Laura Leigh the seventh contestant eliminated from 'True Beauty'
By John Bracchitta, 02/17/2009
After narrowly avoiding elimination in her first visit to True Beauty's Hall of Beauty elimination gallery, Laura Leigh wasn't as lucky in her second trip, resulting in her departure from the ABC beauty competition during Monday night's broadcast.
"I know that I'm not a bad person, so I just wish that they could see that, the 21-year-old model from Staten Island, NY said after her elimination over Joel Rush, a 26-year-old imaging software salesman from Tampa, FL.
"I just don't see how I'm in this position right now. I think I had more personality than most of the people in that house put together. I thought I showed personality last night, but I guess Joel did."
True Beauty's seventh episode began with Laura returning to the house following her first visit to the Hall of Beauty.
"Right now I feel really relieved," she said. "I think I made it out of the hall tonight because I believe that the judges do see potential in me, and I need to show my personality so these judges could see who I really am."
Billy Jeffrey, a 31-year-old vitamin store owner from Lewiston, ID, was among the most excited to see Lauren's return to th house -- especially following his decision to ask her out on a date prior to her first trip to the Hall of Beauty.
"It was definitely exciting to see her," Billy said.
The following day, the contestants were surprised by a limousine outside their house that began honking its horn frantically as they were eating breakfast. After rushing out of the house and gathering into the limousine, they contestants were brought to a salon where them met with True Beauty host Vanessa Minnillo.
Vanessa then told the contestants that they and "a date" would be going to a "high society function" in their honor and would be judged on their personality as they walked the red carpet and worked the room during the party. However, Vanessa then revealed the dates for each of their contestants: their own mothers (with the exception of Billy, who's Dad filled in for him mother after she had to cancel).
"Oh boy, my dad and Hollywood, this is gonna be interesting," Billy said after seeing his dad.
Vanessa added that while stylist (and hidden actor) Jordan Feldman would be brought in to help each contestant and their parent achieve that "Red carpet look" for the ceremony, the fashion decisions would ultimately be made by the parents.
"As they will tell you, mom and dad know best," Vanessa said.
However, after leaving the contestants to meeting with judges Nole Marin and Cheryl Tiegs, Vanessa revealed that Jordan would secretly be taking each contestant in for a private consultation and see whether or not they would sell out their opponents by divulging secret information.
While both Billy and Julia Anderson, a 23-year-old magician's assistant from Dallas, TX passed the challenge by not saying anything mean about their fellow contestants, Joel failed the challenge after he said that Billy was on all sorts of supplements from creatine to HGH.
Laura failed as well after admitting that her flirting with Billy was "harmless" and agreeing that she would "throw Billy under the bus" if she got the chance.
After each contestant and their parents had their makeup and hair done for the red carpet, the parents chose outfits for their children/dates. Julia was surprised how much she liked the yellow dress her mom picked, while Billy approved his father's choice of a basic black suit with a blue shirt. Joel was also excited to wear the black Armani suit his mom had selected for him.
However, Laura was less than enthusiastic when she saw the green dress her mom had picked for her.
"I was just like 'Oh no.' On the hanger it didn't look hot at all," she said. "This dress doesn't even do me justice."
The contestants and parents then arrived for their red carpet entrance and began interacting with the gala's guests as well as the judges and True Beauty producer Ashton Kutcher's mother, who served as a secret guest judge to gauge each contestant's personality.
While Billy and his father were personable to each of the guests they spoke to, it quickly became apparent that they were recycling the same conversation with different guests, causing Cheryl to call their conversations "an act."
Laura attempted to be personable with the guests at the party, however she did not impress the judges, or Ashton's mother, and also had trouble hearing people who attempted to talk to her.
Joel impressed most of the judges -- and especially Ashton's mother -- with his genuine interest in talking to the guests and attempts to include his mother in the conversations.
While Julia and her mother admitted that they rarely have trouble getting to know people at social events, Ashton's mother felt as if they didn't come off "genuine" as they spoke to the guests.
As an extra hidden challenge for the contestants, an actress posing as a partygoer who was tipsy and suffering from a "wardrobe malfunction" was told to walk by each of the contestants to see if any of them would inform her that her dress was tucked into her underwear. While Billy, Laura and Joel all laughed upon seeing the actress and failed the challenge, Julia and her mother stepped in to help her fix her dress, passing the challenge.
Following the gala, Ashton's mother was clear about who her favorite had been.
"One stuck out to me, and that would be Joel. [The relationship] he had with his mother reminded me of so much the way it was when Ashton first came to L.A. I was very impressed by him," she said.
Nole said he enjoyed getting to know Julia "up close and personal" at the gala, however Ashton's mother said she felt that Julia and her mother had been "trying to sell themselves" and wasn't as impressed.
While Vanessa felt that Laura was the most beautiful person at the gala, she also noted that she'd had to guide the entire conversation she had with her. Ashton's mother added that, although Laura was beautiful, she was too "into herself."
Vanessa was impressed by Joel, however Cheryl was disappointed by him, saying he didn't see "a spark" when speaking with him.
After further discussion, the judges met with the contestants and revealed that Billy and his father had won the challenge for the evening and Julia had followed in second place -- leaving Laura and Joel to face off in the Hall of Beauty to see who made it to the Final 3 and who was eliminated from the competition.
"I did exactly what the judge told me to so and I'm shocked.. and pissed off," Laura said after the judges' decision.
Joel was similarly disappointed, if only because of the high standards he set for himself.
"It's extremely embarrassing for me to go to the [Hall of Beauty]. When you talk it you gotta walk it, and I've been talking it since the day I entered this competition," he said.
After packing their bags and saying good bye to Billy and Julia, Joel and Laura traveled to the Hall of Beauty where they met with the judges, who asked them each to say why they felt they should stay in the competition.
"I definitely didn't expect to be here tonight," Laura said. "For me, if there was a challenge to win, it woulda been last night's challenge. Just to have my mother by my side made it that much more important, and I don't want her to feel like it's her fault if I go home."
Joel was more direct in his plea.
"You all three said you wanted to know that I cared, and that I was here for all the right reasons. [As for] last night's challenge, it's hard for me to think of a negative when I get to spend the day with my mom," he said. "I don't believe that looks will win this competition, and I believe that if you allow me to get to go back to this house I'll prove to you that there is a lot of substance and a lot of character on the inside that back up my looks on the outside.
The judges then revealed that Laura had been eliminated, while Joel would to back to the house and join Julia and Billy as the show's Final 3 contestants.
The season finale of True Beauty will air on Tuesday, February 23 at 10PM ET/ET on ABC.