Grey mat­ter a curse for the catty peo­ple

‘ I don’t have a fil­ter be­tween my brain and my mouth. It’s just brain vomit’

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model 7.35pm, Fox 8

PRETTY soon they’re go­ing to have to ditch that Top out of the var­i­ous edi­tions of the Tyra Banks re­al­ity show. The orig­i­nal US show is in its 10th sea­son and we’re up to the fourth of Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model , and the most suc­cess­ful win­ner is Adri­anne Curry, who won the first US sea­son. And she’s only fa­mous be­cause she keeps mak­ing re­al­ity shows about be­ing mar­ried to Peter Brady.

Some con­tes­tants do make a liv­ing as a model, but top model? Let’s just say that Gisele Bund­chen — the world’s high­est- paid model, ac­cord­ing to Forbes — ain’t los­ing sleep.

How­ever, if any of the young hope­fuls who au­di­tion for the show do make it big, I’d wa­ger they will come from the Aus­tralian rather than the US edi­tion. The US edi­tion may have greater ex­po­sure as well as the might of Tyra, but the lo­cal ver­sion has some­thing bet­ter: girls who ac­tu­ally have a shot at modelling.

The min­i­mum age re­quire­ment for the US ver­sion is 18, while to en­ter the Aus­tralian ver­sion, you only have to be 16. US con­tes­tants have been as old as 26, while the old­est lo­cal con­tes­tants in this sea­son are 21. While I have is­sues with peo­ple who go on re­al­ity shows be­fore they’re done with school, in modelling the truth is that, as the TISM song goes ‘‘ if you’re not fa­mous at 14, you’re fin­ished’’, so there’s more cred­i­bil­ity right there.

The show also fo­cuses on train­ing the girls for modelling, in­stead of mak­ing high- con­cept artis­tic pho­tos that may be in­ter­est­ing to watch but reek of run­ning be­fore you can walk in your six- inch stilet­tos.

Which is not to sug­gest that Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model doesn’t de­liver what any good model re­al­ity show needs, and that is wannabes who say dumb things and at least one or two geeky con­tes­tants whose makeover into glam­our pusses pro­vides for max­i­mum con­trast.

This sea­son looks par­tic­u­larly promis­ing. My favourite so far is 17- year- old Belinda Hodge, whose oc­cu­pa­tion, ac­cord­ing to her cap­tion, is ‘‘ a coun­try girl’’. She in­tro­duces her­self: ‘‘ I don’t have a fil­ter be­tween my brain and my mouth. It’s just brain vomit ( pause) bleaughhh.’’ But this isn’t in a ‘‘ you can’t pos­si­bly be of­fended by the mean thing I just said, be­cause I’m just say­ing what I think’’ way, but an en­dear­ingly off- with- thep­ix­ies thing. She al­most ap­pears to be chan­nelling Selina Kyle, Michele Pfeif­fer’s book­ish Cat­woman al­terego in Bat­man Re­turns , al­though she may need to get some claws to deal with her house­mates.

An­other stand­out is 20- year- old univer­sity stu­dent Alexandra Girdwood, who reads Kafka, or at least sleeps with a copy of the book over her head, and thinks it makes her so much smarter than the oth­ers. Which may be true, but given that one of the other girls talks about Win­ston Church- chill, that’s re­ally no rea­son to be smug.

Ker­rie Mur­phy

Clam­our for glam­our: The con­tes­tants in this year’s Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model

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