For Tyra Banks to make over America’s Next Top Model and make it exponentially more credible, she would have to give up some of the camp she so relishes. After all, you can’t expect to get someone like Patrick Demarchelier to come on and shoot the girls as fire-breathing dragons balancing on medicine balls with pendulums swinging at their faces. So Demarchelier came on and did what Demarchelier does, which is shoot the models being happy and wearing clothes and frolicking — capture those joyous moments between girlfriends and male guest stars these contestants won’t truly enjoy for as long as they’re on this show.
Judge André Leon Talley — a Vogue editor, don’t forget — seemed more excited about this challenge than any all season. One girl looked too “sad” for him. “I think her face looks — in pain,” he says. Because in the world of Demarchelier’s Vogue, sad is bad. Talley applauds another contestant for making sure all her clothes and accessories appeared in one shot. “There’s a lot to buy in there,” he says. “That means it’s a great fashion picture.” And this is key, because he reminds the girls of what their job is as models. It’s not, as Tyra Banks might have them believe, to be pleasantly ridiculous and go willingly into vats of raw hamburger meat. Willingly venturing into gross or strange situations is part of it, but most important, the girls have to sell products. And maybe that’s why this season will produce for the first time a truly viable winner, one who isn’t so wacky that most people aren’t interested in buying things associated with her. See more highlights of ALT and Demarchelier from last night’s episode in the video.