'America's Next Top Model' cuts Rachel Echelberger, Courtney Davies
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/17/2009
Rachel Echelberger and Courtney Davies were both eliminated from America's Next Top Model's thirteenth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality competition series.
Rachel, an 18-year-old 5'5" customer service rep from Woodland, CA, was unexpectedly eliminated at the beginning of the episode after she under-whelmed Wilhelmina Models president Sean Patterson during an interview.
"I was expecting somebody to pop out and say, 'Just kidding!' But it never came. I have to go home," lamented Rachel after her exit. "Opportunities like this don't really come for girls like me. I just wanted to show a lot more and I feel like I didn't get the chance to."
Courtney, a 22-year-old 5'4" cheer instructor from Plantation, FL who currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL, was eliminated at the end of the episode after she basically admitted she gave up on the competition due to a broken foot.
"I expected to do a little better than I did, so I let myself down in a way," opined Courtney after her ouster. "I just really wish I did not have a broken foot. I'm definitely not going to give up the modeling, and hopefully the agencies will look more to what I offer them rather than just my height because there's a lot more than me being just 5'5"."
America's Next Top Model's second thirteenth-season episode began following the elimination of Lisa Ramos, with Rachel realizing the opportunity that was being presented to her by the show.
"Going from a Wal-Mart cashier to America's Next Top Model, that's definitely a big jump," she said. "It's just like, 'Oh my gosh. I'm actually here doing this right now.' It's just surreal."
In addition, Courtney explained how she was sick of dealing with her broken foot -- an injury that occurred during a cheerleading competition she was participating in prior to Top Model's semifinals casting week.
"I always try to go to the next level, so this week I'm taking my boot off," said Courtney.
The 13 remaining finalists then received a piece of Tyra Mail, which informed them their "career would be short" if they don't "measure up." The girls subsequently traveled to Wilhelmina Models -- the agency that will ink the eventual winner. They were met by Top Model judge Nigel Barker and Sean.
Nigel and Sean met with each of the finalists one-on-one. Rachel explained that she was into musical theater, but when Nigel asked her for a brief performance, she buckled under the pressure and was unable to come through.
"There's so many things going on and I can't focus on a thought," subsequently explained Rachel.
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Needless to say, Nigel wasn't impressed.
"In a meeting with your potential boss, you need to show you have charisma," he said after Rachel's interview. "You need to sort of sell yourself. I'm afraid with Rachel, you're just not really sure what you're getting."
"I got nothing from her at all," added Sean.
Once all of the girls had their interviews, Sean and Nigel revealed one of them didn't have what it takes to be a Wilhelmina model.
"We've decided that lady's going to have to leave the competition right now," said Nigel.
The girls were shocked since they thought it was a reward challenge. However that wasn't the case and Rachel was given the boot on the spot.
"I felt like she flat-lined. I felt like there wasn't a lot there," explained Sean. "She felt a little bit boring."
The next day the girls traveled to a photography studio where Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks taught them how to "smize" -- smile with their eyes. She then directed a challenge where the girls wore fully body suits and paired up against each other to see who could smile best with their eyes. The winners would get to have dinner with Sean, while the losers would have to wash the dishes.
The challenge's winners were Courtney, Bianca Richardson, Brittany Markert, Kara Vincent, Lulu Braithwaite, and Laura Kirkpatrick; meaning Ashley "Rae" Weisz, Nicole Fox, Jennifer An, Ashley Howard, Erin Wagner, and Sundai Love would be washing dishes.
The next day the girls traveled to Santa Anita Park, where they were met by Top Model photo director Jay Manuel. He explained that for their next shoot, they would each be posing half-nude with a jockey and a horse.
Jay said since feet wouldn't be a part of the photo, Courtney wouldn't have to worry about wearing heels until she got on the horse and instead had her keep her boot on.
"Jay made me keep my boot on, which made me really mad," she complained. "It just made me feel disabled."
Both the photographer and Jay implored Courtney to make a softer face, but it wasn't working.
"I was so confused because they were asking me to be cute and innocent, and I'm just like, 'Do you see what I'm wearing right now?'" said Courtney. "There's no cute and innocent about it."
Jay said he was "absolutely stunned" by Courtney's performance.
"And not in a good way," he added.
The criticism got to Courtney.
"I totally shut down," she said afterwards.
Bianca wore a wig over her bald head so she had hair to match the horse's mane, a fact she wasn't too pleased about.
"I don't like it," she said. "But I learned not to complain."
While Jay and the photographer liked her poses, they weren't too happy with her facial expressions.
"If I think back to someone like [eleventh-season finalist Isis King] who was transgender, she looked far more feminine then Bianca did today," said Jay.
With the shoot in the books, the girls returned to the house -- where Courtney complained about the shoot.
"He made me model in my boot, which made me so mad," she told some of the other girls. "I was just like, 'How is this any of my fault?'"
The next day the girls arrived for the thirteenth season's second elimination ceremony -- where they were met by Tyra, Nigel and runway expert J. Alexander. This week's guest judge was former The Hills star Lauren Conrad.
Bianca let the judges know she wasn't pleased about the blonde wig, and they said they had a problem with her facial expression.
"You look slightly annoyed," commented J..
The judges also noticed Courtney was sans boot, however they were more concerned with the lack of expression in her photo.
"There's really not much to it," said Nigel. "You're just sitting on the horse perched there. You need to inject the essence of who you are."
"It looks a little bit angry to me and it's not really exciting," added Lauren.
"I was kind of mad," responded Courtney, which caused the judges to ask why.
"I think it just started off so bad that I just like..." began Courtney.
"Gave up?" asked J..
"Yeah," replied Courtney.
"I can tell," said Tyra. "You sabotaged yourself."
Tyra explained the boot is not holding Courtney back and the reason Jay wanted her to keep it on was in case the horse did something unpredictable.
The other 10 finalists also received feedback before the judges began to deliberate -- and for the second week in a row, it became clear Bianca was in trouble.
"She has beautiful eyes and it's sad she's not using them," said Tyra.
Courtney's photo was also criticized.
"This picture for me is just weak," opined Nigel. "It looks like she's just sitting there. She's angry, she's over it."
"I think that's really important, as a model, you have to learn to put that aside," added Lauren.
"She gave up, she sabotaged herself," said Tyra. "It's showing."
Tyra then revealed Erin, Brittany, Laura, Nicole, Kara, Jennifer, Sundai, Rae, Lulu and Ashley were all safe -- meaning Bianca and Courtney were in the bottom two.
"Bianca, you stand before me because last week you didn't like your makeup. This week, the judges are very perceptive -- so when we said, 'Are you ready for your photo?' and you said, 'I don't want to see how that blonde hair looks,' again you're thinking about your makeup and your hair and not being happy with it," said Tyra.
"Then we have Courtney. A girl who, for the judges, our hearts go out to this girl with this leg that is hurting," she continued. "But what is disappointing to the judges is your photo shoot this week. It's because America's Next Top Model does not like for a girl to give up. And you said I gave up."