Model Watch: Bullying and Being Too Thin Aren't In, But, Like, Demi Lovato Totally Is

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Dallas model Ann, tethered so she won't blow away in a slight breeze
We found the chosen girls from the America's Next Top Model premiere talking themselves up something crazy and strolling Venice Beach, which, if I'm not mistaken, go hand in hand. A Venice street performer rolled up, and they all backed up hastily, appearing to look at one another in wonder of who would be the first to say, "Sorry, no cash! All we use are credit cards!" as many a college student has been instructed to do.

But -- crisis averted -- the be-caftaned man simply wanted to serenade them and give them keys to their new digs. See, all new fresh-faced models live in multifloored condos on Venice Beach, complete with a sandbox on the top floor. Presumably for the cat fights.

There was, in true Top Model form, much screeching and fawning over many enormous photos of Tyra Banks. That woman is nothing if not humble. And, apparently, in keeping with guest house tradition: Since the dawning of the reality show casthouse back in the 1800s, custom has dictated you should decorate guest lodgings with many photos of yourself, furnishings from IKEA and nary a mattress cover so that sheets may easily slip off for better mattress sponsor identification. There were also covers of Vogue Italia (a spread in which is part of the winning model's high fashion prize) hypnotizing the wide-eyed urchins.

Dallas's own Ann was too transfixed, saying that whoever wins would be skyrocketed from the cover of the rag toward a huge career. Which is strange because based on the past, it would seem that winners often get the short end and second-placers are more often seen again, less restricted by the ANTM prize contract. But, like mama petting the head of a toddler wanting a big girl bike for Christmas, I say, "We'll see this time. We'll see."

It was during Ann's talking head that I realized she looked like she'd be into World of Warcraft -- nerdy, quiet, MMORPG-playing posture, vaguely Goth. (The Boy, less the goth quality, was in the next room online summoning his own minion.) It was also then that in my head she became Wisp (the ghost of a blood elf, if you must know and, dear Lord, I've taken in way too much information for having never raided a Lich King). Her skin tone led me to the ghost comparison (and not in a pejorative way, mind you), because it's not that she looks like a floating orb of light but she's a glowy, pretty pale.

The girls started to settle in -- which had to be difficult in that public a location, especially considering that during an establishing shot there was some dude totally standing up by the window trying to see inside. Sir Creepsalot.

Arlington's Chris, aka Little Sis, made mention of how difficult it was to navigate the different personalities. So she headed up to the deck to hang with Wisp and the talk turned to boys. Little Sis asked Wisp about her "type."

"Hobos are kinda hot."

HmmK. It was also said that Ann would date a man up to 60 years old and the kind of man she wants is as follows: "He has to be a warlock .. .and he has to spit fire ... and he has to know how to make sushi." I'm starting a psychic line.

Meanwhile, in another room, storylines were getting laid out like rugs. Anamaria was removing focus from Wisp's attention-getting thin frame by chatting about her calorie-restriction and desire to be very thin. Other girls were noticeably concerned. Kayla was elsewhere coming out to some other girls. No one was concerned, which is a good thing.

Tyra Mail came and the girls were given their first challenge -- walking on a clear runway four stories in the air for a Diane von Furstenberg fashion show after doing their own hair and make-up. But that clearly wasn't the focus. No, the focus was on who had to wear a flouncy skirt and show their harnessed ass cheeks to the security guards and craning necks below the see-through runway. Those were the bravest girls at the ball.

Wisp said that it's ironic because even though she's tall, she's afraid of heights. She wasn't, however, afraid of the bizarre baby bear wrapped around her head. No minions were available to summon for back-up defense. She stumbled up and down the stairs and ambled down that runway looking like a bear eating a deer in headlights. Her make-up was fairly non-existent.

Little Sister owned the walk and wasn't the least big scared. It's possible her dominant personality sucked the strength Dyson-style right out of Arlington's Terra, aka Big Sister, as she feared would happen in the first episode. Big Sister had an awful walk and a nervous, tense face.

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At some point Demi Lovato showed up to talk to the models about, presumably, the Jonas Brothers?
The photo shoot came, and the girls headed to face their bullies. J. Manuel, of the silver-haired Manuels, explained that bullying is a major reason why teens commit suicide, and, thus, it is a serious, topical issue that Tyra would now turn into a photo shoot in the hopes that young girls will actually pay attention to it. He related by saying that he was called "band geek" but that the word -- and because I'm a total bitch I couldn't help but focus on the fact that "band geek" is actually two words -- didn't define who he is today. It might be why he counts off and walks in the pattern of "Go team!" when he's pacing, but it doesn't define him.

Anyway, the girls donned swimsuits, bombshell hairdos and Mod make-up, as the victims of bullying are wont to do. Then they were painted with their bullying words as well as a new "power" word to replace the old, harmful one to convey ... empowerment!

In the ready room, there was more discussion of Anamaria's "emaciated" (as described by another model) body and, unlike last week, little about Wisp's. Because in comparison, Wisp seems more like a naturally thin, tall girl. She has tone and there aren't visible tendons or ribs. She is definitively lanky, but not worrisome.

Tyra busted up the observation wearing a T-shirt reading "big forehead" and ripped it off to show one that read "supermodel turned businesswoman ... with a big forehead." If she were part of the shoot that would be easy to paint on. In one of her "share with mama" moments she asked the girls to talk about their words.

Big Sister's bully word was "soup cooler," because she had big lips and kids would pantomime her blowing on soup. Wisp's word was "giant," and though she claimed she had not cried about it since high school, she got upset explaining the ridicule. Tyra suggested her power term be "Amazon girl," and Wisp liked. From monster to glam and awesome. Maybe her secondary power word should've been "glawesome."

Big Sister had big trouble in little bikini. Her poses were strange and unrelated to the mood of the shoot. Then she just started shaking and bawling, which the majority of America would prolly do if put in front of a camera in that tiny suit, but girl wants to be a model. Little Sister reacted well: "Terra had a complete meltdown. Complete. And I'm like oh mah gah, why you gotta be the first one to cry? You're gonna go home." The award for Honest Talking Head was presented to her in an earlier ceremony.

Wisp totally owned posing, facial emotion, responding to the photographer's cues, everything. The crew applauded when she left. (That's not a joke, by the way.) "If I can go one day without somebody asking how tall I am, I'm gonna be a very happy girl," she said raising a single long finger.

Little Sister did all right. Not stellar. She traded "bony" for "slim," and Anamaria looked on and commented that LS was not anyone she'd look twice at. After that, the photographer and J. struggled to help Anamaria pose to give her a healthier look, but she wasn't having it. She commented that she didn't care what they said and she liked what she saw in the mirror. And while most of America hoped that girls they knew didn't share that mindset, a fraction of the country no-doubt wished they shared her "willpower." Such is the catch with eating disorder light-shedding on a modeling show.

But back to bullying, people. Focus, dammit. It's Demi Lovato! What? Seems the local Disney diva was once a victim of bullying. She was called fat and promiscuous, among other things, and now she's in cahoots with Pacer and TeensAgainstBullying.org. She came by to share that info and give props to the girls. And then she left. While that's great and all, let's be honest: It was weird. Even the photographer looked unclear on what was happening during her do-gooder sprint. But at least some of girls were fans ... or told to be. No, no, I know plenty of twentysomethings who are into Demi. Like Pete Freedman.

It was finally time for judging panel -- seriously, this show seems interminably long with this many contestants, and I pray for multiple eliminations the first four episodes. Cut 'em quick! Get to the good ones! Don't waste my time! I am important and right! Judges included fashion editor Andre Leon Talley, photographer Nigel Barker, Tyra and the fabulous designer and Council of Fashion Designers of America president Diane von Furstenberg.

Best photo? Wisp! Ann from Dallas FTW! "Jadore." "Amazing." DVF said she can be a big model, no pun intended.

Little Sister made it in the middle, but Big Sister was in the bottom two with Anamaria. Big Sister made it through, however, and Anamaria was given a stern talking to about how designers might want thin models but they also want healthy looking ones. DVF said, making sure to cite her position at CFDA -- and not in a haughty way but in an appealing-to-the-model way -- "Beauty is health, and if you're not healthy, you lose your beauty." Tyra hoped she'd make an effort to give her body more nutrition in order to be a good example to others and give herself more opportunity in her career. Anamaria left saying she'd wait to see if multiple agencies told her she was too thin, before she'd change her calorie-restriction habits.

So, now, will the audiences so shocked by the Dallas skinny last week reconsider her health, or with Anamaria's uber-dieting counterpoint out of the picture next week will the winner Wisp's waist weigh on minds once more?

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