“America’s Next Top Model” Recap (18.12): The Finale


Sophie’s commercial shoot!

Sophie actually reads her lines very well, sounding like she’s making real sentences that she understands and without stumbling or throwing up, which makes her about seventeen cuts above the usual Top Model contestant at this point. Jay, instead of praising her, tells her not to let her chin go back. Nice. Jay gives her more direction, this time imitating her accent. Oh, Jay. 

Sophie says “I’ve made it to the top two before, and I failed, and I know how crap that feels.” When Sophie lets her hair down, it’s sort of like having Tinkerbell flop down next to you and do a stiff shot of bourbon. She doesn’t want to come in second again. She also says the “Easy, breezy, beautiful” part perfectly well. Generations of past ANTM contestants, still covered in mascara and flop sweat, stand in awe. 

Laura’s print shoot!

Jay tells Laura that she’ll always be talking to the camera, except for when she won’t be, but they’ll get to that later. Jesus, I might be on Team Firing in his case. He also directs Laura that she doesn’t have to be sweet and girly, which sounds like the exact opposite of every thing anyone has ever said about the Cover Girl shoots at judging panel. Then he tells Laura to be herself, which is not what Tyra or anyone on the panel wants at all. They want her to be the branded creation they have decreed for her. Jay Manuel is not a human being. He is a vindictive chaos monster. 

Jay tells Laura that it’s all about lipstick, and that he’s seeing a clenched moment, and it’s really not flattering. Seriously: I have had photographers at the Department of Motor Vehicles who gave more useful advice. Jay says cover girls are edgy now, which is a baldfaced lie. Then he does his horrible nitface thing where he gossips to the camera about how Laura was self-conscious during the shoot. Gosh, I wonder if I had anything to do with someone on set telling her what she was doing was “really not flattering” instead of giving constructive direction. 

Laura interviews she told herself to pull it together. Jay deliberately tries to make her nervous by saying that this will be an ad in a national magazine, then says that he’ll keep her there even if it takes 500 frames to get the shot. Seriously: Has he really managed to learn nothing about human nature his entire life, or is he just a dicksack? 

Laura interviews that she was starting to feel the stress get to her. Jez, an actual professional, tries a better tactic to get Laura to relax by mentioning in a nonjudgmental voice that it’s still just taking photos. Too late! Laura is shaking and sweating and feels sick. She’s embarrassed that this is happening during a shoot and wants to work through it. Jay shuts the hell up for ten seconds. Laura pulls it out and goes to change for her commercial shoot. Jez praises her for stepping up. 

We see Laura walk across the – oh, dear – hard stone plaza, looking really worse for the wear. Jez says he was really worried. 

Then we cut to Laura in a new dress, genuinely trembling and hyperventilating. She interviews (SPOILER: She’s alive!) that it was scary, because she didn’t know what was going on and her chest was tightening. Well, yeah. That does sound a little alarming. Jay finally calls for a medic when Laura is shaking severely and can’t speak. Jay says “We had to send her to the hospital – there was nothing else we could do,” as though he thinks everyone in the viewing audience is yelling “Why didn’t you make her do her lines anyway and berate her while shooting her on the ground?!” 

Maybe Jay’s next reality show is the one where he slowly learns how people work. Commercials! 

Medical van!

Laura interviews that she was shaking and her vision was blurring, but she really needed to finish that commercial. Jay tells Sophie that Laura is in the hospital, so she declares herself winner and queen and spikes his severed head on the ground. OK, no, she just looks concerned. And then she moves into position, because of course Jay tells her three seconds before her print shoot starts. (“Week Four: Dr. Drew explains to Jay that real people have emotions.”) 

Sophie says she’s worried for Laura, but has to be strong. Sophie gives a fun range of expressions and eye positions and says she’s the underdog because no one thinks the Brit can win. Jay says it’s sad, because he doesn’t think they can shoot any more of Laura today and he doesn’t know if they’ll be able to get a commercial. And maybe when he watches this back, it will occur to him that it might have looked nice if he had said it was sad that Laura was in pain and in the hospital. 

Modelland East!

Laura comes back looking seriously sad and drained and immediately calls her mom. She says she had a panic attack, which sounds to me like that required some tricky medical translating. Laura interviews that it probably happened because she pushes things down instead of dealing with them, and separately interviews that she can just push through this. Uh-oh. 

Laura’s mom says she had one once too, and knows how scared Laura must have been. Laura tries not to cry in front of her mom. She tells Mom she’s going to get some sleep and then go back to kicking ass. 

Aww. Sophie comes home and gives Laura a big hug. She interviews that Laura’s her friend, and can sympathize because of how frightened she was during their tall tower shoot. Laura loses it a little bit and Sophie is sweet to her, hugging her and half-jokingly asking, “What have they done to you?” 

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