London the seventh contestant cut from 'America's Next Top Model'
By John Bracchitta, 04/16/2009
London, an 18-year-old student from Arlington, TX, was revealed to be the seventh runway wannabe eliminated from America's Next Top Model's twelfth season during last nigh's broadcast on The CW.
"I thought that the day I was gonna be eliminated that I would be really upset with God. But you know surprisingly enough I am not at all," London said following her elimination. "The last couple days here have been hard. Yeah I have gained weight but it's nothing that I can't lose, and modeling is my number one passion, aside from God of course. I do know that even after this competition that I'll still be modeling. They'll see my face eventually somewhere, I promise."
America's Next Top Model's seventh twelfth-season episode began with Allison, a 20-year-old artist from New Orleans, LA, once again talking with Celia, a 25-year-old designer in fashion sales from Cynthiana, KY, about the judges' panel comments in which they said her face had looked the same in each of her shots.
"I have a problem I think, I just don't understand how I can look exactly the same every time," she said, before later adding that she had a problem distorting her face for shots because of her unique facial features.
Celia also talked to London about her past as a street preacher and her devotion to God.
"Being here I've really tried to keep my relationship with God just 110%, never really doubting him, trying to have as much confidence as I can because I know that he's the reason that I'm here," she said later.
The following day, the contestants met with Top Model photo shoot and creative director Jay Manuel, who explained what role a creative director plays in photo shoots and then told the girls that they would be filling the role for their upcoming challenge.
After being joined by Seventeen magazine editor-in-chief Ann Shoket, the girls were told that they would be split into pairs, with one girl modeling clothing from street wear designer South Pole Juniors to the theme of "street style with attitude" and the other serving as the creative director for the shoot. Ann added that the challenge winner would be in an editorial fashion spread in Seventeen's June issue.
Jay then paired the girls off and had them begin their shoots.
Aminat, a 21-year-old student from Union, NJ, ran into trouble managing her time as creative director when she was setting up her shoot with Natalie, a 19-year-old student from Palos Verdes, CA. After spending too much time wandering around the wardrobe room, Aminat had to rush Natalie out to the shoot after her hair and makeup ran late.
"It's your job to manage that time well," Jay told her, while Aminat maintained that the hair had taken too long to get styled correctly and that it was not her fault.
Teyona, a 20-year-old loss prevention representative from Woodstown, NJ, drew Celia as her model for her stint as creative director. After watching her go for a "Hood-diva, street chique" look and dressing Aminat in all-black outfit with thin gold necklaces for her shoot, Jay was so impressed with Teyona's styling that he doublechecked with the wardrobe stylist to make sure that Teyona had done all the work herself.
However, Jay put his head into his clipboard in disgust after seeing that Teyona had skipped over a much better shot of Celia and selected a sub-par one as the shot she would present.
Following the shoots, Jay said that he had never seen Allison so "chatty" while styling Aminat, but said she wasn't mindful of the timing of the shoot by having the lighting repeatedly re-set up during the shoot. He went on to criticize London's shoot as well, saying that her shots of Allison did not portray the "streetlife attitude" the company had wanted. He added that while Teyona had styled Celia well, she had not picked the best picture of her presentation shot.
While Jay said that Aminat had been the worst at time management during her shooting of Natalie, Ann added that she had posed Natalie into the "perfect Seventeen cover pose."
Jay then revealed that, despite not choosing the right picture, Teyona had won the challenge with the strongest creative work and would be featured in the Seventeen magazine shoot.
"Y'all don't understand how big this is to me," Teyona said following her win. "It, it just touched my heart."
After being revealed as the winner, Teyona was allowed to bring two other girls to the shoot with her. She selected Celia -- her model for the shoot -- and Aminat, angering Fo, a 19-year-old student from Albuquerque, NM, who thought she was Teyona's "homie" and took the snub as a "slap in the face."
The next day, Jay surprised the girls by visiting the Top Model house early in the morning while they were still sleeping. As the groggy girls woke up, Jay explained that hair and makeup would be coming to their house for their next shoot, but did not reveal what its theme would be.
After the girls had been styled, they received an additional surprise when R&B artist Ciara showed up at their front door. After plugging her new album, the singer revealed that she would be joining the girls in their shoot.
"She's such an icon, and it's really, really exciting because I've been a fan of Ciara for quite some time," Celia said.
Jay then revealed that the girls would be traveling to Webster Hall, a small concert venue, where they would pose tied up in microphone wire as obsessed fans of the singer and be photographed by photographer Mike Ruiz.
Prior to the shoot, London, who admitted to gaining 10-15 pounds since Top Model's semifinals round, expressed worry over the skimpy swimsuit-like costumes that the girls would be donning for the shoot.
"How ironic is it that today's shoot we're basically wearing bathing suits and I've just gained all this weight," she said, before adding that she had felt "uneasy" about her outfit and was scared prior to her shoot.
London was unable to hide her concerns as she began her shoot. Mike told her that her initial shots looked "awkward" and like she was struggling and stuck in the microphone wires that blocked some of her body from the camera. Jay also commented that it was noticeable how much weight London had put on and called it "unprofessional."
"London did probably the best that she could possibly do. But where I'm really shocked is not just about the fact that she's gained weight, but the fact that as a model you're expected to treat your body like a temple."
Following her shoot, Jay took London aside to talk to her about the weight gain. He noted that while he was aware of the stresses that come with the competition, she would never be able to make it in the modeling world if she could not take care of her body. London responded that she was aware of the weight gain and that her confidence had been suffering because of it.
"I really didn't know what to say," she said later. "I really did agree with him though, I have gained a lot of weight... It just hurt me at the time. If I didn't have God with me right now, I don't know what I would do.
Aware that she had to step up her game because she was sharing the frame with Ciara, Teyona wowed Jay and Mike with her striking poses.
"Guess what Ciara, she's giving you a run for your money up in there," Jay said with a smile.
Following the shoot back at the house, London continued to worry about her talk with Jay and called the competition "one of the hardest experiences of [her] life."
Prior to judging each of the girls' photos, Tyra revealed -- in an odd skit involving a half-naked man presenting her with a bucket of Brazil nuts -- that the six finalists remaining after the judges' panel would be traveling to Brazil for the remainder of the competition.
Following a brief celebration, the girls settled down and started judging the photos.
Nigel said Aminat had come off looking "bewildered" in her photo, which featured her leaning backwards as Ciara sang behind her.
"You're a beautiful girl, you've got what it takes. But quite frankly it looks like you fell over," he said.
Paulina agreed, saying she looked like she was reclining on a couch, while Miss J said that she needed "two cups of crazy and a pinch of insane" to liven up the picture.
Tyra said that the shot did not seem like one she was comfortable in and warned Aminat to realize how her body comes across on camera.
When judging Teyona, the judges were as impressed with her shot as Jay had been.
"I think you look, uh, is it 'fierce' Tyra?" Paulina said.
Mike added that none of the other girls had related to the environment better than Teyona, while Tyra credited her with acting the part correctly and keeping it "fierce and fabulous."
Judges were not as impressed with London's photo, with Paulina immediately stating "I don't love it" and Nigel calling it "over the top."
"I think sometimes you try a little too hard and that's a problem for you," he added.
Tyra said that while London "smiled with her eyes" naturally but looked cartoonish in her pictures because she tried to exaggerate the look even further.
"I think you just need to get a better understanding of what angles work best for you," Mike added.
Miss J also reiterated that London needed to watch her weight.
Following the judges' deliberation, Tyra revealed that Teyona had swept the week by taking the best Ciara shoot shot in addition to winning the challenge earlier. She then proceeded to reveal that Fo, Natalie, Celia, Allison were still in the running to become America's Next Top Model's next winner and that Aminat or London, who were in the bottom two, would be eliminated from the competition.
"Aminat, the judges look at you and they see this girl with his strong body this beautiful skin and this beautiful face. But they look at you and they say 'Maybe she can only do runway modeling," Tyra said before turning her attention to London.
"And then there's London. The judges looked at you as having some of the strongest bone structures in this competition. And I myself said I've never seen a girl that has a permanent 'smile with her eyes 'expression on her face. But what the judge are not seeing is that loveliness captured on celluloid."
"So who goes to Brazil, who goes to this lovely beautiful country?" Tyra asked before revealing that Aminat had survived while London had been eliminated from the competition