Lauren Utter the eighth girl cut from 'America's Next Top Model'
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/24/2008
Lauren Utter couldn't make the complete transformation from punk to model.
The 22-year-old artist from Brooklyn, NY had her awkwardness highlighted on a CoverGirl commercial shoot and became the eighth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's tenth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality series.
"The whole point of me coming to America's Next Top Model was to challenge myself," said Lauren after her elimination. "It was scary at first, but then I grew to like it. Now I see two sides of Lauren -- punk Lauren and then the dolled-up Lauren. before I never even wanted to model and now my mind's completely changed. I really think I have a chance to have a future in it."
Top Model's ninth tenth-season episode began with the six remaining contestants arriving in Rome.
"I never expected to go this far. I'm totally blown away by that," said Lauren. "Even though I don't fit in with the other girls, I'm definitely going to try my best. Whatever happens, happens. I'm just going to be myself. That's all."
The girls then arrived at The Colosseum, and Anya, a 19-year-old in retail sales from Honolulu, HI, fell flat on her face as she was exiting the bus, which she described as a "horrible" way to start her time in Rome.
"I'm super excited because since I am a plus-size model, it's like a really, huge deal that I'm here -- no pun intended," commented Whitney, a 20-year-old student from Atlantic Beach, FL. "Only one plus-size model has ever made it this far, so I'm so grateful, so happy to be here."
The girls arrived at their Roman loft , which included an indoor pool and fountain as well as artwork. Fatima, a 22-year-old student from Boston, MA, complained that she was feeling sick and immediately went to lie down. Naturally, the other girls gossiped about her as they ate.
"I just don't think she has it," said Dominique, a 23-year-old receptionist from Columbus, OH, about Fatima.
Anya described it as "frustrating" the way the other girls were talking about Fatima, so she brought her some food in bed and encouraged her to get some rest. The next morning, Lauren was being too loud too early as the other girls tried to sleep.
"Honestly, I think Lauren is so over the competition," said Whitney.
The girls then arrived at a piazza where they were met by Gai Mattiolo assistant Claudio Brassini, who provided them with a Segway tour of Rome. They subsequently arrived at where Gai was working, and were informed that for their next challenge they'd each have to prove they can adapt to Italian style. They received an Italian makeover before being introduced to Gai.
He thought Fatima was "very elegant;" called Dominique a "natural" but added she "doesn't look fresh;" commented Katarzyna, a 22-year-old in finance from Roslyn, NY, was a "very beautiful woman;" thought Anya was "so blonde, so skinny, so young and so fresh;" said Whitney was "so American" and had a "great, great beautiful face;" and added Lauren had "very beautiful legs."
Gai then revealed Anya was the challenge's winner and would receive one of his designer gowns.
Back at their loft, the girls received Tyra Mail that said CoverGirl's slogan -- "Easy, Breezy, Beautiful" -- in Italian, and they immediately knew it was time to shoot their CoverGirl commercial.
"Crap, crap, crap. CoverGirl," opined Lauren. "This is what I've been dreading the whole time. I mean I know I'm going to suck. I'm not a CoverGirl... I wanted to run, but I can't run, because I'm in Italy. So I'll do it. I'll try my best."
The girls then arrived at the commercial shoot, where they were met by Top Model art director Jay Manuel. He explained they'd each be filming a 30-second spot for CoverGirl's Queen Collection -- however they'd be doing so while speaking Italian. All of the girls did their best to memorize and rehearse their lines while having hair and makeup done. The commercial would be filmed by Piersandro Buzzanca.
Anya spoke horrible Italian but at least she looked good doing it. Jay commented Kat did an "amazing job" with her Italian but thought the ending of the commercial was a "little dull, flat and lifeless." Jay said Dominique's energy was "so good," which was important since her Italian was scary. Lauren said she was "absolutely horrified" before the shoot even began -- and it showed once it started.
"I can tell that she's a fantastic model for photo shoots," said Piersandro. "Too bad that she really didn't do anything [during the commercial]."
Lauren required numerous takes, and none of them were good.
"The fact is, Lauren just feels awkward and uncomfortable," said Jay. "It was hard to watch."
Piersandro described Fatima as a "goddess" the moment she walked on set, and she also probably had the best Italian pronunciation out of the group. However she was a little too sexy for a makeup commercial. Whitney went last, and was thoroughly blasted with criticism.
"When Whitney walked on set, she said, 'Hi!' and right there I knew there was going to be a problem," said Jay. "It just didn't jive with me. Everything was fake. It was disingenuous. She was just not believable."
Back at the loft, the girls prepared for the impending panel.
"My time might be up because of how my commercial went," said Lauren. "In reality, it's a strong possibility."
"I'm super nervous because I don't want to go home," added Whitney. "I feel like I tried to give a lot of smiles and energy and I only got negative feedback. This is a really big deal. I definitely took today seriously. But you never know what's going to happen."
Top Model's eighth tenth-season judging panel then commenced, and the girls would be judged by Top Model creator Tyra Banks; photographer Nigel Barker; runway expert J. "Ms. J" Alexander; supermodel Paulina Porizkova; and Piersandro.
Fatima was complimented for being the "best of the day" -- which as Gordon Ramsey would put it meant she was the best of the worst.
Paulina said Whitney's commercial felt like it was "fake from the beginning."
"That's the little problem we had," agreed Piersandro. "It's this little laugh that you bring on every 25 seconds."
"I liked it," said Tyra. "When you walked in, it looked like a real commercial to me. It may have been a little over the top, but I thought you did a really good job actually."
Anya's Italian was bashed and Dominique's commercial gave everyone a good laugh before Lauren's fears were realized.
"It seemed like you just sort of threw it away," commented Nigel. "You didn't even try. There wasn't any elegance."
Piersandro said he could tell Lauren was "so nervous."
"I was afraid you were going to do something like this," said Paulina. "Unfortunately I was right."
The judges then began to deliberate and Piersandro said he could feel Whitney's fake personality through the monitor he was watching the commercial on. In addition, Piersandro thought he was "in front of a model" when he met Lauren but then she became a "very nervous woman" once they worked together.
"I think that Lauren's body of work stands for itself," said Nigel. "She's got really beautiful pictures, and week after week she's taken some of the best pictures."
With deliberations over, Tyra revealed Fatima, Kat, Anya and Dominique were safe before turning her attention to Whitney and Lauren.
Tyra said week after week, Whitney takes "absolutely beautiful pictures" and also did a "good job" with the commercial.
"But then the judges started to comment about a phoniness," she added. "I had to listen because this isn't the first time that I've heard this about you."
In contrast to that, Tyra said Lauren "wouldn't know how to cover up her real self if somebody paid her $1 million."
"There's also something about you that takes absolutely beautiful pictures -- probably some of the strongest of the bunch," added Tyra. "But what we saw in that commercial today was dreadful and we felt like you just kind of gave up."
Tyra then revealed Lauren was given the boot.
"I know I did a crappy job, but it sucks to see yourself do so bad. You're embarrassed," opined Lauren after her ouster.