It has been eighty-four days since my inaugural recap of America's Next Top Model, which is eighty-four days too long to wait for another. I truly serve no other purpose. Yes, I write about mental health, books, and other topics I can fashion an essay out of, but life is too short not to write about that time Lisa peed in a diaper by choice on the set of a photoshoot. I need to remember what I’m here for, folks. I can’t be distracted by sharing helpful tips on how to make sure your psychiatrist is a good match for you!
Without further ado, let’s get to this recap which I’m especially excited to write. This episode has been brought up twice in this newsletter, by me and by a reader in the comments of the last recap. This week’s episode is from Cycle 6, aka the episode where Tyra pretends to faint and Jade’s improvisation in her Covergirl commercial makes every illustrious alum from The Groundlings look like total amateurs!!!!!!
Both the challenge and—in lieu of a photoshoot—commercial this week focuses on acting! And what better way to introduce these young, hopeful models to the craft than feigning a medical emergency and sending everyone into a panic????
And, of course, if you’re feeling dizzy and light-headed, what you immediately do is stand up.
Chaos ensues! Because of course it does! Tyra Banks just collapsed in front of you and your future is up in the air because who will host the show if she dies?????!!!!!!!!!!! But what these models don’t know is that they’re witnessing a performance that people—me—still talk about to this day.
And then, after letting the suspense surrounding her performance build like a true virtuoso of the craft, Tyra breaks character to reveal that her fainting spell was a display of drama—an act! A production! Yes, why roll a TV in on a cart like a high school teacher who’s fucking had when you can send everything into disarray? Nay! This is reality TV! We COMMIT to the BIT!
To calm everyone down after her highly effective performance, Tyra hurls balled-up T-shirts at the models and dismisses everyone for the day to go home and prepare for the week’s challenge. Enter Jade, the self-proclaimed “undiscovered supermodel”—someone I pray is on Cameo so I can send every person I know a customized birthday message.
The next day, the models visit The Groundlings, which is an iconic improv and sketch comedy theater in Los Angeles whose notable alumni includes Paul Reubens, Will Ferrell, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Coolidge, Kristen Wiig, Elvira, THEE Mistress of the Dark, Kathy Griffin, Lisa Kudrow, Melissa McCarthy and countless others.
After having the models walk around in circles and scream for, like, forty-five minutes, they’re sent to Nick Cannon and two other dudes who have them play "Yes, And?" and engage in battle rap. And, just like that, they’re ready for lights, camera, action! Lmao Lee Strasberg???? A scam!
BUT, before they’re due back the next day, Nnenna hogs the phone line to argue with her boyfriend, John, who is pissed because she kissed a male model on set the other day. Nnenna is like, “Get over it!!!!! I got caught up in the moment!” Which, to her credit, is understandable. I would like to get caught up in the moment multiple times over with this model:
Then her boyfriend has the nerve to be upset when Nnenna needs support as she is now an actress who has been preparing for her debut role for seventy-two hours!!!!
Then Jade, a newly minted relationship expert, tries to convince Nnenna to break up with John, claiming he’s needy and just a distraction. She needs to focus on the competition, not her relationship! She then delivers another prolific line:
The other girls in the house continue to find themselves butting heads with Jade. Furonda decides to confront Jade about her toxic behavior: constantly disparaging the other girls, deploying rude remarks left and right, and being mean-spirited in general. Her response:
Finally, the big day: the girls are going to film their Covergirl commercials! The only caveat is: everything is to be improvised except for two lines they must deliver by the time they hit their last mark. The two lines are something about the product being dermatologist-tested and, of course, the infamous easy, breezy, beautiful, Covergirl tag-line. The rest? Have at it, babes!
As you can probably guess, it goes swimmingly.
I know you know what’s coming. But, before we get to it, we have to also note Brooke’s performance, which resonates with me on a personal level.
At long last, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. No introduction required.
Jade knocks it out of the park. This is not subjective. This is fact. Still unconvinced? Let this be all the more proof you need:
One of the longest standing ovations in history is legendary silent actor Charlie Chaplin receiving an Oscar in 1972. To which I say: move over, flop! May all the praise that Jade deserves catapult her into the stratosphere.
The judges, however, feel otherwise.
You know what? Good art is polarizing. Let them tear it apart! We know the truth!!!!!!!!
As the judges deliberate, the closed captioning decided to go rogue and display something my partner said about me.
Those especially heinous crimes that Law & Order: SVU mentions in the opening credits? They’re specifically referring to Jade being in the bottom two!!!!!! How could they???????
But fret not! Talent prevails!
And by talent, I mean ratings. Jade is spared elimination and remains to see another week. Mollie Sue is sent packing in her Mollie Sue T-shirt.
While Jade does not win the competition, she does win—yes—my heart. Long may she live!
Which cycles/episodes do you hold near and dear to your heart, dear reader? Drop your suggestions for future recaps in the comments below! In the meantime, have a wonderful, fabulous weekend.
Cover art by: James Jeffers
Editorial assistant: Jesse Adele