Lisa becomes the eighth girl cut from 'America's Next Top Model 9'
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/23/2007
Lisa let her fears overwhelm her during a commercial shoot and had a hard time dealing with the criticism coming from the judges. As a result, the 20-year-old dancer from Jersey City, NJ became the eighth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model during Wednesday night's broadcast of The CW series.
"Making it this far is still a leap over a lot of people. It's something that nobody would ever expect me to be able to do, period," said Lisa following her elimination. "I'm not going to walk away a loser -- it's not over -- so I'm not going to be a loser about it. This is definitely the biggest thing that ever happened to me, but I do expect bigger things to happen in the future. Only one can be America's Next Top Model, and unfortunately, it's not me."
Top Model 9's eighth episode began with the six remaining runways wannabes excitedly packing and preparing for their trip to China. However Lisa couldn't stop thinking about the previous judging panel, in which she found herself in the bottom two.
"It just came out of nowhere," commented Lisa. "I feel like I've been strong for so long, and slowly I'm dropping. But the harder I try, the harder I fall."
Bianca, an 18-year-old college student from Queens, NY, described 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, as being "really annoying" because the other girls have to constantly mother her. Right after she made the comment, Bianca took it back because she didn't want to be mean.
"It would be a lot easier though [if Heather was eliminated]," said Bianca.
The six remaining runway wannabes then traveled to China and eventually touched down in Shanghai. The girls gushed about being in China, and Chantal, a 19-year-old student from Austin, TX, described Shanghai as "futuristic."
They were then met by Top Model art director Jay Manuel and runway expert J. "Ms. J" Alexander, who revealed that Top Model's ninth-season winner will be crowned in China. The six girls then moved into their Shanghai hotel penthouse, and quickly discovered there were only five beds. Heather was the one who was initially left without a bed -- but there was one bed that was large enough to sleep two girls -- but Saleisha, a 21-year-old receptionist from Los Angeles, CA, refused to share it with Heather.
Heather started crying and stormed out of the bedroom, and Bianca found the whole ordeal to be humorous.
"I feel like sometimes they do a little bit walk over me. They're not really taking me seriously," said Heather. "The girls kind of look down upon me. I mean I'm over it. I'm not going to let this bring me down."
Chantal said she felt Heather was being ganged up on and suggested two of the girls who wouldn't mind sleeping together should do so. Bianca and Jenah, an 18-year-old student from Farmington, CT, decided to bite the bullet and share the big bed. Heather was sick of wasting so much of her energy on being stressed out.
The next day, the girls arrived at Shanghai Film Studio, where they were met by martial arts specialist Louis Liu. Louis taught the girls several basic Chinese martial arts positions before having them change into traditional Chinese robes and gathering in the courtyard for a reward challenge. Two at a time, the girls would perform their newly learned positions while hanging from a wire suspended in the air. Louis would pick the girl who posed her positions the best.
Bianca was immediately nervous due to her fear of heights. Her disposition didn't improve when she noticed the wires they'd be hanging from were thin -- and instead of a machine acting as the pulley, four men were in charge of the wires -- and Bianca immediately said she didn't trust them because she didn't know them.
Once Jenah, Lisa, Chantal and Saleisha all had their turns, it was time for Heather and Bianca to go. Heather tried to calm Bianca's nerves and told her to face her fears, however Bianca was unsure she even wanted to attempt the challenge. Louis told Bianca if she didn't try it, she'd be disqualified. Bianca decided to go through with it, however once she was in the air she freaked and begged to be put back on the ground.
Bianca was disqualified and Heather did the challenge solo. Saleisha thought Heather looked "graceful" -- and Louis agreed -- awarding the challenge victory to Heather. For her reward, Heather got to go on a Shanghai shopping spree, and she chose to take Chantal with her. Heather commented she might have taken Bianca -- but since Bianca wouldn't even finish the challenge -- Heather said her decision of Chantal was some "tough love" for Bianca.
With the shopping spree over, the girls received some Tyra Mail and learned their next photo shoot would allow them to let their inner beauty reign and challenge their inner queen. In addition, the girls were also instructed to bring outfits with them that best encompass their personalities.
The girls were then met by Jay and CoverGirl representative Brent Poer, who informed them there next shoot would consist of two parts, a print ad and video commercial for the new CoverGirl Queen Collection. Each girl was given a script to memorize that contained a place where they could add their own dialogue to make it their own. Jeffrey Chu served as the director of photography.
Before the shoot even began, Heather was having a really hard time memorizing her lines. After both Saleisha and Bianca shot their commercials and had their photos taken, Heather stepped in-front of the camera. While Jay thought Heather "looked gorgeous," she stumbled and bumbled through her lines. Eventually Jay decided to feed Heather her lines because she was unable to even "mimic the performance level" that he was looking for.
Despite the fact that the memorization went out the window, Heather still struggled considerably to have any good takes. She also made scrunched up faces and stuck out her tongue every time she messed up, which was frequent. Jeffrey noticed Jay was trying to help Heather, but felt he didn't think it worked.
Jenah and Chantal then filmed their commercials and did their photo shoots before it was Lisa's turn. Lisa looked absolutely terrified the moment the commercial shoot began, and Jay tried to calm her nerves. It didn't work, and as Lisa forgot her lines, tears started to well-up in her eyes and threatened to roll down her face.
"The problem is that Lisa was only focused on failing," commented Jay.
Jay said he didn't expect Lisa to perfectly deliver her lines, however she still had a tremendously difficult time.
"Six girls now... Now it's really breaking it down," said a tearful Lisa following the shoot. "At this point, I'm the only person that has to sweat... I have what it takes to be a model, but I feel like my confidence is under the table."
The six remaining aspiring runway walkers then had their eighth individual evaluations, where they would be judged by Top Model creator Tyra Banks; Ms. J; photographer Nigel Barker; former model Twiggy; and Jeffrey. Prior to the judging panel commencing, Heather commented how she's nervous her weaknesses could lead to her elimination.
Lisa was the first to face the judges, and they said it was obvious that Lisa was on the verge of tears during her commercial shoot. Tyra advised that next time, Lisa should just "let it out" and get the tears out of the way as to not ruin the shoot. Nigel said he liked Lisa's photo -- describing it as "charming." Jeffrey gave Lisa credit because she was able to pull it together after her emotional commercial shoot and still deliver a strong photo. Tyra advised Lisa not take the criticisms so personally since all of the comments are constructive and meant to help her.
The judges thought Chantal needed to learn how to smile in photos before it was Bianca's turn, and she explained how she was disqualified from the challenge. Bianca said she quit due to "trust issues."
"Then you're in the wrong business," commented Ms. J.
While the judges liked Jenah's photo, Nigel thought she lacked charm. Saleisha received mostly positive comments, however like Chantal, the judges warned her to watch her smile.
Heather was the last girl to go, and her commercial was full of blunders. Tyra said Jay told her that Heather "totally struggled" during the commercial. Tyra said despite the fact that they're aware of her Asperger's, it can't stop them from being hard on her. Because Heather was subsequently fed her lines during the commercial shoot, Tyra said that could be construed as "favoritism" since none of the other girls had that luxury. While Heather's photo received positive reviews, her commercial shoot did not.
Once all the individual evaluations were complete, the judges began to deliberate which girl would be the eighth one eliminated. Nigel thought Lisa was "getting really weak." Ms. J said Lisa was still one of his favorite girls, and was hoping she'd be able to pull through.
Twiggy thought Heather was gorgeous, but was unsure if she'd be able to hold it together in the modeling industry. Nigel said he was disappointed in Heather's performance, and also thought Heather was disappointed in her own performance. Nigel commented how he felt Jenah wasn't showing her inner beauty and Tyra added she thought Jenah might not be totally invested in the competition.
Tyra then said "collectively," the girls did "really bad" during the commercial shoot before she revealed Chantal, Saleisha, Bianca and Jenah were all safe.
Tyra said Lisa's a beautiful girl who began the competition with so much personality and an inner beauty. However, Tyra added the judges were unsure if she'd be able to handle the "harsh realities" of the modeling industry -- especially because it is a "harsh, harsh world."
Tyra said while Heather interests the judges and consistently takes "stunning, outrageously amazing" photos, she failed to deliver during the commercial shoot. However Heather would get another chance as Lisa was ousted.