Top two models left to walk it out

by Beacon Staff • April 1, 2009

Twelve girls lined up single file outside of the Bill Bordy Theater Monday, each tapping her heels in anticipation. A panel of three Emerson judges, Fashion Society President Timmy VanWart, Executive Director Sarah McTeague and Senior Art Director Jason Guttilla waited beyond the doors to decide which would become Emerson's Next Top Model.

As the kickoff program of Fashion Society's Fashion Week, the second annual competition consisted of a series of challenges. One included a photo evaluation of pictures taken in a photo shoot during the weekend of Feb. 21 and 22. After four elimination rounds, only two girls remain for a "walk off" during the Fashion Show on April 4: Rachel Harrison and Brittany Perro.

"I was looking for who I can send out to represent Fashion Society and be proud and happy with our choice," VanWart said. "Either of these two girls will be an amazing representation of the school."

The models, featured in last week's issue of iThe Beacon/i, included Alexandra Smolen, Rachel Harrison, Chiara Bianchini, Livija Kelly, Iman Artwell-Freeman, Felicia Terrat, Rachel Rosenbloom, Brittany Perro, Ashley Blom, Mariel Brandt, Adriana Echandi and Caitlin Linney prior to the four elimination rounds.

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Rosenbloom said she joined ENTM because she doesn't have a lot of opportunities to pose elsewhere but because of her size, she said she felt different then the other girls.

"I'm either too big to be a small model or too small to be a plus size," she said. "[The judges'] phrasing and wording was not always the best, but they were always supportive."

During a meeting on the first day of the contest, Rosenbloom said there were signs including each contestant's name and size on the wall. While she said it was not meant for people to see or judge, it still made her feel isolated.

"It made me feel uneasy because I was the odd man out," she said.

Last week iThe Beacon/i referenced the show's desire to emphasize the model's inner beauty, however, in the aftermath of the event some of the girls said while all of the contestants were friends, it was still a game.

The competition got heated during the questions round in which the remaining contestants, Rosenbloom, Harrison, Artwell-Freeman, Perro and Brandt were asked to face the inquisition of the judges. The questions, never before seen by the contestants, ranged from "Why do you want to be Emerson's Next Top Model?" to "What is the most important characteristic of Emerson's Next Top Model?"

"We tried to make the questions really poignant and honestly, I wanted to know what the girls thought of the other girls," VanWart said. "I had a definite opinion of how I thought those two days went and I wanted to see how they interacted with each other."

One question, however, caused the girls to ponder longer, stretching that portion of the competition for nearly 20 minutes: "Which girl would you cut?"

Echandi said the girls were informed from the beginning that they were expected to be honest, but she felt the questions could have been re-worded.

"They did tell us they wanted us to be open and really frank, even get on the bitchy side," Echandi said. "I'm not surprised they used those questions, I just thought it was just a little time consuming. I think they maybe could've phrased it in a different way so it didn't look so much like they were picking on people. No one wants to look like the bitch."

Rosenbloom said that while the questions bothered some of the other girls she didn't take the portion of the show as seriously.

"I took it with a grain of salt," the BA theater education major said. "We all joked about fake bashing one another. It wasn't supposed to be a personal insult, it was a part of the Tyra game."

Perro said she was also worried at first when the competition reached its question round.

"I was very concerned when I heard the questions at first," she said. "Because, honestly, even though I did give a name, I didn't feel any girl deserved to be cut, I thought every girl's personality really just shined in the competition."

But, whether every girl deserved the title or not, Top Model is a competition, and Perro and Harrison are left to walk it out this Saturday.