Ashley Howard the sixth girl cut from 'America's Next Top Model'
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/08/2009
Ashley Howard couldn't incorporate her gift of movement into modeling and was ousted for it.
The 22-year-old 5'6" artist from Chicago, IL who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY became the sixth finalist eliminated from America's Next Top Model's thirteenth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality series.
"I do feel cut short. I feel like I have so much more to give, so much more to show," said Ashley.
"I think it's more I wanted to do a lot more. I wanted to keep on proving that I could do a lot more. I came into this telling myself, 'You can be a model. You've never done it before but it's something you can do.' So it hurts to be going home right now. It just sucks. It's a bad feeling."
"Being in the bottom two is a horrible place to be," she opined. "[Tyra Banks] just thought it was difficult to work with me. I was like, 'Really!? Wow!' To me that was way worse than hearing anything about my photograph."
The next day the girls traveled to a dance studio, where they were met by posing instructor Benny Ninja and rap star Lil Mama, who would teach them about dancing and how to express themselves through their bodies. After the first few girls didn't do so well showing their dance moves, they received a tutorial from America's Best Dance Crew first-season winners Jabbawockeez.
Lil Mama then revealed that the Top Model finalists would be performing right after Jabbawockeez during their show that night. The girls were split into three teams, and each would be choreographing their own dance -- incorporating the three emotions they learned, happiness, sadness and anger. The winning team would receive $17,000 in jewelry.
The first team was Jennifer An, Kara Vincent and Ashley "Rae" Weisz; the second team was Laura Kirkpatrick, Brittany Markert and Sundai Love; and the third team was Erin Wagner, Ashley and Nicole Fox. The girls would only have one hour to choreograph and practice.
"I feel like they're the two least coordinated girls in this house," lamented Ashley about Erin and Nicole.
All of the teams rehearsed, and Ashley -- a dance instructor -- decided to use her experience to take control of her squad.
That night Jabbawockeez performed before each of the three teams showed off their new moves in-front of an audience. After all the teams performed, Benny said he was "completely confused" by the third team, and so was Lil Mama. Jennifer, Kara and Rae were then revealed to be the winners.
Back at the house, Ashley expressed her unhappiness and thought if she performed by herself she would have won. Her attitude was noticed by the other girls, who were surprised by her competitiveness.
"I was really down. This is just 'Kill Ashley's Spirit Day,'" said Ashley. "What am I doing wrong exactly. It was just not a good day. I know we're going to have something soon and I don't want to get stuck in this mood."
Ashley then called her mom and received a mood booster before all the girls were awoken by Top Model photo director Jay Manuel at 4:30AM. He informed them via video that they do have a photo shoot -- but added it's not in Los Angeles and told them to pack a bag, hop a plane and meet him in Las Vegas.
The girls subsequently arrived at Treasure Island Resort and Casino and went into the Cirque du Soleil auditorium. Once there, Jay informed them that for their next shoot they'd be filming with a Cirque du Soleil theme in groups of three.
"I'm a little bit apprehensive about the group photo shoot because I really rely on finding my own rhythm with the photographer," said Nicole. "Now I'll have to coordinate with the girls and the photographer, and it could get a little messy."
The first group consisted of Rae, Jennifer and Brittany, and Jay thought all three girls did a good job although he also commented that Jennifer needs to remember all the previous lessons she's learned at other shoots.
"Jennifer fell flat," he said.
The second group consisted of Sundai, Erin and Nicole, and Jay also had mostly positive feedback for them -- although he did add that it wasn't the Nicole he has come to expect.
The third group consisted of Ashley, Kara and Laura. While Jay had nothing but compliments for Laura, the other two girls didn't fair so well.
"Ashley has the bones, the eyes, the lips, the jaw, the body. Here's Ashley on set today," commented Jay, striking a bland pose.
"Kara was a little not memorable," he added. "She faded into the background, but looked beautiful."
Back at the house in L.A., the girls learned they'd be facing the judging panel the next day.
"I feel like I'm definitely in the bottom half of the girls," lamented Kara. "So I definitely have to prove myself with my picture or it could be a real possibility that I'll go home. But I don't think I did have a terrible shoot though. So I feel safe with that."
"My goal is to win, and I have to keep pushing for that," said Ashley. "So I want everybody to see like, 'She can push it.' That's me. I'm a fighter."
The next day the girls arrived for the thirteenth season's fourth elimination ceremony -- where they were met by Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks, photographer Nigel Barker and runway expert J. Alexander. This week's guest judge was supermodel Josie Maran.
Nigel thought Ashley "looked a little weak."
"There really isn't much power there and it kind of looks like you went to sleep," he added.
"What was going through your head?" asked Tyra.
"I was trying not to over think," replied Ashley. "I keep trying to work it, and I'm trying so hard."
"This didn't look like you were trying at all," said Tyra.
Nigel thought Kara "looked a little nervous."
"You need to trust yourself a little bit more, give yourself credit for the fact that you're here in this competition and you've gotten this far," he added. "Rock it when you get on the set."
"On this shot Ashley, you pulled down the girls," revealed Tyra. "We had to find something that was okay for you. I would say that Laura did the best in this shot, Kara you were middling, and Ashley was very poor."
The other two groups also received feedback before the judges began to deliberate -- and it quickly became apparent that Ashley and Kara were in trouble.
"It's such a bad picture of Ashley," said Nigel. "She's so weak."
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust -- she needs the Top Model fierce juice that is such a must," rhymed J..
Josie suggested that Kara needs to start "loving herself."
"She needs some confidence," she added.
Nigel though Kara looked stunning and pretty -- but added she didn't "stand out."
Tyra then revealed Brittany, Rae, Jennifer, Erin, Nicole, Laura and Sundai were all safe -- meaning Kara and Ashley were in the bottom two.
"Kara, you were one of our favorite girls in terms of what you brought to this competition naturally. But as we've said before, it's not just about being a model -- the noun -- but you have to model, the verb. Right now, you're just resting on the noun," said Tyra.
"Then there's Ashley. You seem to have become lost. We feel it's quite sad that you being a dancer that has the natural ability to move."