'America's Next Top Model' loses Ondrei Edwards and Nicole Lucas
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/03/2011
Ondrei Edwards, an 18-year-old retail salesperson from Atlanta, GA who currently resides in Muskegon, MI, and Nicole Lucas, a 20-year-old student from Orlando, FL, were both eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
Ondrei was eliminated when she decided to quit Top Model as the season's 13 remaining finalists began their second panel with the show's judges. She had been struggling with grief from the recent deaths of two brothers -- one who was involved in an accident and the other whom was murdered -- and came to realize she didn't have the focus to continue in the competition.
"This photo shoot did not go so well. I believe that I did not give my 100% percent all because I'm not 100% percent myself. I'm very aware of the opportunity that you have given me and I am very blessed to even be here. But, I must say that I don't feel right being here when I know I'm going through a tough time in my life, and I thought that I was going to be strong enough to handle it but I can't right now," Ondrei told the judging panel.
"So you want to go home?" Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks asked her.
"I do," Ondrei replied.
Tyra then revealed that if Ondrei's photo was the worst photo of the week, all the other girls would be safe from elimination. However, if her photo wasn't the worst out of the bunch, another girl would be going home.
Nicole was then eliminated after the judges -- Tyra, Nigel Barker, Andre Leon Talley, and guest judge Alek Wek -- reviewed the photos the season's 12 remaining contestants had taken at their second photo shoot, which required them to pose for a beauty shot fit to be in a high fashion editorial while working with bees. The models were told they would be wearing jewelry covered in pheromones, which attracted the bees.
"I'm feeling a little disappointed in myself, but I know that my career is not going to stop here and I really really appreciate Tyra's advice and I think that I was just trying too hard. I was really concerned with being fierce and that's just not something that works for my look. It's something new I tried, but you know what? I learned from this experience and that's all that I can ask for," Nicole said following her ouster.
Ondrei and Nicole had both failed to impress Top Model fashion shoot director Jay Manuel.
"Your eyes look extremely sleepy. It's like, 'Is she awake?'" Jay told Nicole, adding afterward that it was a little boring, lacked luster, and her photos were just okay.
"Ondrei is definitely someone I would say, 'I would book her.' She's got this very striking look, but I was floored to see her performance just fall flat," Jay said following Ondrei's photo shoot. "It's really disappointing."
Ondrei wasn't thrilled with her performance either, as admitted she had been distracted by the series of recent tragic events.
"During the photo shoot I was like, 'I'm here but I wasn't here.' I want to be here but I'm not ready to be here. I'm thinking that I put myself in a position that I wasn't ready for so I can't predict what will happen tomorrow," Ondrei said after the photo shoot was over.
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Jay said Ondrei worked so hard to break through her walls and put her guard down during the week's initial challenge, but then failed to keep them down during the photo shoot because they went right back up once she began modeling.
Prior to the photo shoot, the girls had also participated in a challenge which required them to draw pictures of their "inner critics" on easels and then expose their fears onstage in front of a coach and the other models. At the challenge, Ondrei started to express her overwhelming emotions regarding the death of her two brothers.
"All my life, I've had to listen to all these voices in my head and suffer through nightmares and ever since Austin died, all because of you, the men in my life that were supposed to be here for this moment are not here with me. My Austin and Shasin are dead. What am I supposed to do!?" Ondrei cried during the challenge.
"It's not fair. It's not. Why should I have to go through all that because of you!?"
Once the challenge ended, Ondrei discussed how difficult it was for her to open up as much as she did about a very personal and heart-wrenching topic in her life.
"That challenge was hard for me because I didn't expect to go that deep into my emotions, especially dealing with the touchy subject so far as my brothers are concerned and their deaths, because it's something that you don't want to think back on," Ondrei said.
Before revealing Nicole's ouster, Tyra had announced the advancing girls in order of the best photo to worst.
Hannah, a 20-year-old student from Houston, TX who currently resides in Austin, TX, received the first photo. After Hannah, Tyra then revealed Brittani, Monique, Mikaela, Kasia, Dominique, Sara, Alexandria, Jaclyn, and Molly had also advanced to the competition's next round -- leaving Nicole and Dalya in the bottom two.
Tyra then recapped both girls' issues before revealing which one would get to remain in the competition.
"Nicole, what makes the judges very nervous is that you look like a teenager in person and like the teenager's auntie in your photos," Tyra told her.
Tyra then told Dalya why she was also in the bottom two.
"And then there's Dalya, a girl with stunning bone structure almost like a young colt's face and she had a gorgeous photo this week, but every other photo with her eyes open -- unusable -- except for the accident," Tyra explained.
"But there's another factor -- Ondrei's photo. Is this photo the worst photo out of all you girls here or is this the photo that is not the worst that will send one of you home? Ondrei's photo is not the worst so only one of you gets to stay."
Tyra finally revealed Dalya's photo, resulting in Nicole's elimination.
"You have a modeling career, but I don't want you walking into agencies and they're like, 'Ooh baby? -- mama?' Baby in person. Momma in the pictures.' Okay?" Tyra told Nicole.
"I think I was trying to hard," Nicole said.
"Trying too hard? You have all this bone structure. Just let it be," Tyra suggested.