It appears that the word ‘mean’ is the common denominator of this week’s episode of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 1. And it applies to three personalities in the show: “mean-girl Helena”, “mean-Photoshoot coach Daniel” and Trang who’s struggling to know what people “mean” when something is said beyond basic English.
But before that, let’s backtrack a little bit. When Filantropi was eliminated (together with Jee) last week, she left a farewell letter to all the girls with individual messages to everyone. In it, she thanked each one of them, but wrote a note quite nerve-hitting for Helena. It went something close to this: I like your focus, but please don’t be mean to the other girls, especially Melissa. This startled the HK bet to no end as she couldn’t understand why she would be looked at as bitchy. She tried communicating with the others (like Stephanie), but still feels that she is being singled out as the ‘baddest’ model in the house. And she carried on with the perplexed albeit stinging aura all throughout the program. All of this amidst a shuffling of roommates which concerned the ones who didn’t like the new groupings.
The following morning, they were sent to Parco Next Next Department Store where they met up with mentor Joey Mead King and guest stylist/TV host Jeannie Mai (you might remember her as the commentator of the recently-concluded Miss Universe 2012 in Las Vegas). Based on their room assignments in the house, the 9 remaining contenders were divided into 3 groups and given a quick 10-minute challenge where they had to style themselves up based on these key words: Sexy (for Stephanie, Rachel and Melissa), Edgy (for Kate, Jessica and Trang) and Quirky (for Helena, Aastha and Sofia). As expected, they struggled in the very short time alloted. But after some judging, Jeannie picked the Edgy team as winner, with Jessica being the best styled. She won a S$500 shopping money, plus a S$3,500 watch from Georg Jensen.
That night at the models’ quarters in Capella, Melissa had an emotional breakdown of sorts after she spoke about the supposed ‘mean’ qualities of Helena which showed mostly in the latter’s body language and random quips about her not being up to par with the demands of the competition. The other girls gave the Malaysian shoulders to cry on.
The very next day, the ladies hopped aboard a luxury yacht at the Marina on a boat excursion to Nongsa Point Resort in Batam, Indonesia. Waiting for them there are Judge Daniel Boey and guest photographer Chuck Reyes from the Philippines. The theme of the photoshoot was French Riviera as they were dressed and styled like so. Three of them delivered well – Kate, Aastha and Jessica. Another three complied but with minor shortcomings – Helena, Stephanie and Rachel, which left Sofia, Trang and Melissa as the worst.
While coaching the photoshoot, Judge Daniel Boey practically blew his top (again) with Trang who had difficulty understanding the English instructions of Chuck. This scared the frazzled girl as she was already the target of Boey’s ire in the session at the boxing gym. It was confirmed in the judging panel later that she was indeed at a loss with English most of the time. With the help of Jeannie Mai who can speak fluent Vietnamese, she expressed (in said language) that she never understood things and just relied on her instincts/hand gestures to see her through five consecutive elimination challenges.
On with the assessments, the judges picked this week’s winner who happened to be the most improved Kate, with Aastha as runner-up. The next passable competitors were roll-called once again. The bottom two were left – a teary Trang and then a heart-pounding Melissa, who was already convinced that her time was up in the reality contest, and was just waiting for her name to be called as the latest casualty. To her shocked surprise, Trang was named the worst and received her exit orders from host Nadya Hutagalung immediately. To this, Helena was shown with an icy look while raising her eyebrows upon learning that Melissa is still alive. She was never too fond of the ‘short’ co-aspirant whom she feels is ill-fit to become a good fashion model.
In a preview of next week’s ep, Helena’s “meanness” continues to linger, while a very rewarding video challenge awaits the ladies where the winner will be given an all-expense paid trip to New York City.
Only 8 girls remain. Who will be axed next? Watch Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 1 Sunday nights at 8:55pm on Star World.