Ebony Morgan quits 'Top Model's ninth season, Top 8 revealed
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/25/2007
Ebony Morgan was homesick and tired of the criticism she was receiving, contributing factors in the 20-year-old Chicago, IL nursing student's decision to quit America's Next Top Model's ninth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality competition series.
Top Model creator Tyra Banks had already revealed that the judging panel had instead decided to eliminate Ambreal, a 19-year-old college student from Dallas, TX, from the competition. However when Ebony made it clear she was no longer interested in competing, Tyra dismissed her and allowed Ambreal to remain in the running.
"I want to say sorry to Tyra again for wasting her time on this, but I don't know..." said Ebony as she packed her belongings after quitting. "I miss my family so much. I miss my dad. I miss my sisters. I'm going to be with my family. I'm just going to be regular, old, happy Ebony. I thought I wanted to be a model, but this is helping me realize it's not for me. It's not what I want. I just want to be happy and I'm not happy... I don't want to feel like that anymore so I had to say something."
Top Model's fifth episode began following the previous judging panel, with Ebony wondering if her personality really "sucks as much" as the judges told her it did. She added she was "tired" of the bad criticism she was receiving at photo shoots as well as at panel. Ebony decided to "try to smile more and come-off like a nice person."
As Ebony pondered her own situation, Ambreal called her dad and complained about landing in the bottom two at the previous panel.
Heather, a 21-year-old college student from Valparaiso, IN who suffers from Asperger's, a mild form of Autism that hinders her social interaction and verbal communication, also felt like she was having "one of those days" as she considered the judges' recent criticism that she takes too many profile shots. Bianca, an 18-year-old college student from Queens, NY, suggested Heather take all of her shots at the next shoot straight on.
The nine remaining runway wannabes then received a knock on the door and were greeted by male model and newly announcedMake Me a Supermodel host Tyson Beckford. That brought a smile to Ebony's face, as she was clearly star-struck and overwhelmed by meeting Tyson, as were most of the girls.
Tyson informed them that being a spokesperson is an important part of the modeling industry and instructed the girls to pick items from the kitchen, which they would have to come-up with a "sexy pitch" for. Chantal, a 19-year-old student from Austin, TX, sexily sold a lime Popsicle; Ebony struggled pitching a water pitcher due to Tyson's presence, and he wasn't impressed; while Heather did a great job pushing a wine glass.
The girls then traveled to a production studio, where Tyson explained how he's involved with the "I Am African" campaign. For their next reward challenge, the nine girls would be split into teams of three and had to create a 30-second public-service announcement for the "Keep a Child Alive" AIDS campaign, with their performance being judged by the organization's vice president Elizabeth Santiso.
The first group consisted of Bianca; Chantal; and Lisa, a 20-year-old dancer from Jersey City, NJ. While the group had some good ideas during their brainstorming session, both Chantal and Bianca flubbed their lines during the actual PSA.
Ambreal; Heather; and Jenah, an 18-year-old student from Farmington, CT, made-up the second group, and they had a lot of trouble thinking of ideas for their PSA. However once they presented it, the group utilized props well and kept the amount of information they used as simple and concise as possible.
The third group consisted of Ebony; Saleisha, a 21-year-old receptionist from Los Angeles, CA; and Sarah, a 20-year-old college student from Heath, MA. While they packed their PSA with tons of information and nailed all of their lines, Elizabeth was concerned because they said "Keep a Child Alive" dealt with AIDS prevention, which isn't true.
Elizabeth chose Ambreal, Heather and Jenah as the reward challenge's winners, and each received a $500 gift basket from Carol's Daughter. In addition, Heather's name was randomly selected out of the three group members, and she was awarded with the opportunity to participate in a photo shoot for Carol's Daughter that was directed by singer Mary J. Blige.
"I seriously was tempted to pinch myself," said Heather. "I had to remember to breathe and remember this is actually real."
Heather met photographer Matthew Rolston for the Carol Daughter's shoot before being introduced to Mary J., who helped Heather pick-out a colorful wardrobe. While Matthew had to keep instructing Heather to keep her head straight, she listened and was confident the profile shots she was producing were a thing of the past.
Back at the house, the girls received some Tyra Mail as to what the theme of their next photo shoot would be, and Ebony dropped the bomb that she wanted out of the competition.
"I really want to go home," she told some of the other girls, who were shocked to hear the words come out of her mouth. Ebony elaborated that the reasoning behind wanting to leave was that she was "really, really homesick." Heather returned from the Carol's Daughter shoot and gushed about meeting Mary J., and Bianca was baffled by how easily Heather makes modeling look.
The next morning the girls met Top Model art director Jay Manuel for their photo shoot, which he explained would be a high-fashion editorial about recycling, with each of the participants portraying a different recyclable material. Fredric Reshew served as photographer.
Heather was the first girl to go and she portrayed aluminum cans. Jay commented how there wasn't a single profile frame, and thought Heather looked "gorgeous." Jenah portrayed cardboard, and Jay was also impressed how well she "constantly listens" to the feedback he gives her. Bianca also excelled portraying oil, as Jay was impressed with her sexy, sleepy eyes, which she had been practicing in the mirror.
Ebony wasn't so lucky during her part of the shoot. She portrayed bubble wrap, and Jay asked her to be a "little less scared" and to "'find something happy in there." He remembered how well she did during the previous shoot, however this time he called her performance "uninspiring" and "a little trampish."
"I thought I was working it," she told Jay, who responded with a startled, "Really!?"
"She is so not vested... I don't even know what to say," commented Jay when Ebony walked away.
Ambreal also struggled portraying newspaper, and Jay was surprised how "inexperienced" Ambreal looked since she did so well during the first few weeks of the competition.
"Don't force it too much," he told her, but she still forced it and her shoot didn't turn out too well. "It was boring and she totally forgot about her face," he said. "It just was really uninspiring."
Prior to the judging panel, Ambreal and Ebony expressed different feelings about the upcoming elimination.
"I really think that I can be America's Next Top Model. I have it in my heart. This has been my dream since I was little," said Ambreal. "I just pray that I can stay here and prove myself."
Ebony was also asking for the Lord's help.
"We're going to elimination, and I'm praying and hoping that Tyra will make me go home. Like basically don't call my name," she said. "I can't handle the criticism after the photo shoots, I almost don't think it's fair."
The nine remaining aspiring runway walkers then had their fifth individual evaluations, where they would be judged by Tyra; runway expert J. "Ms. J" Alexander; photographer Nigel Barker; former model Twiggy; and Tyson.
Nigel commented how Ambreal looked "dead" in the eyes, and she blamed it on the fake eyelashes she was wearing. Tyra said "it's not an excuse" and then told Ambreal that Jay had nothing positive to say about her photo shoot and also wondered when she forgot how to model.
"It's up to you to become even more comfortable in your natural ability," Tyra told Ambreal. "That's your challenge during this competition, because when I look at your film now, I don't know who that is. It's not the girl who started."
Not surprisingly Ebony also ran into some problems, as her photo featured what Twiggy described as a "lip snarl." Twiggy added "it's not good." Tyra then told Ebony that Jay said she "came to the set completely uninspiring and seemed to be intimidated by authority figures."
"If somebody's hard on you and scolding you and critiquing you, it's because they believe there's so much potential," Tyra told Ebony. "We want it to ignite. I know critique can be difficult, but it's only going to make you better."
Once all the individual evaluations were complete, the judges began to deliberate which girl would be the fifth one eliminated. Tyra said Ebony seemed "weaker" and openly wondered if she wanted to be here and Tyson said Ebony "gets it" but believes she's above criticism. While all the judges thought Ambreal was a "nice girl" and was pretty, they were unsure if that makes a "top model."
Tyra then revealed Saleisha, Jenah, Heather, Bianca, Sarah, Chantal and Lisa were all safe. She added the judging panel agreed with jay's assessment that Ambreal and Ebony were the "weakest," and decided to keep the girl that has the most "potential," which they deemed to be Ebony, meaning Ambreal was eliminated.
"I don't really want to be here," said Ebony to Tyra before she started crying. "You don't want to be here?" calmly asked Tyra. "Why not? It's okay, talk to me."
"Modeling is not for me..." said Ebony through sobs.
"You know what I think is not for you?" answered Tyra. "I don't think it's modeling. I think it's people telling you what to do. I think it's people telling you you're not perfect. I think that's what you can't handle. The most unattractive thing in the world to me is a quitter -- and for that -- you can go."
Ebony left and Tyra explained there was "something beautiful about this situation" for Ambreal since she's getting a second chance.
"It was meant to be," whispered Tyra to a visibly emotional Ambreal.
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