“Buongiorno Bellisima!” Sophie awesomely pronounces this “beeyungeeonio belissimussum.” Laura hits it on the mark. Sophie says, “That’s not even Chinese!” OK, I can’t help it: That was adorable. Laura theorizes that they’re going to Italy, and drops her head into her hands and sinks into the fear that the show will never end, ever, ever, ever, and it will just be new countries and new photo shoots and Mister Jay passive-aggressively bitching at her like a cut-rate Lucille Bluth for the rest of eternity.
Sophie says Italy would be so fun as Laura continues to tally up which of Dante’s circles of Hell she’s in.
The ladies walk down a hallway that is clearly still in Macau and meet Valentina Serra, who says she’s the fashion editor for Vogue Italia, but is captioned as “Stylist for Vogue Italia,” except for the part where Tyra’s captioners didn’t italicize the title because they are trying to drive me insane through sabotaged typography. Anyway, there seems to be a bit of a dispute as to Ms. Serra’s rank. I’ll go with her version, because heaven knows Tyra does not fact check.
I’m pretty sure Ms. Serra just said we’re in the Sixth Sense Park for today’s photo shoot, which sounds WAY more fun than what’s actually going to happen. “I see long-lasting mascara — and dead people!”
Anyway, it’s still in the hotel. The next photo shoot will be in the Oak conference room as soon as those guys from the plastics convention have finished up their teambuilding PowerPoint.
Jez Smith is also there, and because he is a human with feelings, he asks Laura how she’s feeling. She says she feels like a new person, so Jez Jays it up and tells her she really has to bring her A game.
This is going to be a “spa inspired” shoot. Both models will do a shoot, but only one will be in Vogue Italia. Laura knows this is her chance to make it.
Great balls of fire, this shoot is terrible. They seem to have Sophie in a fake spa in ‘50s underwear. But not the fun kind. The phrase “foundation garments” comes to mind. Jez says Sophie struggled a bit with this one. Wait — a sexy nakedish shoot? Welcome to Laura’s sweet spot! Valentina says that if she had to book one of these girls based on the shoot today, she thinks she would book Laura. That is one carefully worded sentence, Valentina. Jez says Laura really shone, and we cut to a sad shot of Sophie watching something from around a corner that is designed to make us think she’s hearing all this praise for her rival. Jez seems genuinely excited about Laura’s abilities.
Oh, criminy, Jay is back, and he’s making Laura do her commercial shoot right now. It’s great that she gets to make it up and all, but Jeez. Give the woman some personal space.
Laura is happy that she gets a second chance. She too does well with her lines. Jay says he now believes she can push through anything and she can be in this business. Hurrah! Then he asks Laura to explain what happened yesterday and why her eyes had salt water coming out of them.
“Time to show the world the REAL you!” Bold words from a woman who gave everyone a rigid fictional persona to stick to. We cut for the second time to a picture of Tyra biting her lower lip while flashing some sort of hand signal in front of the American flag that’s wrapped around her chest. Fine. Anyway, the ladies know it’s time for catwalk.
The ladies sillywalk their practice catwalks a bit as Laura reminds us that they will be walking for – blech – Forever 21.
Laura and Sophie keep counting to three and then pretending to chest-bump each other, and then we see them sprawled out on the bed chatting like besties. It’s too bad they can’t tie.
Tyra arrives! Sophie is glad that Tyra will see the real them, and Laura is glad to see someone who can really relate to them. Tyra does a medium-OK job of trying to seem concerned about Laura’s panic attack, but immediately turns it into an interview about the monumental significance of her show: “Do you think it had anything to do with the pressure and the final two, and what that means?” Laura, no dummy, says it did.
Tyra says that a lot of times when people act wild, they’re covering pain. Which would be a pretty good insight if Laura hadn’t been openly stating that all cycle. Tyra notes that Laura had to be her parents’ caregiver at a young age, and gives her credit for being so strong. Hugs!
Laura says of their encounter, “She wasn’t just a judge — she was Tyra Banks, a person, just like everybody else.” That is demonstrably not true, but I’m going to assume that Laura was a) moved by being understood and praised and b) has made some shrewd guesses about the sort of things Tyra would like to hear said about her on the air.
Now it’s time for Tyra to try to make Sophie cry! Sophie says she had lots of things to say to Tyra, but froze with nervousness when she actually got there. Tyra asks her, “What do you think of being a Brit? The only Brit! This is America’s Next Top Model.” Really? That’s all they can think of to add drama to Sophie’s chances? That they might throw their own show? That’s ridicu – oh.
Sophie says why not, and she can see that it’s not biased. Sophie still hasn’t cried yet, so Tyra probes further. “Sometimes when I give you your photo, I notice that you’re teary. What are you thinking then?” Bingo! Sophie tears up. Tyra puts down the onion she was about to slice and the handful of dust for blowing into Sophie’s eyes. Sophie says she was just full of emotions and feels the pressure. Because if there’s one thing Brits love, it’s talking about their feelings. That and country music.
Tyra tells Sophie that if she was 21, she’d want to be her friend. And then critiques Sophie’s face, because the great models are the ones who aren’t perfect. But goodness, Tyra did seem to have that list of facial flaws right on the tip of her tongue, didn’t she? Tyra pulls it back by saying she loves Sophie’s personality.