Claire Unabia the sixth girl cut from 'America's Next Top Model'
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/03/2008
Claire Unabia started off strong but was eventually characterized as a one-trick pony when it came to posing. As a result, the 24-year-old production coordinator from New York, NY became the sixth contestant eliminated fromAmerica's Next Top Model's tenth season during last night's broadcast of The CW reality series.
"I'm really sad and really bummed that essentially, I failed," commented Claire after her ouster.
"This was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself and relating with other people. But it is really difficult that I started out really strong -- I won two challenges -- so it's like crazy for me to go home being that I think I could have been the best competitor and that I could have been America's Next Top Model. But I feel guilty for losing at this point since I left my baby and husband and dog. I guess it's just my time."
Top Model's sixth tenth-season episode began following the previous panel that saw the elimination of Aimee Wright, who was in the bottom two with Claire.
"Last panel I was on the chopping block, and it was like the most nerve-wracking experience so far in this competition," opined Claire, who was criticized by some of the other contestants for the way she reacted when she learned she was safe. Lauren, a 22-year-old artist from Brooklyn, NY, called Claire's reaction "disrespectful."
"The longer that I stay here, the more I get out of it," continued Claire. "And the more I get out of this competition, then the less guilty I will feel for abandoning my baby at home."
The eight remaining contestants traveled to Elite Model Management's New York office, where they were met by the North American director of scouting Karen Lee and model Kristy Hinze. Both women explained the importance of go-sees and informed the contestants that they'd be split into two groups of four, given directions and sent on go-sees. They would not be allowed to travel via taxi and thus had to hoof it on the streets.
The first team consisted of Claire; Dominique, a 23-year-old receptionist from Columbus, OH; Stacy Ann, a 22-year-old student from Miami, FL; and Whitney, a 20-year-old student from Atlantic Beach, FL; while the second team consisted of Lauren; Anya, a 19-year-old in retail sales from Honolulu, HI; Fatima, a 22-year-old student from Boston, MA; and Katarzyna, a 22-year-old in finance from Roslyn, NY.
The girls traveled around New York City and arrived at their various go-sees hoping to impress the clients. Lauren was complimented for looking "pretty" but was also deemed "uncomfortable" while Stacy Ann received positive reviews for both her "very nice walk" and "personality."
Whitney -- the tenth-season's token plus-size model -- quickly ran into a problem when the first client she met said her designs really wouldn't work with a plus-size model. However she was complimented for being a "beautiful girl" with "beautiful features."
"It's definitely frustrating because obviously I'm discriminated against because I'm not a Size 2," said Whitney, who took the high road. "It's not a bridge I'm going to burn. You never know? Maybe they'll have a friend who's booking a plus-size model?"
Whitney's positive attitude paid-off at the next go-see when the client thought her body type would work with the clothing designs. On the flip side, Fatima was criticized for being "way too small" for the designer's fashions.
With the go-sees in the books, the girls went back to Elite where they were met by Karen and Seventeen magazine editor-in-chief Ann Shoket.
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Both teams had their ups and downs on the go-sees, however Claire, Dominique, Stacy Ann and Whitney received the most positive feedback and bookings and were thus the winners. In addition, Stacy Ann was the girl who booked the most jobs. For their reward, the team would participate in a Seventeen "summer beauty story" pictorial.
The next day, the girls arrived at the theater hosting the new Broadway show Fuerzabruta and were met by Top Model art director Jay Manuel.
He explained the show uses the performers' bodies to provoke an emotional response from the audience and the girls would be doing the same for their shoot by posing on a clear Mylar surface suspended in the air and under a thin layer of water. They would participate in the shoot sans makeup and hair-styling products. Mike Rosenthall would serve as the shoot's photographer.
Claire was the first to go and got off to a terrible start when she fell headfirst onto the Mylar surface despite warnings from Jay not to do so.
"My head just starts ringing... I was seeing stars," she explained. "Oh my God, did I just ruin my shoot because I tried to slam my face into this plastic?"
Since she needed a minute to collect herself, Dominique went and Jay compared her poses to that of a "ballerina." Claire then took her turn and the results weren't positive.
"I started to forget my body because I was just trying to keep my eyes open and not blow bubbles," said Claire and Jay and Mike implored her to "keep moving."
"Her legs look dead... She was very slow moving," commented Jay. "It was just a little stilted."
Despite not trying to psyche herself out, Lauren also struggled with the shoot from the moment it began. Her contacts were giving her problems and she was blowing air bubbles with her nose, describing it as "stimulation overload."
"What's really interesting is Lauren's our little awkward girl we thought couldn't pose in-front of the camera," explained Jay. "Actually, this is the first day that Lauren looked awkward in-front of the camera."
The other five girls participated in the shoot -- which included Kat receiving the short haircut that Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks requested at the previous panel.
With the shoot in the books, the girls returned to their loft.
"I really tried my best," opined Lauren. "I really hope I did well."
The eight girls then arrived for Top Model's sixth tenth-season judging panel, where they'd be critiqued by Tyra; runway expert J. "Ms. J" Alexander; photographer Nigel Barker; supermodel Paulina Porizkova; and Karen from Elite.
Claire was criticized for her face-plant by Tyra before Nigel commented her profile in her photo looked "very flattened." Claire explained she was told to "face the light" and Nigel responded by telling her there are different ways to face the light. Karen agreed with Nigel.
Lauren also received negative reviews for her photo, which Nigel called a "very unusual shot" before adding she "almost looks like she's dead." Lauren had a hard time explaining her focus for the shot.
"This is your weakest for me -- your weakest in the whole competition for you," said Tyra.
The judges then began to deliberate, and Nigel commented Claire "could have worked her angles a little bit better."
"I wonder sometimes is she going to change up?" asked Ms. J.
"She's like one note to me," agreed Tyra. "I just feel there's one look -- one face."
Paulina thought Lauren's face was "gorgeous" and Karen added she "really lacks in self-confidence." Paulina added Lauren is "slightly less Frankensteiny."
"Ultimately, I'm completely losing faith in Lauren," said Nigel. "For me, she's collapsing. She hasn't gotten any better. Her confidence -- if anything -- is weaker."
With deliberations over, Tyra revealed Fatima, Anya, Kat, Whitney, Stacy Ann and Dominique were all safe.
"Who would have thought Claire and Lauren would be standing in-front of me?" asked Tyra. "Claire, the judges think that you take gorgeous pictures but they feel like it's one note. With America's Next Top Model, we're looking for someone that is diverse and can be a chameleon. Lauren, you're standing in-front of me because the judges see the same note in this room. Pretty much the same awkward Lauren. One of them said Frankenstein-like, and that's really severe."
She then revealed Lauren was safe and Claire was given the boot.
American Next Top Model's will air a tenth-season clip episode on Wednesday, April 9 at 8PM ET/PT before the competition resumes on April 16.