Mila first girl eliminated from 'America's Next Top Model's ninth edition
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/27/2007
Mila, a 20-year-old recent college graduate from Boston, MA, was revealed to be the first runway wannabe eliminated from America's Next Top Model's ninth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality competition series.
"I really didn't think I would be the first one to go home," said Mila at the end of her brief Top Model journey. "I really would have liked to stay and I think it would have been really great to stay, but I think if you concentrate on the positive, the negative things just go away."
Following last Wednesday night's Top Model casting special, last night's episode began with the 13 contestants moving into their new posh Los Angeles mansion and learning that the show's ninth season will be eco-friendly, complete with a bio-diesel bus to haul the girls around.
"I'm pretty supportive of the environmental kick," said Mila. "It really is important to be aware of what keeps our earth good."
Before their first night in the house was even over, catty behavior already reared its ugly head. Bianca, an 18-year-old college student from Queens, NY, commented how she didn't feel Lisa, a 20-year-old from Jersey City, NJ, couldn't be crowned Top Model because she works as an exotic dancer.
The next morning, the girls attended their first ninth-season photo shoot and were met by Top Model art director Jay Manuel. The first shoot saw the girls having two photos taken: one glamorous photo of them smoking a cigarette and another that illustrated the negative impact smoking has. Both images would then be combined into a compilation shot, which they would be judged on. Mike Rosenthal served as the photographer.
Mila immediately ran into problems with her less-than-glamorous photo, which had her donning a bald wig to illustrate the hair-loss that can be caused by chemotherapy treatment. Mila's trouble was that despite the seriousness of the issue, she couldn't stop laughing.
"My look is supposed to be after I have chemotherapy," said Mila through giggles. "I would call it sort of Bozo-ish." Jay didn't think it wasn't funny.
"It was kind of sad watching Mila because I think she struggled with connecting with the true emotion of sorrow and regret," he explained.
The only other girl to have a real problem during the shoot was Ebony, a 20-year-old nursing student from Chicago, IL, who said she was nervous and also came off as insecure because the other girls made negative comments about her being conceited during the casting special. Jay explained it was Ebony's initial confidence that made them choose her, but it wasn't evident in her shoot.
"I can tell for a fact you're holding back on me, and it's so obvious," he told her.
While the other girls had minimal problems with the shoot, Bianca continued to be catty towards Lisa as they prepared to be filmed. Bianca called Lisa "phony," and she returned the favor by calling Bianca a "diva." Both threatened to throw cell phones at each other.
"Bianca is a little insecure, and I think she's conceited," said Lisa. The two confronted each other -- much to the chagrin of some of the other girls.
"You really think America's Next Top Model is going to be an exotic dancer!" yelled Bianca at Lisa. "'What a role model, mom!' Give up! Go home!" Lisa was understandably livid that Bianca "brought it to that level."
"I hate when the girls fight. I hate cat fights," said Victoria, a 20-year-old college student from New Haven, CT. "I hate that whole world. That is so high school to me."
With the girls back at their pad, Bianca decided to apologize to Lisa because she didn't want Top Model creator and judge Tyra Banks to learn of their tiff.
Heather, a 21-year-old college student from Valparaiso, IN, also attempted to explain to some of the girls how she suffers from Asperger's, a mild form of Autism that hinders her social interaction and verbal communication. Still, some of the other girls -- most notably Janet, a 22-year-old aesthetician from Bainbridge, GA -- put Heather down for being different.
"I'm not going to let this Autism bring me down," said Heather. "It's going to be a thing that makes me stronger."
The next morning, runway expert and Top Model judge J. "Ms. J" Alexander met the girls at the house before taking them to Old Navy to help them address their personal style. Once at Old Navy, the girls were met by posing instructor Benny Ninja, who informed them they'd have 10 minutes to find an outfit that they would wear to the first judging panel. Whichever girl the judges deem has the most stylish outfit would win a prize.
Back at the house, more was being made about Heather having Asperger's, and Victoria didn't like how the other girls were talking behind Heather's back. Kimberly, a 20-year-old student from Ocala, FL, explained how she didn't want to befriend Heather because she was afraid Heather would "cling" to her.
The 13 aspiring runway walkers then had their first individual evaluations, where they would be judged by Tyra; Ms. J; photographer Nigel Barker; and former model Twiggy. Tyra explained the ninth edition's winner will receive a management deal with Elite Model Management, a $100,000 contract with cosmetics company CoverGirl, and a cover story and six-page fashion spread in an issue of Seventeen magazine.
The judges were critical of Mila's photos. Ms. J said it looked like she was lifting her leg to fart in her glamorous pose, and Nigel commented his problem was that Mila's body was awkward and her eyes weren't focused.
"You're such a beautiful girl, but it's a pretty girl just sitting there," said Tyra. "That's not what models get paid to do." Mila then explained how it was "really hard to take it seriously" when Tyra asked why she couldn't control her laughter during the shoot.
"You might think that you look comedic, but in reality it's a very serious subject," said Nigel.
Once all the individual evaluations were complete, Tyra revealed Saleisha, a 21-year-old receptionist from Los Angeles, CA, had won the style challenge and would receive a $1,000 Old Navy shopping spree and would also appear in an ad for the store.
The judges then began to deliberate which girl would be the first one eliminated. Twiggy commented Mila's photo was "dead" and added she wasn't impressive. Tyra said she likes Mila because of her "curvy" figure, but thought she "wasn't absorbing" any of the critiques they had just given her. Nigel commented that Ebony is one of "the most beautiful girls here" but could tell she has a "dark side."
Tyra then revealed that Heather; Lisa; Chantal, a 19-year-old student from Austin, TX; Sarah, a 20-year-old college student from Heath, MA; Jenah, a 18-year-old student from Farmington, CT; Saleisha; Ambreal, a 19-year-old college student from Dallas, TX; Victoria; Janet; Kimberly; and Bianca were all safe from elimination.
Tyra said when the judges look at Mila, they see "such a pretty girl," but added that doesn't "necessarily make a model." She also called Ebony a "pretty, pretty girl," but said it didn't translate to film. Tyra then revealed Mila was eliminated because Ebony has "more potential."