Thursday, June 12, 2008

She's Got the Look

This blog entry is for the 11 other people who actually watch TV Land's new ANTM rip-off, She's Got the Look. I have no intention of doing weekly recaps of this show but I had to post about last night's episode (which I'm sure will be replayed many more times this weekend on TV Land.)

Last night's competition had the 10 mature beauties break into groups of two (the pink team and the blue team) for a revealing photoshoot.

As any seasoned viewer (or former viewer) of ANTM knows, before the real competition begins, the model wannabes need to git their hair did. Kim Alexis and company take the ladies to the Warren Tricomi Salon salon and we're not even two minutes into the scene when it becomes apparent that this pricey beauty palace is no place for women with kinky hair.

While the white contestants get tips on how to enhance their image, the viewer is almost immediately informed about what is wrong with ethnic hair by the stylists and modeling agency reps. Sharon, the oldest woman in the competition, is told that her hair (bleached blond and worn in short twists) was "too out there" adding that it was "fried, dyed and twisted." Thank you Captain Obvious. Her hair is immediately dyed dark again and shaved within an inch of her scalp. Apparently, in the modeling world black women are not allowed to have any color but black or dark brown.

The color issue comes up again with Hope's hair. Her reddish hair color is also unacceptable. The horrified stylist commenting "I don't like the color, I don't know what it is or how it got there!" In spite of his protestations, she leaves the salon looking almost exactly the same. Celeste, the ravishing 50 year old is immediately called out for her wavy weave. The solution? To trim it and erase any signs of texture. "

Paula, the butchest contestant of the bunch (who is frequently compared on the Television Without Pity forums to Marvita from last season's ANTM obstensibly because they are both dark skinned with short hair) gets the worst treatment. Her snippy stylist doesn't even attempt anything with her hair. He says that he's just "not feeling the fro-hawk." Okay, I'm not 100% sure he said fro-hawk or faux-hawk but that's besides the point. "This kind of hair can scare a client, they're not going to get it." I'm left at home scratching my head because I've seen that hairstyle on dozens of models included mouth breather Agyness Deyn.

He slicks Paula's hair down with a tin of Dapper Dan pomade and huffs, " I'm not even going to cut it, there's nothing to cut...get some wigs so you're not so one dimensional." His tone is so unnecessarily nasty that I wonder if he was beaten up by popular kids every single day of junior high and high school and maybe that's why he's taking it out on Paula and her hair.

In the next scene we have Paula's mini-confessional in which she shows the first in what will be a series of wounds. She shares, "I feel ugly, my hair is short and damaged and I don't feel confident."

The only one of the black ladies spared the hair critique is Tanya. The agency reps only seem to have a problem with her false eyelashes which were completely undetectable on TV. Do I have to mention that she had some of that "good" hair?

Later, the show's resident bitchy contestant Roxanne gets first pick as the teams are divided into two groups. She chooses Sharon, Karin (the razor boned blonde,) and Paula. Paula lack of self esteem show again. She seems to think that she and the other women were chosen by Roxanne because Roxanne thinks they are less attractive, remarking that Roxanne would do "anything to get on a pedestal to make herself stand out." I'm half heartedly going to agree because Roxanne has a stank attitude.

At this point, I'm starting to get that uncomfortable feeling. The one I get when I think that I've identified the reality producer's special aka "the crazy black woman" in the cast. I sit back and wait to see how it will unfold.

Onto the shoot. It is very obvious that this show has about 1/100th of the budget that ANTM enjoys. The ladies are wrapped in sheer fabric clinging to each other for dear life. The pictures are comical but the pink team manages to pull off the meaningless victory.

Now for the real meat of the episode. Paula is not happy and she says so. "I wasn't happy about that. Everyone can't be blonde and have blue eyes." This is true but it is also worth noting that there was only one blonde on each team of five. But I digress, now is not the time for specifics. It is about Paula's pain. You know when you're cooking something on the stove but you're only half watching it because you're on the phone or your kid is doing something potentially destructive so you take your eyes off of it for a minute and then suddenly you hear that hiss right before everything bubbles over? Paula just hissed. It's pretty obvious that she's never felt comfortable in her skin and now she's mad as hell.
Back at the apartment, the blue team sequester themselves into their bedroom to hash out the their defeat while the winning pink team stand around in the kitchen chiding the blues for being sore losers. When the blues re-emerge, Tanya is in tears and tells everyone that Paula has something on her heart that she needs to share.

This is the cue for everyone at home to grab their popcorn. In the absence so far of a Youtube video of the speech, I've tried my best to dictate what she said (all while wearing a wife beater) to the best of my ability:

I'm gonna tell y'all something...(pacing the kitchen)...let me just calm down, let me just calm down. This hurt very...I...I want to know why you won...Huh? Oh, the pink team wins? WHY?! You can't tell me it's not can't tell me that. This is society! I'm mad, because you have to (Paula pounds fist on counter for emphasis) crush those barriers....because they take what they see...because if it doesn't turn you on right here (grabs crotch)...because if you don't have these (grabs breasts)'s gotta be (touches chest again)...women got to cut themselves (makes slashing motion across chest) to be this? Congratulations because (interrupted by Celeste), you want me to talk?

Celeste interjects that the pink team would have been happy for Paula had her team won. Bahai points out comically that Paula wasn't the one rejected, her entire team was.

Tanya, who has firmly established herself now as the mother hen of the group, add that Paula is being asked to accept her unique beauty and by losing the challenge, her beauty has been rejected.

Paula continues,

Believe in me because I have a story to ain't all about being beautiful. People want to hear what the f*ck you've been through...I've been through some shit...for what? Because I didn't turn you on? Because I got too many muscles? Because I walk hard? Because you're intimidated. [note: I can't properly convey Paula's body language here but yeah, this chick is intimidating like a motherf*cker] Yeah, I'm gonna take it personally.

In her wake Paula leaves contestant Kathy in tears babbling about not being able to take it anymore and wanting to go home. [Side note: if it wasn't for Paula's misdirected outburst, it would have been easy to label Kathy as the show's crazy person. Earlier, she admitted that she canceled Christmas over a bad haircut she received and later in the program she shared with the other contestants that she made her sons sign contracts pledging that they would never love another woman more than her. In short, Kathy you owe Paula big time.]

In spite of her angry take on Sophia's "all my life I've had to fight" speech. I feel for Paula, I really do. And I can relate. It is hard sometimes to feel attractive in a society that traditionally favors only one type of beauty. That said, I still found this whole exchange funny. I mean, I felt a little bad for laughing at someone in pain but I had already had a few glasses of wine and my husband was giving me that look that says "Why the hell are we watching this garbage?" It seems like Paula went on this show to prove something and to get validation which was a mistake. Reality shows aren't in the business of making anyone feel good, they exist to provide cheap entertainment by mocking the ambitions of people foolish enough to appear on them.

So Paula, I'm sorry I chuckled because everything you said was true but maybe next time, you should just start a blog.


AZIZA said...

I want to laugh but at the same time I feel really badly. I don't see what's wrong with black hair at all. I bet if someone had had locks, they would've cut them off. I do see why they'd be interested in redying people's hair. I think as an older model it might be less acceptable to have a hair color that's not "natural". But I guess we can't tell until another season where a white woman has her hair bright blond when she should obviously be a brunette.

QueenK.D.W.-BK86 said...

Someone needs to upload YouTube videos of this show. It's about to be my new television crack. Paula sounds like she has some issues. Social stratifications will funk with people like that.

I love watching makeover shows, and in general the hair section for everyone usually goes "its not defined. it has no shape. lets cut it off,"but I guess this is different because there is a modeling element to it. But its always interesting when they get to a black person because they don't know what to do or bring in special stylists. I support the special stylists movement. With the exception of the black natural hair lady that got the What Not to Wear Paris special episode and some cases on ANTM usually black ladies do not leave with better hair. (really they hooked that lady's fro up on wntw, my entire family sat in amazement and applause that they didnt just give her a ceasaer)

But on the other hand lmao at the Color Purple Reference and description of the crazy lady. What kind of Grinch cancels Christmas?

n.roberts said...

Great post!! My blood was definitely boiling in the beginning as I read how the stylists were 'dealing' with Black hair. Sometimes this racially charged gap is so big it feels like society is never gonna get it! I don't watch the show but I may have to tune in for an episode to see how this all pans out.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for the comments ladies :)

Like I said in the post, it seems this show is on five times per day on TV Land and it's worth catching this episode even if you never watch it again. I really didn't do it justice here.

Shaymer said...

I'm laughing out loud from just reading your summary. I will try to catch a rerun of this show. Ok, now I feel terrible for laughing... I feel a very special sort of empathy for Paula. She has not yet learned how to celebrate her own unique beauty. Of course she probably had limited positive reinforcement of black beauty during her formative years. However, choosing to display your insecurities on a reality show definitely will not help her self esteem.