Tag Archives: Jodhi Meares

Australia’s Next Top Model Cycle 3: A Burdeu in the hand is worth two in the bush

alice burdeu ausntm

I’ve now managed to work my way back to Australia’s Next Top Model Season 3 – arguably the season that revolutionised Next Top Model around the world by proving that a bona fide high-fashion model could emerge from a reality show. It’s easy to say with hindsight but watching Alice Burdeu tower above all the other competitors was like seeing a prettier version of Snow White & The Seven Dwarves, with Snow White played by a young Karen Elson.

alice burdeu australia's next top model

Seeing Burdeu cruise through the competition (even if her ‘back was still peeeeeeling’ as she memorably wept during a VT) was not the only highlight. One of the most entertaining contestants was batshit-crazy Paloma Rodriguez, nuts enough to impress even wild-eyed Tyra. She’d have a meltdown on an episodic basis with perennial bouts of ‘anxiety attacks’ (which the rest of us would no doubt diagnose as nerves, stress or PMS), whilst exuding an air of general superiority and entitlement that obviously went down a charm with judges, finalists and viewers alike. Having said that, she had underhand manipulation skills worthy of the slimiest politician – despite constant arguments with the girls, coming out with gems like ‘Guess what – you just lost me as a friend!’, somehow the person she’d belittled would always return to Paloma proffering forgiveness with one well-manicured hand and apologies with  the other. Her best moments were wailing like the sky was falling in when one contestant was eliminated and having an ‘anxiety attack’ due to someone talking too much in a taxi (no really) on the phone to her bemused mother (‘What? I can’t hear you!’), all the while pouting at the camera in designer shades. As you do. [Below are some of her best shots, on the rare occasions when she wasn’t having an anxiety attack]

There was also the bewildering progress of Steph Hart, a pretty but average girl in the mould of the many pretty but average girls that Neighbours and Home & Away suggest form half the population of Australia, who became the benefactor/victim of Jodhi Meares’ latest girl-crush (see: Demelza Reveley) and somehow made it all the way to the final. I hear she’s now working in a mall, such is her next top model potential. Third-placed Jordan Loukas, with a face caught somewhere between Jessica Biel and the Siamese cats from Lady & The Tramp, was my personal favourite, with her phrase ‘Game on, mole!’ becoming part of my everyday vernacular. I try to use it once a day, for anything from shouting at my screen over annoying NTM contestants to digging into a tub of ice-cream. And, three cycles on, I’m still not certain that the ‘alternate girl’ (Jane Williamson) was even human, let alone female. I’ve seen more expression on an emoticon.

All this is mere small fry compared to the steaming hot mess that was the finale. If you were annoyed that Jodhi Meares didn’t turn up to present Cycle 4’s final, Cycle 3’s proves why not showing up was the best decision she ever made, even if it robbed bloopers shows of at least an hour’s worth of footage. For the parts where Meares remembered to speak, you could practically see the glint of the Autocue in her frightened eyes; mostly, she just stood frozen amongst the chaos as awkward silences, bizarre attempts to fill awkward silences and bellowing arguments ran riot over proceedings. Until Charlotte Dawson, no doubt being screamed at through an earpiece, inevitably took over.

There was a row between Meares, photographer Jez Smith and Alex Perry over the merits of Steph H – no scripted witticisms here, just messy shouting over each other, with Meares and Smith both supporting Steph but for confusingly conflicting reasons, while Perry’s anti-Steph pro-Burdeu tact essentially boiled down to a child singing ‘I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?’, albeit with one eyebrow raised. As the head of Priscilla’s Model Agency, gave her speech about how Steph was basically shit (I’m reading between the lines), Meares forgot about her mike, sighing ‘Here we go…’ over Priscilla’s criticism. And just as Alex Perry was about to cast his vote, had actually launched into his speech, in Jodie blundered with a “vital” recap of the votes so far. I could practically hear the producer bashing his head against a wall. Whilst Meares stood around looking like a spare part, it was up to Dawson to round up the show and actually present Burdeu with her prize. Television gold.

ausntm-cycle-3-jordan-alice-mary-poppins

Oh yes, the photos. Whilst not a patch on seasons four and five, my favourite shoot was the modern-day Mary Poppins one, also known (by me) as ballerinas with brollies, shot by Dean Tilton. I absolutely love the dreamy romantic styling and although a lot of the faces are semi-obscured, I think these photos qualify as art rather than glorified adverts. Jordan’s pose makes the most out of the fetish ballet shoes and tutu-esque tulle, all the more incredible if you consider she was being whizzed through the air on a harness at the time. (l-r: Alice, Jordan)

My other favourite shoot was by Jez Smith, in a glorified advert for Meares’ swimwear line. Once you forget about the two main problems, that you can rarely see either the swimwear or the models’ faces, these have a beautiful, mysterious yet serene quality. And then up pops Burdeu, totally blowing everyone out the water (excuse the pun) and as Perry put it, making Meares’ cheapo line look like Chanel. (l-r: Jordan, Steph; bottom: Alice)

Finally, a campaign for Ian Thorpe’s underwear line, photographed by Lyn & Tony. I still don’t quite understand why girls are modelling men’s underwear, especially as you can barely see the underwear in the first place. This was the obligatory ‘emotion’ photoshoot and I do love Alice’s rather petulant interpretation of angry – which I think Dawson interpreted as the bloke being a rubbish shag. Dawson was also on fine form for Jordan’s attempt at suspicion – ‘Is she suspicious because he looks a bit gay? And that, my friends, is why AusNTM will always whip BNTM’s arse.

Well, that and their amazing promos of course…

Australia’s Next Top Model, Cycle 4: A model example?

Whilst BNTM continues to progress at a snail’s pace i.e. weekly, I’m rapidly making my way through every other English-speaking cycle in the Next Top Model franchise.

As you’ll already know, I rated AusNTM Cycle 5 rather highly. Alas, whilst Cycle 4 offered no punching of walls, swearing at end of catwalks or stealing of lines, it did have a huge bullying controversy and a thoroughly undeserving winner to recommend it – if recommend is the word! Winner Demelza Reveley may have had the flowery name and golden good looks of a Disney Princess, but what a horrid creature she was. Ringleader of the self-named ‘Bitchketeers’ (how dumb must you be to give yourself such a name knowing you’re being filmed), she sniped away unpleasantly at fellow finalist Alexandra Girdwood throughout the entire run and together with her minions, made life a living hell for contestant Alamela Rowan whilst giving simpering butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-mouth VTs. [Alamela was a bit of an oddity anyway – with her alarming poise, pale skin, sing-song voice and penchant for bursting into operatic arias, she had the air of a possessed child from a horror film.]

Quite how Demelza managed to reach the final, let alone win, remains to be seen (she also had a string of vacant-looking photos and fat hips which she did nothing about, even when another girl, Caris, was continuously badgered about her body) – especially as the final of AusNTM is partially decided by public vote. Perhaps it was because she was up against Alex, whose main claim to fame that series had been deliberately fattening up the rest of the girls with calorie-loaded muffins (pure brilliance!). She also had collagen implants, meaning her lips stayed put even when she’d left the room hours ago, a strong editorial look that didn’t always work for other shoots and was clearly more fashion-savvy and intelligent than your average NTM contestant, easily running circles around the Bitchketeers in any arguments. Or perhaps it was because of the blatant favouritism shown by host, Jodhi Meares – herself the cause of controversy for being the only head judge with credentials as a glamour model, being unable to talk without a huge red clipboard of prompts and having a last-minute freak-out which meant she didn’t present the live final and was never seen or talked about in NTM ever again.

But onto the pretty things – the photos. You already know about my love for Russell James so unsurprisingly, I’m a fan of these beach shots. I think more could have been made of the setting, yet I love the intensity he gets out of the girls. These photos have a beautiful warmth and innocence to them, with their eyes completely connecting with the camera. Who knows how much Photoshop goes into these things, but the way James captures the light, depth and glitter to models’ eyes is totally arresting. This, incidentally, is Demelza’s best photo – it wasn’t even shown on the show and is supposed to be advertising swimwear, so make of that what you will! (top to bottom: Sam, Demelza, Alex, Caris)

My other favourite shoot this season was by Simon Upton, where the girls modelled shoes whilst being harnessed to the side of a tall building. The styling here is fantastic – I love the bright colours and fluorescent make-up, which complements the dynamic energy of the poses. With such great styling and the dramatic cityscape background, the girls really didn’t have to do much (well, if you count bouncing off a wall at a 90 degree angle wearing stiletto heels and with a harness digging into you as not much). The top banner picture, which has an amazing movement to it, is of Leiden, the butch bogan of the series, who was always ‘shittin’ bricks’ and having frequent meltdowns and made for very good viewing too. Also shown are (top to bottom) are Sam, Alex and Caris – I’m still in two minds over Caris’ photo, as she either looks like a serene fallen angel or just a corpse, but at least it’s interesting, which is more than I can say for Demelza’s efforts.

I mentioned that the girls didn’t have to do much for Upton’s shoot – and Demelza certainly did just that. Not much. This photo has the air of the crew tidying up for the day and realising ‘Shit – we left a girl up there!’ Alas, Reveley was not left out to dry but had merely slipped whilst bouncing about. Never mind that by being flat-out horizontal, she ruins the proportions of the photo – the model should be the focus, not somehow hanging like a bat on the peripheries and only noticeable because of her colourful quilt-thing. The very thing she’s supposed to be selling (the shoes) barely make the frame! Oh well, at least the skyline looks nice.

Here’s the Russell James shot that was chosen for the show. I’d find it vaguely inoffensive if Jodhi Meares hadn’t suddenly started orgasming and having babies over it – made doubly awful by the fact that the girls were modelling her bikinis and so she had the sway of being the client too. Her posture’s awful, her eyes are vacant, she looks generally gormless and the whole thing’s just blah, lacking the intensity of the rest of the James’ shots. And as my boyfriend pointed out, the pose that Meares went gaga for was stolen from Willy The Wimp, a character I had no idea even existed before I was forced to Google Image to verify my boyfriend’s claims. And now, I can’t see this photo without thinking of a shy-looking monkey. Willy The Wimp for first call-out!