Kortnie the fourth girl eliminated from 'America's Next Top Model'
By John Bracchitta, 03/26/2009
Kortnie, a 24-year-old non-profit organizer from Houston, TX, was revealed to be the fourth runway wannabe eliminated from America's Next Top Model's twelfth season during last night's broadcast on The CW.
"It's depressing, I'm sad to go. I feel like maybe I had potential, but maybe I didn't catch up as fast as the other girls, Kortnie said following her elimination.
"I love all the other girls, they're amazing but Tahlia, and if she doesn't wanna be here, she thinks the competition is a joke. But Celia didn't have to do that. I applaud her for standing up for what she believes in. But in Tahlia's defense, she didn't get to say anything. So I don't know what's gonna happen with that, hopefully the house wont get too crazy when I leave."
Kortnie's exit statements referred to an unexpected plea for her survival by Celia, a 25-year-old designer in fashion sales from Cynthiana, KY, who had heard that Tahlia, an 18-year-old student from Phoenix, AZ, had considered dropping out of the competition after not reacting well to criticism.
America's Next Top Model's fourth twelfth-season episode began with the 10 remaining girls being surprised at their townhouse by third-season Top Model contestant Toccara Jones, who brought them Mira Kelis sleepwear for a sleepover to discus the importance of having a unique personality in order to succeed in the fashion business.
After talking about how her overblown personality has helped her modeling career, Toccara had each of the girls talk about their own personalities. Kortnie equated her personality to that of an "old male comedian stuffed in a curvy chick's body," eliciting some catty comments from Sandra, a 19-year-old student from Rockville, MD, later.
"Kortnie, she's just always joking around and everything, and I don't think she takes the competition as serious as some of us. I feel like if you're here to model, be here to model. This is not a comedy show," she said.
Before leaving, Toccara reminded the girls that the winner of America's Next Top Model would be serving as a spokesperson and would have to have a personality to match their appearance.
"Don't just rely on your looks," she warned them.
The girls then traveled to meet with posing instructor Benny Ninja, who was flanked by model Sky Nellor, to learn how to pose appropriately with different types of musical styles.
Sky spun different types of music ranging from country to hip-hop as the girls posed one by one and were critiqued by Benny. Much like Toccara's advice, Benny stressed the importance of learning to have the right mindset in order to be a successful model.
"All I have to say is believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else is gonna believe what you're trying to put forth," he told the girls.
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The girls quickly put their posing lessons to good use, as they next traveled to an auditorium where they learned that they would be featured in a posing showcase of new spring designs by David and Phillipe Blond. The girls were told that they would be split into two heats of five, with the winner of each heat chosen by Benny then going head-to-head against one another in a final "pose-off." Benny would decide the winner of the challenge based on the audience's reaction to each finalist's poses, with the winner receiving a handmade dress by the Blondes right off the runway.
After donning their clothes, and matching blonde wigs the first heat of girls -- featuring Celia; Kortnie; Sandra; Allison, a 20-year-old artist from New Orleans, LA; and Teyona, a 20-year-old loss prevention representative from Woodstown, NJ -- took the stage. Celia easily won the heat, receiving the strongest ovation from the crowd.
Natalie, a 19-year-old student from Palos Verdes, CA, won the second heat, beating out Tahlia; Aminat, a 21-year-old student from Union, NJ; London, an 18-year-old student from Arlington, TX; and Fo, a 19-year-old student from Albuquerque, NM. Tahlia once again didn't like her full-bodied costume, was loudly booed for her poses and was clearly affected by the negative reaction upon leaving the stage.
In the final pose-off, Natalie tripped numerous times on the thin posing area while Celia worked her garment into her poses. After gauging the crowd's reaction, Benny announced that Celia had won the challenge.
"After this performance today I'm on such a high, and I feel like I can channel this energy into everything else that I do," an excited Celia said following her victory.
Tahlia -- still affected by the negative reaction at the challenge -- had a much different reaction upon returning to the house, telling Allison "I want to go home" and reiterating to Celia that she wasn't sure if the competition was the right thing for her to be spending her time in.
"Tahlia is too timid, I do not think she's strong enough to be in this competition," Celia said after the conversation. "She's so afraid to put herself out there, and you have to."
The following day, the girls were whisked off to their photo shoot unaware of where they were going or what the theme of the shoot would be until they had already had their makeup done and were put onto a boat headed out to Ellis Island where they met with photo shoot director Jay Manuel.
The girls were told that, with photographer Brian Edwards manning an old-fashioned 8x10 camera, the theme of the photo shoot would be to create a dynamic fashion image while emulating classic pictures taken of immigrants entering America through Ellis Island in the late 1800's and early to mid 1900's. Each contestant would be attempting to create a family photo by posing with Benny, who would be acting as their husband, and a group of children.
Sandra was the first to do her shoot, and immediately disappointed Jay with her bland poses. He later said that Sandra had been one of his biggest disappointments so far in the competition and that she had "flown off the radar" in the competition following her shoot.
While excited to reenact the immigrant experience because of her family's history as immigrants, Kortnie also disappointed Jay during her shoot, saying that her bodies poses were no good and made her "look like a sack."
"Kortnie just struggled," he added later. "It took way too long to make the pose happen, it just was a little too boring."
However, Jay was beyond impressed with Tahlia's shots during her shoot, particularly in regard to her poses, facial expressions, and confidence she displayed.
Upon returning to the house, Celia -- apparently still steamed by Tahlia's comments -- told Kortnie, Allison, and Sandra that if Tahlia was not eliminated at the upcoming judges' panel that someone should "fight back" and tell America's Next Top Model judge and host Tyra Banks about her supposed lack of commitment to the competition whenever she receives any negative feedback.
Perhaps supporting Celia's comments, Tahlia made it clear throughout the house following her successful photo shoot that she had no desire to go home anymore as well.
The contestants then met with Tyra and fellow judges Jay "Miss J" Alexander, Nigel Barker, Paulina Porizkova and Benny, who served as a guest judge.
The judges were very critical of Kortnie's shot, with Tyra calling her face "sour" looking while Nigel criticized the look of her entire face's look.
"It doesn't seem like a fashion shot for me. The look in your eyes is just a little bit dead."
"I think you need attention, it doesn't feel like you're there, added Tyra. "It feels like you under performed. You need to push hard, make it so that photographer can just pull you back."
Conversely, the judges were literally "wowed" by Tahlia's shot, with Tyra and Nigel both exclaiming how much they liked her picture.
"It's better than exquisite, it's the best picture I've seen so far" Nigel gushed. "This is beautiful, you look fantastic."
"This is beautiful,"added Tyra. You look like this beautiful flamenco Spanish dancer [saying] 'I'm coming to Nueva York!'"
Following the judges' deliberation, Tyra revealed that Tahlia had taken the best photo and would have her shot displayed as digital art in the girls' townhouse. She then proceeded to reveal that Teyona, Allison, Natalie, London, Aminat, Celia and Fo were still in the running to become America's Next Top Model's next winner and that either Sandra or Kortnie, who were in the bottom two, would be eliminated from the competition.
"It's interesting that you two stand before me because you guys are both really pretty, pretty girls," Tyra said. "With you Kortnie the girl we see in this judging room with such a alertness that even now as I speak you are [wide eyed], but hey we look at you're pictures and its [much different]."
"And then we look at Sandra," Tyra continued. "Another pretty girl, but the judges are disappointed because they feel you are just resting on what the lord and your momma and daddy gave you, and Benny Ninja reported that your performance was disappointing."
"So who stays in this competition?" Tyra asked, before revealing that Sandra would while Kortnie had been sent home.
However, staying true to her word, Celia immediately jumped to the runway and told Tyra of what Tahlia had said.
"Before you send Kortnie home, I think you should know that Tahlia did express that she didn't want to be in this competition anymore, and she did not feel this was a wise career move on her part," Celia said. "It wouldn't be fair for someone who doesn't even want to be here to remain in the competition."
However, Celia quickly learned that Tyra was not pleased with her interjection.
"You know what I think is unfair, that you're saying this and not Tahlia," Tyra shot back. "Tahlia did not say that to me, she did not say that to the judges, so what is truly unfair is you saying that to me. So the judges have made their decision. Take your place Celia."
Celia apologized as she walked back to the other contestants.