One of my main guilty pleasures in life is to watch Australia’s Next Top Model. I took up the habit because of the recaps in those august blogs of humorous record, Bland Canyon and Jo Jo Blogs. The former also recaps Australian Idol, but the combination of caterwauling on-stage and teenage screaming off-stage is too much for my crusty old ears to cope with.
Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM to fans) has two ingredients vital for entertainment success. First, it has attractive young women. Second, it has constant, unscripted, unintentional hilarity. Oddly enough, I turned up for the latter and stay for the former. Your mileage may vary.
Last season’s ANTM lends me an example of a trend in fashion that I, as a mere male, find utterly puzzling. It’s the current urge to turn beautiful women into ugly women through artful dressing, makeup and props. This strikes me as an extremely expensive way to achieve a simple goal: take an unflattering photograph. All that is really needed in such a situation is an ordinary-looking woman and their mother’s camera. This is the universally-accepted formula for taking photographs which show someone in their worst possible light.
Here’s an example. Take the gorgeous Clare Venema from ANTM’s fifth season. She’s a stunning young lady from Adelaide with what seems like more than a handful of brain cells to rub together, which is a refreshing inversion of the stereotypical model.
So here’s her in a somewhat natural sort of photograph (© Chic Management):
OK, so she’s making a very-serious-face-indeed, but that seems to be her thing. She’s actually about two godzillion times prettier when she smiles, but the fashionistae’s crusade against smiling is another rant again — and have you priced electrons lately? Yikes.
Now! Here’s Ms Venema in a recent photoshoot (© Somebody Who Deserves A Swift Kick In The Junk):
See the difference? It’s night and day. While I admire her professionalism for doing as the photographer has asked, that doesn’t let the photographer off the hook. He or she fell out of the good-taste tree and has mysteriously missed every branch on the way down.