Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Worthy Top Models

As much as I enjoy ragging on the tacky drama-fest that is America's Next Top Model, the fact of the matter is that Tyra Banks' traveling sideshow has, on occasion, produced some really beautiful photos.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that, if seen within the pages of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar, I would actually pause for a moment to admire the captivating beauty of some of these shots.

(Granted, there have been about thirty-seven "cycles" of the show at this point, so there's a little bit of that "monkeys with typewriters" thing going on, but still...)

Here's a taste of the cream of the Top Model crop:

Cycle One: Elyse Sewell

This is just gorgeous. 

Those big, bright eyes, coupled with her milky complexion, made Elyse the perfect candidate for a shot with an albino snake, and she totally delivered. 

The snake is perfectly placed, her spidery lashes are great, and her face is just porcelain perfection

It's really no wonder that she's been consistently working it out in Asia since her turn on the show... She was the real deal.

Cycle Thirteen: Nicole Fox

Nicole was a rare case, in the sense that Tyra actually got it right by selecting her as the winner. 

This photo illustrates that point better than any amount of my blathering ever could: it's beautiful, mysterious, and elegant, much like it's subject.

(Plus, homegirl is jutting those clavicles out like a pro. Gotta love that.)

 Cycle Eight: Renee Alway

Now, credit where it's (begrudgingly) due: Miss Tyra actually shot this photo herself, and it is absolutely mouth-agape gorgeous.

The shadows obscuring the male model's face, the ominous-yet-serene sky, the beautiful arch of her back... 

Perfection in the form of a photograph.

I could sit here for a while and just stare, but there are more photos to cover, so I'll just peel my eyes away and hope that my lashes stay intact.

Cycle Twelve: Allison Harvard

If Nicole Fox's win was a case of Tyra's instincts paying off, then Allison Harvard's second-place finish is concrete proof that those very same instincts enjoy the occasional vacation in the Hamptons...

In other words, this girl? Should have won.

Seen here in another Tyra-directed photoshoot, Allison looks beautiful, feral, and slightly vulnerable while perched inside a giant bird's nest...

Which makes the decision to style her hair as a second "bird's nest" all the more inspired.

A wholly unique, unforgettable photo.

Kudos to Tyra, and kudos to Miss Harvard.

 Cycle Three: Yaya Da Costa

Another case of a tragic second-place finisher, as Yaya is absolutely killing it in this creepy beauty shot.

Now granted, the smoldering makeup and full-bodied weave are pulling a lot of the weight here, but this woman has a face that was simply made for beauty. 

Plus, the spidery positioning of her fingers framing her face is genius.

(It's a real shame that she didn't take the title, but I'm sure her Garnier commercials and plethora of acting gigs cuddle up to her at night to offer their sympathy...)

Now, to end this post on a positive note, the final shot that I'm gonna showcase is one of my favorite photographs ever.

Cycle Two: Yoanna House

... What is there that can even be said about this photo?

Her lips are pouty perfection.

Her cheekbones are the standard by which all others' should be judged.

Her eyes bring the inner "drama-queen" out of emeralds, who throw up their hands and quit.

... I tell you, it's just a shame that Webster's Dictionary doesn't allow photographs in place of written definitions, because this? 

Defines "fierce."

(I may talk an awful lot of shit on the woman, but don't ever let me say that Tyra Banks never did nothin' to my liking... This picture proves that any such declaration would be little more than a bold-faced lie.)

... By the way, Naomi, what have you done for me lately?

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