty, and rightly expects to be praised for it.

The other is the softer, childlike aspect, vulnerable and in need of protection, which is just as irresistible as her self-adoring side.

* * *

The episode began with the arrival of one of the judges, model Paulina Porizkova, to the contestants' apartment.

Whitney listened raptly as their guest outlined an exercise for the girls--trial interviews, in which Paulina would play the part of a reporter.

She barely stifled a giggle as one of the other contestants made a hash of her mock interview.

Sometimes the smallest Whitney pictures are the prettiest ones. Observe how soft, almost babylike, her facial features look in this image.

But perhaps the loveliest Whitney picture of the entire episode was this smiling headshot, in which her resemblance to Shannon Marie was most pronounced.

As fans have often pointed out, it is the roundness of Whitney's face that makes her so gorgeous.

Paulina's interview question to Whitney was, "Have you ever struggled with your weight, or did you always like yourself?"

And her lively response was, "Actually, growing up in the South, having curves is a very good thing, so I never thought that I was strange or different at all until I entered the modelling world, where it's not a good thing to have breasts and a butt."

It was a good response--and just look at how soft and lovely Whitney's face appears in close-up. That alone makes her every comment magical.

In fact, the episode was filled with lovely images of Miss Thompson,

from these two charming pictures of her relaxing on a sofa,

to several new camera confessionals.

And in this episode, as in past weeks,

those camera asides have been the most compelling moments of the program,

particularly because they highlight her most gorgeous facial feature--the "slight rise" of a "slope toward the throat" that defines her as a plus-size goddess.

* * *

Perhaps the most seductive scenes in the cycle thus far appeared on the recent "recap" episode, which showed Whitney baking delectable, calorie-rich treats to maintain her voluptuous beauty.

This episode continued that exciting theme, showing her busily preparing . . . potato pancakes.

The phrase "Heaven on Earth" comes to mind at the sight of a full-figured beauty like Whitney, with her hair tumbling over her shoulders in angelic curls, her midriff bare, preparing herself a rich treat.

It may not seem possible for Miss Thompson to become prettier, but the habit that she has of running her fingers through her hair raises her allure factor still further.

Alas, the pancake-making resulted in an injury for one of the girls, who severely sliced her figure while dicing onions. Whitney quickly took charge of the situation, explaining how to minimize the bleeding.

The cut was so severe that the injured girl needed to be taken to the hospital--and Whitney was shown expressing genuine concern over her fate. Look--just look--at how lovely she appears in this lilac top (the favourite colour of the Judgment of Paris), which perfectly compliments her blonde tresses.

The reverse view offered a rare glimpse of the soft curves along the model's back. The fruit spread out in front of her somehow adds to her exotic quality.

A subsequent glimpse of the same top offered a suggestion of the model's curvy waist.

* * *

In the main challenge of the episode, the girls were to appear at a party hosted by 7UP, with the challenge winner being awarded a 7UP print ad. The nature of the challenge led to an important discussion about the roadblocks facing Whitney as a plus-size model.

As she told her fellow contestants, "If you're going to a party and trying to impress people, then your looks are a really big thing, and being a plus-size model puts me at a disadvantage."

To their naive protestations of "No, it doesn't," Whitey replied, "Yeah, sure it does. In the modelling world. Unless it's, like, a plus-size party--in which case, you guys would not be needed."

And Whitney's point is completely sound. Could anyone be under the illusion that a company like 7UP would ever, in any circumstances, allow a plus-size model to appear in one of its print ads? Just think about the nature of the product.

In fact, in this 7UP event, Whitney was forced to compete in a challenge that she would never have been allowed to win. But rather than coming out and admitting this, the program created a ridiculous excuse (the "pageant" nonsense), so that it could avoid telling the truth: Whitney was out of the running simply because she isn't anorexically underweight.

As she said, in a camera aside, "Being a plus-size model, I am always at a disadvantage. It's difficult, and I'm working my a** off."

One has to applaud her tenacity, but the only way that things will ever change in this industry is by drastic government intervention, of the kind that France is set to adopt. Barring that, full-figured beauty will always be suppressed by the media, and emaciation will always be mandated.

* * *

But as we have said, Whitney didn't let the fact that the challenge was rigged against her dampen her spirits. She posed and preened as if she was the most desirable woman on Earth.

One reporter yelled out "Marilyn!" as Whitney turned to show off her sumptuous curves.

Her dress was intensely alluring--not only because of the plunging neckline, but also because it wrapped tightly around the swell of her waist and abdomen.

The challenge even included a short interview by an Insider reporter,

who asked Whitney, "I know that you're very proud that you're not a size 2. You're very open about it. Why should you be America's Next Top Model?"

Whitney's response was a very effective one: "The majority of women in America actually eat regularly, so I definitely think that it's important to represent the country that you're . . . representing."

Another sequence of gorgeous Whitney shots followed, showing her mingling at the party--looking breathtaking as she played with her hair.

She deftly picked up on one of the guest's comments,

and noted something that they had in common.

She was lively and dazzling,

and the guests couldn't take their eyes off of her.

"Effervescent" is one how fan described her,

and 7UP was frankly foolish for not putting aside their size-prejudice, and enlisting her as the model for their ad.

In a camera confessional, Whitney described how important such social events are to the life of a model. She revealed one of the dirty little secrets of the fashion world--that many bookings are arranged at parties such as these.

Sadly, modelling jobs are not parcelled out strictly on the basis of which girl has the best card, the best portfolio, or the best look. Often, general affability leads to bookings--which is regrettable, as a model's ability to "schmooze" has little to do with aesthetics.

But that's the way it is, and knowing this, Whitney performed admirably at the party--chatting, in the picture below, with a wizened-looking Paulina Porizkova.

She appeared so gorgeous in her evening dress and her elegant hairstyle that she certainly should have been judged the winner of this challenge. Only rampant anti-plus prejudice prevented it.

Here is one of Whitney's enticingly vain expressions, seen just before the winner was announced.

After the selection, Whitney was understandably dismayed by the outcome,

as she rightly knew that she would have been the better choice.

However, even without the win, she continued to look radiantly healthy and hearty--a goddess if every there was one.

* * *

Next followed the main photoshoot of the episode--and it featured an extra wrinkle, as the girls were all required to pack up their belongings beforehand.

Look at this stunning profile shot of Miss Thompson appearing almost imperious, as the girls were driven to the airport for their shoot. The soft pink lipstick is the crowning touch.

One reason why Whitney is becoming more attractive every week is because of the sun-deprived New York winter weather, which has been slowly returning her complexion to its naturally fair state.

This is particularly evident in these two pre-shoot screencaps, which show the wind playing with her tresses. The windblown appearance is second only to the "wet look" among alluring hairstyles.

Yet one of the most extraordinary things about Whitney is her ability to go from wild to elegant in the blink of an eye. Observe how chic--yet still sensual--she looks in this elaborate "do."

But she still allows her bubbly personality to shine. Watch the video excerpts (linked below) to hear what comment she punctuated with this distinctively Southern, big open-mouthed smile.

Whitney's final look for the photoshoot was absolutely stunning--exceptional even by her own standards. First, notice the very '50s-style, dramatic blue eyeshadow. (She is a MUA's dream.) This is a remarkable example of "smiling with one's eyes."

Next--although she is just at the edge of the frame--observe how her eye-catching lime-green dress clung to every curve of her buxom figure.

In each frame of the photoshoot sequence, Whitney's dress defined her rounded contours.

Most important of all, it closely embraced her curvy midriff and abdomen.

Although she is at the smallest end of the plus spectrum, these images reveal that Whitney does possess luscious Classical contours.

Even the tiniest images show how dramatically Whitney differed from the other models--not only because of the vivid hue of her dress,

but also because her soft figure was clearly visible--so much preferable to the bony frames of her rival contestants.

And in no images did Whitney attempt to hide or disguise her curves,

instead adopting poses that unapologetically showed off her luscious shape.

Of course, Whitney was just as beautiful in her close-ups, which exhibited her full, sumptuous facial features.

She adopted a number of intriguing expressions--some lively, many haughty.

But through it all, it was her complete comfort with her visibly curvy figure that made her scenes so captivating.

Another interesting aspect of Whitney's modelling is that she frequently appears most attractive when under duress, of one sort or another. In this case, it was the windy conditions of the shoot that gave her look some extra drama.

The temperature was obviously very low for this shoot, and a Southern girl like Whitney felt the cold most acutely.

Could any other model look so pretty while undoubtedly freezing?

* * *

The photoshoot was followed by an interesting twist. As Whitney explained in her final camera confessional, the models were taken to the airport hanger for a surprise panel judging.

And before we proceed, we have to mention that this may be the Whitney's most attractive hairstyle to date--a "do" that truly defines the phrase "voluptuous volume."

Mind you, her hairstyle for the airport session was also captivating. Just look at how adorable she appears in this screencap--so pretty and young, almost girl-like.

ANTM panel discussions are always interesting because the camera invariably captures Whitney emoting in a variety of unique ways. The session commenced with several glimpses of Whitney laughing heartily at the panel's jokes.

Beautiful as she is, she also has a truly charming personality.

The panel began--as previous judgings have--with Whitney responding in kind to Tyra's humorous ad-libbing,

and generally looking lovely, with her exquisitely round face.

That round face also made her photograph breathtakingly beautiful. This was, in fact, one of our favourite Whitney pictures to date.

However, the panel then began methodically crucifying her, throwing out one nonsensical criticism after another (as we mentioned at the beginning of this post).

Whitney couldn't hide the shock and hurt that she felt at the comments--and her expression matches the feelings that all of her fans experienced, as the judges made their absurd attacks.

Yet still, we must confess to taking a guilty pleasure in such scenes, as Whitney somehow becomes uniquely beautiful when her face exhibits such painful emotions. She should definitely work these wounded expressions into her modelling repertoire.

The judges ended off with a small joke to lighten the mood,

but the damage was done, and a bruised Whitney departed the runway. Note how utterly gorgeous she looks in profile.

After the girls departed, the judges conferred amongst themselves. Paulina had to admit, "She's got wonderful energy in the picture,"

and since the photograph was indeed so lovely, and since her performance at the party was actually charming and endearing, it was obvious that the show's producers simply trumped up a meaningless critique ("pageant-like") to establish an excuse for her forthcoming elimination.

* * *

Whitney looked breathtaking as she waited nervously for the names of the finalists to be announced.

She was almost in tears as her name was called.

But even after she passed to the next round, Whitney stood on the catwalk silently, her eyes looking inward, knowing how precarious her position had become. These somber expressions are as beautiful as any of her smiling shots.

Only when the location of the "secret international destination" was announced--Rome, Italy--did Whitney's happy mood return. She even joined her fellow finalists in a dance on stage, kicking up her heels.

It was with great relief that Whitney's fans learned of her extraordinary accomplishment--becoming the first plus-size model (in a cycle with a full contingent of girls) to make it to the international location. However, it was also with great anger and frustration that they heard the baseless criticisms that the judges levelled at her.

But for now, we are all delighted that Whitney will appear in the next episode. Every extra week that she remains on the show, she comes a step closer to realizing her dream--and the dream of all aficionados of timeless beauty--to "change the face [and figure] of the fashion industry."

- Click here to view video excerpts
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