In this episode of America's Next Top Model
, titled "Beauty is Drama," Liz has trouble dealing with her living situation, and the women hone their acting skills and participate in a frightening photo shoot.
Coura, who was the judges' darling, is feeling insecure after landing squarely in the middle after judges' panel. She dropped out of nursing school to pursue a career in modeling -- a move her family and friends don't support. But all she's wanted since she was a little girl was to become a model.
Just Because You're Paranoid...
This season, while the judges deliberate over who goes and who stays, viewers get a peek at the girls waiting anxiously backstage. During the last panel, Liz and Brendi got into an argument, during which Liz called Brendi a "f***ing brat" and referred to Brendi's family as crazy. We all know Brendi's home life is so bad that she's chosen to live in her car and receives zero support, financial or otherwise, from them. This was a low blow, but Liz has proven to be combative and emotionally-unstable for no particular reason other than she's got some issues of her own. Brendi came close to laying Liz out but left the room before things got physical.
Now Brendi is done with Liz and swears she'll never talk to her again. In another part of the house, Liz admits that she said something she shouldn't have, but it just kind of "slipped out." She feels horrible but not badly enough to really do anything about it. This is fine with Brendi because when it comes to Liz and an apology, Brendi isn't open for business.
After some urging from Christina, Liz does approach Brendi and apologizes. Brendi thinks the best solution is for her and Liz to keep their distance from each other since they aren't "vibing" anymore. Liz tells the camera that she believes Brendi takes pride in being a bitch and that she and a number of the other girls are against her for no good reason.
The girls' next challenge is an acting one (always painful for viewers to endure). They've got lines to memorize, and it's a love scene that takes place in a restaurant.
Stacey McKenzie greets the girls and lectures them on how modeling is just really silent acting. They'll often have to transform into different characters. Stacey hopes they've all rehearsed because Tyra expects them to kill it during their screen tests. On hand to judge the ladies is award-winning TV and film director Anthony Hemingway (Glee, American Crime Story, Empire).
The models also meet their co-star, Kevin Philips. Whoever performs the best will receive a speaking role in one of Anthony's upcoming projects.
Many of the girls stand out, for all of the wrong reasons. One thing Anthony does notice is that Kevin is having an effect on all the women who have some pent-up sexual frustration. That's what living in a house full of chicks -- like a stylish nunnery -- will do to someone. A girl has got to eat, you know?
Anthony gives all the girls props, acknowledging that this wasn't an easy challenge. Khrystyana wins, and Shanice is a bit salty to come in second.
Liz, who received some criticism from Anthony (he suggested she dial her acting down a few notches), melts down back at the house. She was bullied and teased a lot growing up, so much so that she had to switch schools. It's taken her a long time to get past it, and being told her presence can be overwhelming is driving her crazy.
The women get a Tyra mail, and they know they're going to have to put their acting skills to use at the upcoming photo shoot.
Rio and Kyla work with Rhiyan, who is feeling very insecure regarding her acting abilities. But Rhiyan reveals she's got a bigger problem. She thinks she's fat, which, of course, she isn't. She's convinced that the camera would do her so much more justice if she dropped a few pounds.
Rhiyan's father died when she was 15, and following his death, Rhiyan got chubby. She tried to eat her insecurities away, and she's been struggling with weight loss ever since. Rio is heartbroken to hear Rhiyan talk about herself this way and worries that the girl has some body dysmorphic issues.
All this angst is a lot to process, and things just get worse. The following morning, the showers are full, and Liz asks Shanice if she can cut in line, and Shanice refuses. Liz freaks out in the confessional, claiming she's being bullied and attacked for wanting to take a shower. She tells the camera that she doesn't want any of these "sociopaths" to become America's Next Top Model.
Beauty is Pain
The time comes for the photo shoot, which takes place at a big, creepy-looking mansion. Drew explains that twisted horror is at the forefront of pop culture. This trend is the inspiration for the photo shoot. The women are expected to "silently act" during the shoot. The real challenge is finding the balance between looking scared and still being a high fashion model -- scared but fierce. Fashion activist and fashion designer B. Akerlund, who has embraced the theme fully, is tasked with styling the models. Akerlund has worked with Madonna, Beyonce and Katy Perry.
Akerlund welcomes the girls to her world of horror and warns them that none of her looks are comfortable, and they're in for a lot of hurt and pain (drama!). There's lots of corsets and headpieces that look like orthodontic head gear or neck braces for car crash victims. (I'm not a fan.) But we all know that beauty is pain, darlings. This shoot isn't for complainers.
Sandra and Rhiyan fail to deliver. Akerlund describes Rhiyan as beautiful but dead in the eyes. Christina owns the look and the acting. Erin gets an A-plus for juggling all the components of her complicated outfit. Liz tries to channel the troubles she's having in the house into her photos, and it works because Akerlund is a fan, even of Liz's "goofy shots." Coura fails to look scared or fierce and feels defeated.
Liz Kicks Rocks
The fear is real back at the house as the ladies worry about panel. Liz has another tantrum when a group of girls prevent her from getting her beauty sleep. The drama queen sums up the whole thing as "deeply-rooted psychological warfare." Liz packs a bag and heads to a hotel.
Backstage at panel, Liz has a heart-to-heart chat with Tyra. Liz tells Tyra that she's got no problems with the competition; she just can't stand living with some of the other women. Liz believes the house is just toxic and wants to walk away. Tyra gives Liz a hug and sends her on her way to be insane someplace else.
Tyra reveals to the other contestants that Liz has gone home, but just because she's gone, it doesn't mean there won't be an elimination.
Ashley praises Shanice for being raw and real and is confident that people will book her because of that.
Tyra sees potential in Sandra but doesn't think the woman has figured out how to take a good photo.
Drew would publish Khrystyana's photo in Paper in a second, and Law really, really, really thinks she could win the competition.
Rhiyan breaks down in front of the judges because, as we've established, she's a bit of a mess. While they may empathize, they still criticize. Law calls Rhiyan out for overthinking it, and Ashley says it isn't Rhiyan's worst photo, but it isn't her best either.
Rio's photo is so wrong that it's right, according to Tyra.
Ashley is proud of Liberty for owning the look instead of the look owning her.
Jeana -- #NLF (NextLevelFierce)
Tyra is excited by Erin's versatility, and Ashley calls Erin's skin "amazing."
Drew gives Christina credit for nailing every single shot.
Law thinks the photo shoot played to Brendi's personality.
Ashley loves Kyla's photo, and Law says she's the most bookable model in the competition.
Coura sabotages herself by admitting up front that she doesn't think she did well. Law lets her know that it could be the most amazing photo in the world, but they're going to see it differently now that she's hated on herself. And as it happens, all the judges didn't like Coura's "best" shot.
Khrystyana gets best photo. Rhiyan and Coura land in the bottom two, and Rhiyan is eliminated. Rhiyan's fears that she's not good enough are realized, at least as far as being America's Next Top Model goes.
Are you surprised that Liz left the competition? Will the house be less chaotic now that she's gone? Is a modeling competition the best place for someone like Rhiyan? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.