At a CoverGirl commercial shoot, most of the girls struggle with the Italian script, but Lauren barely tries at all

By Mandi Bierly
April 24, 2008 at 11:44 PM EDT
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The dreaded foreign-language-CoverGirl-commercial episode: We all fear it. Or, at least I do. I don’t like to see people set up to fail (by having to learn an Italian script while sitting in hair and makeup) — especially when they probably would’ve failed anyway had the producers just let them speak English. (Lauren, I’m looking at you.)

So the final six bellas standing on America’s Next Top Model arrived in Rome, and were treated to a tour of the city. Beautiful, beautiful, wish you were here. (Yes, I just quoted French Kiss. I like that movie. Sue me.) After Anya took her spill stepping out of the van at the Coliseum — that had to hurt more than she let on, right? — the ladies got their first Tyra Mail, which featured Tyra as the Mona Lisa. (I’d have thrown down to get to keep that as a souvenir. You?) She instructed them to make themselves at home in their new quarters, which was easy since it had an indoor pool and a relaxing courtyard. (I’d also throw down to vacation there.)

This is the point in my notes when I wrote ”Katarzyna speaks!” and ”Katarzyna speaks again!” Apparently, what she said wasn’t important enough for me to note, but it’s nice to see her be a part of the show.

Every season someone gets sick and has to power through a shoot, and this cycle it was Fatima. Her throat hurt and her body ached, but at least that pink-sheeted bed she crashed on looked hella comfortable. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: Anya is the only one who actually wants to play fair. How sweet was it when she took Fatima food? Granted, we all know Fatima was in no mood to eat…but still! Anya isn’t interested in cutting other people down to make herself feel better or more deserving. (Cough, Dominique.) And unlike Lauren, who rudely woke up the girls by stomping around the bedroom and throwing suitcases (WTF?) long before anyone needed to be up, Anya was actually thoughtful enough to wake Lauren’s punk ass up when they needed to leave the house in a half hour and she was still snoring. Anya has my vote, even if the first thing she thinks of when she hears the word rolling is a river. (Did she think someone said ”rowing”?)

This week’s challenge involved riding around Rome on a Segway and learning how models — who were pretending to be normal, everyday Italian women hanging out and eating ice cream — dress. Basically, it’s sexy on the cleavage, conservative everywhere else. Kind of like a walking Madonna-whore complex. I didn’t quite grasp the rules of the competition: It was supposed to test their ability to adapt to Italian style, but weren’t all the clothes the girls had to choose from by designer Gai Mattiolo? Therefore it wasn’t like they themselves actually had to put together an Italian look. So I guess it just came down to their walks, which Mr. Mattiolo judged: Fatima was ”elegant.” Dominique was ”very natural” but ”doesn’t look fresh.” (Is that Italian-speaking-English for ”not young?”) Katarzyna was a ”very beautiful woman.” Anya was ”so blond, so skinny, so young, so fresh.” (I guess I was right on my translation.) Whitney was ”so American” with her ”great, beautiful face.” And Lauren, well, the nicest thing he could come up with for her was, ”You are the tallest…with very beautiful legs.” Ha. Much to Whitney’s annoyance, Anya won the prize (again), which was a gown to wear on a red carpet that she will never step a stiletto on.

NEXT: Lauren’s ”hell to the no!” moment

With that out of the way, it was time for the main attraction: The CoverGirl commercial shoot for some lipstick that I’m not going to mention because we already heard it a million times. Lauren said she would suck, and the girl was right. I say that as someone who totally feels her pain. I had two lines to voice in the makeover episode of EW.com’s America’s Next Top Dollvideo series — that’s right, I was BJ — but I was so nervous (and, what’s the word, awful) that they cut one of them. I can’t imagine trying to film a commercial, let alone one in a language that I ”learned” five minutes ago, but then, I’m not trying to be a model. I agree with Tyra (did I just write that?), who later told Lauren, ”If you wanna be a model, you gotta know how to be corny sometimes.” (I also, incidentally, agree with Miss J, who held up a sign that read, ”Hell to the no!”) It was time for her to go. Lauren never looked like she was having fun. I don’t believe that wanting to ”challenge myself” was a good enough reason to go on a show that we all like to pretend is a stepping stone to an actual career. And, as Tyra said, ”America’s Next Top Model has to talk.” Bye, bye, bye. (I hope that my quoting an ‘N Sync song offended those punk sensibilities that we had to hear about for weeks.)

Okay, I need to play nice…which is why I’m just skipping past Tyra singing and using an Italian accent at panel. Grrr argh. But speaking of Italian accents, Fatima did a good one, apparently, in her CoverGirl commercial. The director thought she was a ”goddess.” Tyra, eloquent as always, said she felt as though Fatima was ”selling some sexual chocolate or something.” Meanwhile, Paulina gave Fatima the highest praise a model could receive in this episode: ”She managed to walk and talk.”

Katarzyna also earned props for her commercial, from everyone but Tyra, who said, ”I thought your ending was lifeless and boring…. I saw boring sexy.” (Boring sexy is my second favorite Tyraism, after ”Think pain, but beauty.”) I give kudos to Katarzyna for calling Tyra out on the constant mispronunciation of her name. I wish Katarzyna would’ve turned around when Tyra did her little, ”Whatever, darling!” and refused to go back in line until Tyra said it correctly. Maybe next week.

Whitney and those little fake laughs she does in 25-second intervals deserved to be in the bottom two. Did Mr. Jay tell her to stop doing ”bitchirena” (using that!) while she still had a take or two left to correct it, or did he wait until she was done? What does he have to say to get through to her that ”acting” like a model comes off fake? Tyra thought Whitney’s commercial was ”a little over the top,” but actually liked it, which explains why Whitney stayed and Lauren left.

Dominique had the judges in stitches with her ”hoochified” commercial. (Okay, Paulina’s laughter was more of the nervous-she-was-under-attack variety.) But in the end, the panel liked her energy and admired her ability to stay fun and focused even while speaking a language the director thought sounded more Chinese than Italian. Anya’s performance was no better, but at least she looked like a model when she made the director laugh until he was red in the face.

So, who are you rooting for now? Does Anya have this in the bag? Didn’t you think Whitney was gonna be sent packing after they showed her talking about how she’s made it farther than any other plus-size model and how too much energy had to be better than not enough? (And didn’t you love her red coat?) Did you find yourself thinking how horrible it must be to walk a fashion show at the Spanish Steps in five-inch heels? Did you chuckle when Lauren said she wasn’t sure how bad her shoot really went — that maybe she’s just her own worst critic? And how psyched are you to see Tyra behind the camera at next week’s shoot? Always enjoyable.

P.S.: R.I.P. Tyra Ticker!

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel
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