Samantha Francis the second girl eliminated from 'Top Model 8'
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/08/2007
Last night, the 11 remaining runway wannabes on the eighth season of The CW's America's Next Top Model went back to high school to learn how to work the catwalk during the second episode of the reality competition series. And when it was over, Samantha Francis, a 19-year-old sales associate from Pinson, AL, was the second girl eliminated.
"I'm not very outgoing... I'm not wild and crazy. That's not me. I'm very simple, that's just the way I was raised," said Samantha while she packed her bags to leave. "But I get to go back home to my family. That's the plus side to the whole thing. Maybe later this modeling thing will work out, but it just wasn't the time. God has a plan for me... and this wasn't it."
The episode began with Jaslene Gonzalez, a 20-year-old online college admissions advisor from Chicago, IL, boasting on the phone to her mother about how she was "so happy" to do well in the first photo shoot. "The positive feedback I got was so good," said Jaslene. "I'm fierce. I'm here for a reason. When I get in my zone and I'm focused, that's when I perform the best." As the other girls had fun in the house, Samantha was already feeling left out.
"I'm a country girl, and some of these girls are just crazy. I like to keep to myself whenever I'm stressed," she said prior to calling her father and talking to him through tears. He advised her "don't forget who you are," to which she replied, "I'll never forget who I am."
"I don't know if I fit in. To me, I seem really different than the other girls," continued Samantha. "But I want to see myself on the cover of a magazine... I want to be on that catwalk."
The girls then received some Tyra Mail, which informed them to congregate at a local high-school football field, where they were met by runway expert J. Alexander. The girls were also greeted by a marching band, which Alexander said demonstrated "timing, precision and choreography," qualities needed for the catwalk. As all the girls practiced their runway walks solo, Jaslene continued to feel confident despite some criticism from Alexander.
"Little miss cha-cha diva... she didn't get all the praise she was expecting to get," noticed Renee DeWitt, a 20-year-old stay-at-home-mom from Maui, HI.
As planes flew over the field in unison, the girls soon found they'd be trying to walk together in groups of three with some complicated catwalk instructions. "What does it mean? What should I do?" said a confused Natasha Galkina, a 21-year-old college student from Dallas, TX who is originally from Russia. As the girls tried their best at walking with precision, it was clear they were having difficulties. But Jaslene remained confident, commenting she's "one of the best."
As they walked inside the high school's gymnasium for their "final exam," they were met by runway fashion show producer Roy Campbell, who put their catwalk skills to the test. He informed the girls their next challenge would be to compete in a fashion show with the theme being the prom. "I've never had a prom," said Natasha. "We just don't have this thing in Russia."
There were three categories to the fashion show -- modern contemporary, the 1980s and ghetto fabulous -- and it was performed in-front of actual students of the high school. Natasha told Jael Strauss, a 22-year-old band manager from Detroit, MI, to make sure she doesn't mess up, something Jael took exception to. "It was so hysterical to me," said Jael. Meanwhile Renee noticed Jaslene was acting "full of herself."
"These bitches can talk about the game... but can you play the game," said Jaslene. "I have my signature walk down pat."
The girls walked in numerous pairs of three, having an opportunity to model in each of the three categories. Campbell thought Natasha "wasn't cognizant of the other girls on the runway;" said Jaslene "didn't get the choreography and didn't seem to care either;" wanted "a little more attitude" from Samantha; and commented that Renee was "bland but connected with the audience."
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While he particularly liked Sarah Vanderhaar, a 20-year-old photographer with previous modeling experience from Lake Zurich, IL, following her first walk down the runway, that changed when her breasts popped out during her second attempt and she decided to do nothing about it.
"While we're on the catwalk, Sarah's chest decides to be exposed to all the high school children and their parents," said Jael. Commented Sarah, "I just kept going. I'm not going to let something like that ruin my runway walk." Campbell said, "This is supposed to be a fashion show... not sex education."
"When it came down to the actual routine, some of them did very poorly. Some of the girls were crashing into each other, missing their routine, missing their marks," said Campbell. "Although some of you did well most of the time, there were some car wrecks on that runway." Brittany Hatch, a 21-year-old bartender from Savannah, GA, was named winner of the challenge and Campbell thought she "had the best stage presence." She was awarded a large trophy with her name engraved on it.
Jaslene was aware she made mistakes, but still "felt confident." Commented Renee, "I think Jaslene is very self-centered, very cocky... but at the same time, very insecure." Felicia Provost, a 19-year-old sales associate from Houston, TX, noticed that "tension" was rising in the house now that Jaslene didn't do too well.
"People are mad because they ain't at the top no more," said Felicia, a comment that Jaslene overheard. "I heard Felicia talking, and immediately I put my guards up because I knew it was going towards me." Jaslene wanted to talk about the comments "like grown adults," so she approached Felicia and accused her of "talking smack" and "causing drama." Jaslene then retreated to the phone where she called her mom in tears.
"They're mad because they know I'm the best walker," she told her mom. "They're just trying to bring me down and that hurts." Her mom said Jaslene was "not being strong enough." Renee thought Jaslene's "big front" was "starting to break down." Jaslene's final comment to her mom was that she feels like "a time bomb ready to blow-up."
The girls then received another piece of Tyra Mail (which Natasha had an incredibly hard time reading), and learned they'd be returning to the high school where they participated in the fashion show. They were met by Jay Manuel, Top Model's creative director of photo shoots, who informed the girls they'd be acting out high school superlatives for their second photo shoot. Herbal Essences professional stylist, Hallie Bowman, helped the girls get ready.
While some of the girls got superlatives they were comfortable with -- like Jael being the "book worm," Brittany portraying the "valedictorian" and Felicia acting as a jock" -- some of the other girls weren't as lucky. Renee was the "class clown."
"I'm a little bit pissed," opined Renee. "Why can't I get something I'm good at because some of the other girls got things they're good at." It also made Renee less happy that Jael and Sarah were sitting in on her photo shoot, while Manuel thought she was "painful to watch" because she "didn't come out of her shell." Samantha, unbelievably, was the girl with the "bad reputation."
"Last week I was a lesbian this week I'm a ho," said Samantha. Manuel thought she wasn't "selling it," while Samantha said the role "wasn't her." Renee longed to have Samantha's superlative. "She's not comfortable being sexy, but it's very easy to be sexy." After undergoing some intensive make-up treatment to become a "weirdo," it was worth it for Jaslene.
"I love it. We're not even at frame 20 and I'm done with you already," said Manuel to Jaslene. "Can you give me one bad shot for the day? That's gorgeous!" Renee was jealous once again, wishing she had gotten better feedback to become more confident. Just like last week when she was making the "pro-choice statement," Natasha was confused again for this shoot as she tried to act like a "teacher's pet."
"I was trying to show her how to pose," said Manuel. "The problem is, she really doesn't understand modeling." Natasha said, "It's hard for me to get. I feel like I'm failing. It's the most stressful day I've ever had here" Renee continued to complain about her misfortune in the photo shoots. "If you're going to take one girl out of her element, you need to take all the girls out of their elements," said Renee. Jaslene thought Renee was making "excuses."
When Jael read the next piece of Tyra Mail topless, Samantha was noticeably uncomfortable. "It's really hard to explain how you could feel so alone in a house with so many people," she said. The next morning, the girls faced the judges -- supermodel Tyra Banks, photographer Nigel Barker, Alexander, Campbell and British supermodel Twiggy -- for the second time. During the individual evaluations for each girl, Tyra said Samantha looked "unsure," and added, "Most modeling is acting like a ho but making it fashion." While the judges liked Jaslene's photo shoot, she couldn't help but start crying and telling everyone she feels "uncomfortable" in the competition.
"People kiss you on the cheek and stab you in the back... that's the reality [of modeling]," said Campbell. Added Nigel, "You need thicker skin." Natasha took the most heat from the judges. Nigel thought she "didn't figure it out" because of the "language barrier." Manuel told Tyra Natasha's photo shoot was the "hardest in Top Model history to have to direct," and added she was "worse than Ann [Markley]" from Top Model's third season.
"I remember Ann... she was one of the most beautiful girls," said Natasha, a comment that made all the judges laugh. "I love it!" said Nigel. "She took it as a positive."
During the judges' deliberation, it was quickly clear Natasha and Samantha were in trouble. "I want to slap her really because she's got it all but just doesn't know how to use it," said Twiggy of Natasha. Nigel thought Samantha was one of the "best looking girls" in the competition, but added he doesn't see her as "having any personality." Commented Tyra, "So much potential, but so bottled up... it's almost like she needs pre-America's Next Top Model school."
"The judges say that you two have the strongest faces, but there's different things that are lacking," Tyra told Samantha and Natasha when it was revealed everyone else was safe. "Samantha you take beautiful pictures, but a lot the judge's look at you and say she seems 15, and maybe in three years she'll be ready for America's Next Top Model. While you Natasha, you have this gorgeous face, but for some reason can't translate that to a photo."
In the end, the judges decided to eliminate Samantha, "the girl with the beautiful pictures where the personality seems to be stunted and maybe she's just a little too green."