A Cruel Perfumed World of Amazon Women: Auditions for America's Next Top Model
Perfecting the vapid mannequin look
Photos by Katya Horner
On Saturday morning women of all races, creeds, and subcultures converged on the Hilton Post Oak near the Galleria to take their crack at professional modeling. The producers and talent scouts for the Tyra Banks-helmed America's Next Top Model were in town for the day to hold auditions in a section of the hotel. The weekly eating disorder commercial is currently casting for the next cycle of the ANTM, and for this season they were only looking for chicks over five-foot seven, and, like, you know, hot ones.
Hair Balls showed up on Saturday morning at the hotel and was immediately thrust into some sort of cruel perfumed world of Amazon women who were all slightly taller than him, albeit enhanced with help from Manolo Blahnik. Everywhere we looked there were four-inch strappy heels topped with all manner of stretch denim and copious amounts of beauty product gooped on like so much spackle on Flip This House. We were in a den of lionesses who wanted only one thing but to be this country's next top model and no quarter would be given or spared.
The prevailing style choice this year was the wife-beater t-shirt and jacked to the heavens hair, not unlike that of former Chris Brown sparring partner Rhianna. This look was worn by most all the black girls, who seemed to ooze "fierce" from every pore of their bodies, intimidating the other sisters and most hilariously, the docile white girls. The fashion sense of the other gals ranged from suburban glam, modern Texas debutante, to some virulent strain of Montrose hipster chic, scented with Camels and spilled cranberry vodka.
If there is one thing that Hair Balls has learned from the cast of girlfriends he has had, other than shame and humility, is that girls dress up for each other and not so much for the boys. Well, unless they are trying to stress a crucial point or acquire something.
Saturday morning was an expert example of the former, as we saw things inside the Hilton Post Oak we have only seen at sushi bars and dance floors for various birthday parties. The most opulent purses were on display, the likes and varieties of which we will never understand and hopefully never see on our future joint-checking accounts.
As we looked over every female we saw who was in contention we started thinking about what exactly it was that the producers may be looking for. There is a definitive look that comes and goes with each fashion season. To laypeople it may seem frivolous but it helps sell couture to those so inclined to buy and tickles the fancy of those others who call the proverbial fashion shots. To us it always seemed that it was the daring girl with the most malleable look that wins the top prize on these shows, not the most attractive or stunning one with the most classic look or easily seen physical assets.
We met a man on an elevator who had flown in town with his daughter all the way from Miami to make the audition here in Houston. He spoke with a vaguely European accent and sported what looked to be an epic mane that was pulled back into a ponytail. His daughter was a South Florida print model veteran who was trying her hand now at couture and glam work. This was her second audition, the first one being the one held back in Miami on their home turf.
Daddy's little paycheck...er...princess
Dad summons his daughter and she appears instantly tanned and lithe, with a blue tee and a pair of fashion-y acid washed jeans embracing her tiny figure. She begins posing for us before we even have a chance to aim camera one in her direction. Wild and errant strands of blonde hair seem to fall from every inch of her scalp, and remind us vaguely of David Lee Roth's own coif, circa-Diver Down, but in a totally attractively feminine way. At the ripe old age of 21, she seems to be a seasoned pro and aims glances and stares at the Canon like it's their honeymoon night.
The public won't know whether or not any of Houston's daughters have gotten the call to the big show until next spring when the show finally airs on the CW network. No doubt by then one lucky female Houstonian will have been bitched out or praised by Ms. Banks herself in front of millions of viewers.
One thing we know for sure is that this town doesn't have a shortage of attractive girls, top model or not. We always knew it before Saturday morning but having seen about a thousand of them over the span of three hours was hard on our neck, with our natural male predilections being tested, oh, about every fifteen seconds.
For more pictures from the auditions, check out our slideshow.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.