'America's Next Top Model' eliminates contestant Kasia Pilewicz
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/28/2011
Kasia Pilewicz became the tenth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
"I knew I would be in the bottom two, but I didn't think I was going to be the one going home. I got to the Top 5 and that is a huge accomplishment, I know. But I know that I can do better, and that's what's killing me. I'm not giving up. I have a lot of aspirations, a lot of big dreams, and it's not over. It's just a bump in the road for me," Kasia said following her ouster.
Kasia was eliminated from the ninth episode of America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season after Top Model's judges reviewed the photos the season's five remaining finalists had taken at their eighth photo shoot challenge, which required them to pose for fashion photographer Michael Woolley while sitting on top of camels in the Moroccan desert.
Kasia, a 26-year-old college graduate from Wheaton, IL who currently resides in New York, NY, ended up in the bottom two alongside Alexandria, an unemployed 21-year-old from Newport Beach, CA who currently resides in Huntington Beach, CA.
Kasia and Alexandria had both failed to impress Top Model fashion photo shoot director Jay Manuel and Michael during the photo shoot, which featured the girls modeling a "crazy mix of Berber traditional costumes and European sophistication with the horizon in their eyes."
"I'm sure you could find something a bit more understated. Now, we're getting a bit too posy. It's like she's stuck," Michael said while shooting Kasia.
"Stretch. Stretch. Breathe life into it. Inhale," Jay added.
"Now it looks like you're falling off the camel. No," Michael noted.
"For a photographer, he needs to feel like he's in control. I felt out of control with Kasia, and frankly, it was painful shooting her."
Jay noticed how badly Kasia was struggling, so after she finished her photo shoot, he pulled her aside and asked what was going on.
"I don't know. I'm just frustrated... When it's not working, I get self-conscious," Kasia attempted to explain.
"Self conscious of what?" Jay asked.
"Like how my body's looking. I don't know. Obviously I'm here because I want to do high fashion, but I know a lot of it doesn't work for me," Kasia replied.
"I personally believe there is a huge place in this business for plus-size models... In terms of your body, if you're concerned about what your body looks like, that means you're not present and you're not engaged. We'll see what the judges have to say when we go through your film, Jay told her.
Afterward, Alexandria told Michael she was excited to be a part of the photo shoot and felt truly connected to it, but Michael stopped her in her tracks and said there's a lot more to being a model than just welcoming your surroundings and feeling it in your heart. Michael ended up proving to be right.
"Alexandria was a huge struggle. Alexandria just will not let go. She's so controlled and so contract," Jay said, adding that her performance was "killing" him.
"I think she can be so much better than that. You have to let go of the reigns, so to speak, and truly come alive."
Jay then talked to Alexandria after she finished her photo shoot and addressed her flaws.
"There was just an awkwardness here... I want something fresh and new. What do you think you can do to break that?" Jay asked Alexandria. "To let go."
"Direct myself and just do my own thing," Alexandria replied.
"I think that's the problem. I think you're over-directing. You're thinking too much about it," Michael jumped into the conversation and said.
The next day the girls arrived for the sixteenth season's eighth elimination panel -- where they were met by Top Model judges Tyra Banks, Nigel Barker, and Andre Leon Talley as well as guest Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia.
The judges first criticized Alexandria's photo during panel critiques.
"I love your upper body, but I wish your legs were a little bit different -- just that gap between them is sort of -- the distance to me just looks weird," Nigel told Alexandria.
"All you girls have to work on relaxing the mouth. This would be a perfect picture for me, but when I look at your face, it looks angry. Bad digestion? Constipation?" Andre Leon joked.
"The only thing for me is that the only thing that looks a little bit stiff is the arm. I like this picture. I really do," Franca added.
"In your film, I think you struggled a bit. It felt a little inconsistent. The photographer said that he felt you were talking back and kind of instructing him," Tyra told her.
"I hadn't said anything," Alexandria insisted.
"A part of these things is how you are perceived, and quite often, you have been potentially misread because you don't feel that it's fair -- whether it's from the girls or whether it's from people from previous photo shoots -- and that's one of these things in certain situations where you have to be very aware," Nigel said.
"The photographer has a lot of power over the photo shoot, so if he's feeling like you're giving him any attitude or anything, he might even just hand whatever to the magazine and what runs is either nothing or something that doesn't look great. Very rarely would they say, 'This is bad photography,' they say, 'The model looks like crap.'
Kasia's photo was then reviewed.
"I like it. I would love to see just a little bit more light or a softer look in your eyes. You said you had problems making your body look good. What does that mean?" Nigel asked Kasia.
"I guess what I was trying didn't seem to be working and we tried a lot of different things," Kasia replied.
"You seemed really self-conscious when I was going through your film. Your mouth was tight in every shot and I just felt tension," Tyra added.
Franca and Andre Leon also agreed that Kasia's photo lacked energy and was very problematic. Andre said he did not feel the "nomadic narrative of going off into the romantic desert." Tyra also told Kasia that the photographer only picked out one usable shot in her film, and she felt like Kasia was much more capable than producing only one solid photograph.
Tyra suggested Kasia was worrying too much about her body and that it was probably impacting her modeling in a negative way, while she also needed to step up her game and show all the other girls that she had experience prior to the show and should have been seen as a threat.
Earlier in the episode, the girls enjoyed a traditional Moroccan lunch and got a tour of all the small fashion markets in a local town. Afterward, they modeled unique, bold pieces for fashion designer Noureddine Amir, and Brittani was told she had the best runway walk of the bunch. They all then enjoyed a rooftop meal overlooking Morocco in their new temporary home.
After panel critiques and the judges had time to deliberate on the contestants, Tyra revealed the girls in order of the best photo to the worst of the week. Molly, a 22-year-old student from Charleston, SC, received the first call-out.
Following Molly, Tyra then revealed Brittani and Hannah had also advanced to the competition's next round -- leaving Alexandria and Kasia in the bottom two.
Tyra then recapped both girls' issues before revealing which one would get to remain in the competition.
"Alexandria, your pictures are beautiful, fantastic and strong, but not as strong as the ladies to your right. You have a talent and it's spotty, and the judges aren't sure if they can trust your demeanor on set," Tyra told her.
"Kasia, a girl whose film I love editing, sometimes. Some weeks it is, 'Oh my gosh. Which one do I pick? Which one do I pick?' But then some weeks, it's like, "Oh my gosh, she's in the trash. Nigel's struggling. What am I going to do?' And this girl's body sends out such a positive message, but she doesn't have the confidence in her photos to be consistent to match up with this gorgeous body," Tyra explained.
Tyra then revealed Alexandria's photo, resulting in Kasia's elimination.
"What is up with the girl that was in a magazine, taking such beautiful photos already? That goes back and forth. What is that?" Tyra asked her.
"I'm really disappointed in myself," Kasia replied.
"When you get on that set, that photographer and that editor and that stylist and everyone that has hired you, you want them to make sure that they feel like they never made a mistake. Consistency is more important than even being the best," Tyra said.