When I get into a lift (that’s elevator to you if you’re American, or magical up-and-down room if you’re Tahnee), the first thing I do is punch in the number of the floor I’d like to visit. So does Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs Hoogenband, although she does it a smidge more literally. The score is now Cassi: 1 Otis: 0. Welcome, boxing fans, to the ‘All In All She’s Just A Scrag Who’s Punching The Wall’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Wear a cup. Seriously.
- After Leah’s elimination, Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs Hoogenband tells the camera that she reckons the other modules see her as a threat. They have no idea how right they are.
- At the Module Mansion, a Sarah Mail reading ‘Let me cut to the chase – try these on for size’ arrives in a budget-splintering blue cardboard box filled with wigs. The girls twig that this might mean it’s makeover week, and Franky is convinced she’s getting a weave (that’s hair extensions to you if you’re Australian, or I Was Crazy Yesterday But Now I’m Okay if you’re Britney Spears). Franky has no idea how wrong she is.
- The scrags pile into a bus that spews them out at a hair salon, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, George Pease and Joh-Tox Bailey, who confirm the makeover rumour to be true. I involuntarily liberate a little bit of wee, because I LOVE a makeover episode, and I’ve been excited for over a fortnight about seeing Madison’s matted, brittle, where-used-dental-floss-goes-to-die mop being tamed into something more hospitable. No such luck…
~Saint Sarah, who herself has a haircut that is short at the back with longer layers at the front, tells Mikarla that she’ll be getting a haircut that is short at the back with longer layers at the front. Mikarla is horrified, and complains elegantly with “I’m about to get a fuckin’ Victoria Beckham haircut”. Mind you don’t singe your remaining hair while you burn that bridge, sweetheart. The result is a resounding ‘meh’.
~Adele, who already has red hair, is given redder hair. This is wacky on an international scale.
~Tahnee is given hair extensions and highlights in a cunningly concocted plan to make her look exactly the same.
~Saint Sarah asks Laura “What would you say if we said we were going to shave it off?” Laura answers “Nothing. I’d just look sideways and chew my lip a bit”. It’s all a wind-up, though, and she’s given a blunt bob that Saint Sarah describes as “Katie Holmes”, presumably meaning that they started with a Clinically Insane Husband Conditioning Treatment and finished with some Intense Spoilt Brat Offspring Highlights. She looks good, if not exponentially angrier.
~Despite being in a hair salon surrounded by scissors and people who are either cutting hair or getting their hair cut, Franky is shocked when she’s told that she’ll be getting a haircut. And by shocked, I mean sobbing. Awwwww. Don’t cry, honey. Because - seriously, honey - you look really, really bad when you cry. She says “I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I’m not cutting my hair. I’d rather be sent home”. After a brief period of wanting her Mummy, she relents and agrees to stay. And cries a bit more. Mikarla, disgusted with her reaction, says “Y’know, it’s not like they’re gonna do a Michael Jackson on her and turn her friggin’ skin white”. Lines are now open for callers who want to ring and explain to me how that has a single goddamn thing to do with getting a haircut. Just call 1-800-RACIST and leave a message after the jungle drums. Eventually Franky ends up with a short, chemically straightened Rihanna-style cut, and looks a little bit like a fella-ella-ella. Eh. Eh.
~Madison’s Rhapsody In Static is somewhat tamed, but I’m still desperately disappointed. I was expecting hacksaws, quadratic equations and a posse of torch-wielding villagers, and all I got was a set of hair-straighteners and some truly tacky highlights. SHAVE IT ALL OFF, YOU HEARTLESS BASTARDS. Still, while she has foils in her hair she does look a little bit like a crazy hobo in space, so, y’know – not a complete washout.
~Eloise is thrown a handful of extensions, and my care factor can be accessed by submarine.
~Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs Hoogenband doesn’t have much of a change – just a blow dry and some highlights. Marginally different to the Tooheys Dry and Alpine Lights that she’s used to, but pretty.
~Georgie’s hair is just a bit shorter and darker, and George Pease claims that she’s “blending into the grey malaise of this competition”. He then high-fives himself and goes back to reading Coleridge.
~Clare’s hair doesn’t change much either, and is still perfectly capable of supporting a tiara.
~Lola’s hair doesn’t get any shorter, longer, or more or less colourful. I think her chin is growing, though.
-Back at the Module Mansion, George Pease (who has clearly come straight from a duck-hunt) is waiting for the scrags with Nigel Stanislaus, otherwise known as the Cutest Man In The Universe. He’s the kind of guy who would put a Band-Aid on a knee you scraped whilst roller-skating, and he’d sing Olivia Newton-John songs while he was doing it, and the Band-Aid would have pictures of baby unicorns on it, and he’d pinch your cheek and wink before sending you on your way through a field heavy with daisies and butterflies. Nigel is there to introduce today’s lesson, which involves each module putting make-up on another module. Mikarla and Georgie cheat by putting on their own make-up, the police are called, and a court date is organized for next week. Now, I know an extended treatise on the many different ways (two) that blush can be applied should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by balsa. Happily, Nigel ends the scene by announcing “I hope you’ve been listening, and remember everything I say because the next thing I have for you is Sarah Mail”. He adds “I am disrespectful to dirt! Can you see that I am serious?”, and I decide that I want Nigel as a talking keyring.
- The Sarah Mail contains a DVD of a commercial for Maybelline New York, which the scrags are to use as inspiration for a challenge – they’re to be filmed for a faux commercial for ‘New Colossal Volume Express Mascara’, which now contains collagen and loads of adjectives. The girls have to come up with one line to say during filming, and once a line has been used by one person, it cannot be used by any others. While Tim Winton scribbles this plotline down for submission to the Miles Franklin Award board, the scrags busy themselves thinking of things to say about mascara. Showing the diabolical cunning of a river fluke, Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs Hoogenband decides to tell all the other modules what her line will be. It’s… wait, I’ll just get a calculator and a dictionary…carry the one… “Not one times, not two times volume, not four times volume, but nine times the volume with new collagen”. Lola (who I would reserve space for in my heart if there was room for her jaw) impersonates Cassi by drawling “So none of youse can steal it, a-kay? Cause I’ve said it”. It’s like a verbal contract, see, but with crooked teeth and a smoker’s cough.
- I’ll be summarising the Maybelline challenge in two parts.
Part One, In Which Borderline-Interesting Things Happen
- The director’s name is Michael Joy. He has used up all his joy in his surname. He is as interesting and lively as tinea.
- The scrags have to apply mascara, get out of a car, and say their line. This is easier than breathing.
- Georgie develops an American accent sometime between morning tea and lunchtime.
Part Two, Which Needs To Be Liquified, Blended With Ice, And Served To Me In A Martini Glass Every Night At Eight
- Lola, who appears to have been riveted into her yellow dress, thinks it would be funny if she stole Cassi’s line. Lola is completely and utterly correct. If I was gay and not afraid of teethmarks, I would propose marriage to Lola at this point. Then she whispers “Sssccchhhhabotage!” to the camera, and I even consider ignoring the ‘if I was gay’ part.
- Lola KICKS EVERLOVIN’ ARSE in her commercial shoot.
- Cassi rocks up to do her shoot, and George Pease tells her that she can’t use her line because it’s already been done. To say that her face falls is like saying that the Hindenburg caught on fire – it’s essentially true, but it doesn’t quite capture the desperate tragedy and potential loss of life. Cassi says “I didn’t say it out loud, but I know Lola take it”. I kind of want to give her a hug, but my abject terror and respect for the English language prevents me.
- After her shoot (which is, for the sake of the story, fifteen crap-flavoured different kinds of crap), Cassi storms back to where the other girls are standing and starts in with the shouting and arm-waving. She spits “All you are is a mole! Bitch! Skank!” which is awesome, because it’s multiple choice fury. It’s virtually impossible for me to describe the rage. It is tangible. It is frothy. It is, as described by Madison, “like, major angerness”.
- Cassi stomps towards the lift and gets in, followed briskly by a cameraman. Still fuming and wobbly-voiced, she blurts “She fucking stole my line”, and then, with a wind-up that would make Popeye proud, she waves her fist and BAM!! Punches the wall in the lift. The cameraman slowly moves to protect his groin with his free hand, and I have tears of joy in my eyes. Punches. The wall. Punches it.
- Later, much calmer, Cassi admits to camera that “I do acknowledge that I’ve gotta stop hitting things”. Evolution nods and smiles.
- Lola wins the challenge. Cassi goes purple with fury. Undertakers take one look at Lola’s jaw and order more cedar for her coffin.
· The morning after the best thing in the world (see above), a Sarah Mail drags the scrags out of bed and to Swain Gardens, where George Pease (who has borrowed some sunglasses from a much, much larger man) and photographer Bec Parsons are waiting. They explain that today’s shoot will involve minimal make-up and natural light, and George claims that beauty is a pre-requisite. For modelling. He’s gone nutty, I say. The scrags all dress up as hot hippies, and I summarise the shoot for you below, even though I barely care about anything since Cassie punched a wall.
o Mikarla’s eyes water like crazy, and I worry about how much moisture she can lose before her visible skeleton turns to dust. She says “sorry” just often enough to make me scream “shut up shut up SHUT UP!” at the screen. Then she says it about fifteen more times.
o Georgie discovers that wingnut + headband = atomic wingnut.
o Eloise looks gorgeous enough that the editors put her in slow motion while her hair blows in the wind. The cheese in my fridge considers this to be a copyright infringement.
o Tahnee, Adele and Clare are all gorgeous. I discover quite quickly that I have nothing funny to say about that.
o Lola, in a black headband and sparkly flower, is asked for more softness in her mouth. She cracks her jaw, and sticks her hands in her mouth and moves them around, no doubt looking for where she left her car keys. Or quite possibly her car. George Pease says “watch your mouth”. We are, George. We are.
o Bec Parsons asks Madison to relax her eyes and eyebrows. What she means to say is “Try to look less like Chucky”.
o Laura is the angriest-looking hippie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen thousands.
o Franky is a’ight. Bec and George Pease keep telling her to try to find her softness. They are talking to a muscular black woman with a man’s haircut. I’m just saying.
o Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs Hoogenband is ridiculously, unexpectedly, I-need-oxygen gorgeous. It’s really quite, quite remarkable that she can go from Chiko Roll to Bollinger with such breakneck speed. I suppose this means that she might stick around for a while. I hope the house is insured. Bec says she reminds her of Kate Moss, presumably because they’ve both got fucked-up teeth.
- Right. So apparently everyone thinks Franky is a bit of a backstabbing beeyotch, and tell her so, while the pot sends steamy text messages to the kettle. Things escalate, people shout and swear, and Mikarla grabs Franky’s name (oh, yeah – everyone has drawn their name, mostly with lovehearts, stars and glitter, on a piece of paper and blu-tacked it to the wall, just like adults with jobs don’t) and throws it into the cavernous atrium. Oh, come on. Bitches accusing other bitches of being bitches is like telling Diane Arbus she should try photographing freaks, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like calling Triple M and suggesting that they play some Green Day.
- The modules are corralled into the Elimination Barn to meet Saint Sarah, who only just arrives in time after a long afternoon of selling bracelets for the Bindi Irwin Orphanage Fund, whose slogan is "We're Halfway There!". Sarah races through the prizes, which I think this year include a bottle of glitter nailpolish and a house-brick, and introduces the judges – Charlotte “I Bedazzled My Frock All By Myself” Dawson, Shiny Alex Perry (who, sticking with the cowboy theme, is dressed today as Big Sunglasses On The Prairie), Nigel Stanislaus (dressed as a terrorist in desperate need of a good cheek-pinching) and Bec Parsons. Photos are browsed through, with the usual smattering of moments:
~Mikarla apologises again. If only regret was made of carbohydrate.
~When comparing Clare to Cate Blanchett in Lord Of The Rings, Shiny Alex and Charlotte have a discussion about elves. Totally what happens in the real fashion industry.
~Cassi cries when Charlotte tells her she can’t let her emotions get to her. Ironic! Charlotte then says she gushes every week when she sees Cassi’s photograph, and mental images nationwide turn the corners of their mouths down with mild distaste.
~Nigel tells Eloise that “If I looked like that I would be working it every day walking down the street getting everything for free”. Of course, in Nigel’s world, the streets are made from spun sugar and lollipops, the horses talk and the flowers say “Good morning!”.
~Nigel thinks Lola is a diamond. Charlotte thinks she’s a lump of coal. According to Ferris Bueller, Lola just needs to spend two weeks up Cameron’s arse and her problem is solved. Sorry. My favourite line in that whole movie, except for “Never had one lesson!”. But this isn’t really about me. Which is kind of annoying.
~Shiny Alex says “Some girls have gone fabulous, some girls are getting a bit scary and testing my botox”. It's either them or the guinea pigs, Shiny Alex.
- Names are called out one by one until Wingnut Georgie and Transparent Mikarla are left. Georgie is told that she’s a beautiful girl, but her potential isn’t materialising. Mikarla is told that she’s unable to conquer her environment (hardly surprising for someone who struggles to make footprints in sand). Six and a half months pass, and Georgie is out on her ear. Bye, Georgie! Mind you’re not all gorgeous but otherwise unremarkable on your way out!
- Wow. Madison totally shouldn’t cry either. That’s some scary, disturbing shit.
Next week, the modules subject themselves to the scrutiny of boofheads whilst trying to keep their tiny dresses on, wig up for a commercial shoot and prepare themselves for a very interesting elimination. Frocks. Locks. Shocks.
Did you know that there’s a magical place where things smell amazing, where everyone feels all connected and special, and where not only can I talk even more about the modules, but you can too? What is this Bacchanalian paradise, you ask? It’s the Impulse facebook page. Become a fan. Leave your opinion in a discussion. All your friends are doing it. Well, all of mine are.
Also, get yo’ bad selves over to Bland Canyon for Petstarr’s take on matters. Girl could caption pictures for her country.