America's Next Top Model, Cycle 8 Episode 4 "The Girl Who Changes Her Attitude" Recap
Originally aired on Wednesday, 03/21/2007

Episode Rating: *** (3 stars out of 5)

Episode Overview: Renee Alway tries to improve her outlook, but sometimes you can’t teach a young model new tricks.

Episode Highlights:

  • Renee decides to try to be a less caustic member of the ANTM house, but stress at challenges sets her back on the path to positivity. 
  • Jael continues to be a little distracted by her recent personal tragedy.
  • The dynamics shift as some girls step up their game and other start to slip.


More bonding for our modellettes!  Whitney Cunningham and Diana Zalewski continue to develop their friendship, and little Felicia lends some support to Jael Strauss, who had learned on last week’s episode that a friend had died of a drug overdose.

Maybe it’s all the camaraderie that has our Little Miss Malcontent Renee Alway reconsidering how she has handled herself thus far in the game.  In private interview, she admits that she hasn’t been at her best, and that she isn’t going to win the competition by being “bitchy.”  She says she is going to try to change up her attitude.  She starts by offering a Jael a little drawing she made of Jael in a straight jacket.  Um…it’s a half-nice gesture.  Okay, baby steps, you know?  Let’s give the girl some credit for trying.

Next the girls head out to their next challenge, where they meet with Benny Ninja, “father of the House of Ninja,” and he is going to teach the girls all about posing and voguing.  Which is good, because these girls need it.  I love how modeling knowledge is passed down from generation to generation not by women, but by the gay men who study them.  It’s like gay men are the Sherpa of the modeling world, always helping the ladies along to great heights, but rarely getting the accolades or attention.

After the lesson, the girls have a voguing battle, pairing up in a light-hearted head to head competition to out-pose the other.  The girls all seem to do well, and Benny is especially impressed with Whitney and Felicia.

Back at the house, Renee continues to try to make friends, making peace with last week’s enemy, Brittany Hatch.  Diana isn’t quite buying it though, thinking she is just trying to manipulate the other girls. 

Meanwhile, Jael, possibly still distracted by her personal troubles, burns her face with a curling iron, and then laments that she has no hair to cover it.  Jael, honey, you hardly have any hair, period, what were trying to curl?  She is a very very sweet girl, but she seems to need a little supervision until she gets her head back into things.

The next challenge the girls face is to put their voguing abilities to work by posing through a field of lasers.  They must avoid hitting a laser while still working it and being fierce and so on and so forth.  Winner gets a very pricey bracelet.  Renee is determined to win – the bracelet is worth $40,000, which would be enough to get her family out of debt.  Benny Ninja is the judge, and he will decide who ultimately wins the prize.  The girls all do relatively well, with the exception, unfortunately, of Renee, who fails to make it through in the time allotted (yes, she cries).  Whitney is deemed the winner and is thrilled with her bling.

Back at the house, Renee seems to lose sight of her resolution, and disses the other girls while she dissolves in (more) tears on the phone to her husband.  She barks at Felicia to get out when Felicia tries to get her to free up the phone, and spends the evening again isolated from the girls.

It’s time for the photo shoot, and the theme for the shoot is “murder victims.”  Each of the girls is done up in makeup to represent a different kind of foul play. 

Renee is first up to shoot, and she does exceedingly well.  She plans to keep Jay’s positive feedback to herself, but Jay runs out to tell the other girls how good the shoot was.  When he alerts Renee to this, she is jokingly dismayed, saying this will make the girls hate her more.  Jay asks why the girls hate her, and she says plainly, “I’m a bitch!”  And with her frank self-assessment, she switches from being my least to most favorite girl in the house. 

It’s an unfortunate topic for a shoot for Jael due to the recent death of her friend.  Of all the girls, Jay Manuel seems to have the most difficulty with her.  Next in line would like be Felicia, who appears maybe a little too dead, and Dionne Walters, who doesn’t seem to bring a lot of motivation to the shoot.  All in all, though, Jay admits that the rest of the girls were all strong in their shoots and he thinks the judges are going to have a hard time in judging this week.

And, in a way, they do, at least a hard time making any distinctions between all the girls.  Normally, I would call out each one with the judges’ comments, but reviewing my notes for this week, they were almost to a girl the same: “good photo.”

Renee does get some props for her beautiful shot, though Nigel worries she photographs old.  Whitney is also called out for finally looking like a model in her shot.  Dionne is criticized for needing so much direction, and Felicia, for looking too lifeless in her shot.  Nigel worries that she has gotten cocky.  You know what that means, right?  It’s time for an ANTM Smackdown!

After Tyra reads out the girls who are safe (Renee, Natasha Galkina, Brittany, Whitney, Jaslene Gonzalez, Jael, Diana, and Sarah Vonderhaar), Dionne and Felicia find themselves in the bottom two.  In addition to her lack of initiative in the shoot, Dionne is criticized for appearing at judging looking like she is straight from the mall.  By now, the judges think, she should be looking like a model on her way to a go-see.  Felicia is there for the steadily decreasing quality of her photo shoots.

And it’s Felicia who is sent home.  Tyra lets her know she just needs to study up on fashion more, but that she definitely still has a future.  Dionne is safe for another day.

Will Renee’s transformation take firmer hold next week?  Or will she slide back into her admitted bitchiness?  We’ll see!

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Images courtesy CW)