After the first hour of the finale, with its double elimination, the second half has finalists Krista and Raina taking a helicopter ride over New Zealand and landing at the Hurakia Lodge on Rakino Island. It's absolutely gorgeous, and champagne and Miss J. await them at their new home, which will also be the site for their Cover Girl commercial and print ad shoot. The girls work on memorizing their scripts, and will be selling the entire Blast collection. Cycle 13 winner Nicole is there to loiter and support them. Raina does a great job on her print ad, but is a bit corny in her commercial line delivery. Though her memorization is good, she has a hard time modeling while delivering her lines and lacks her usual spark. Krista, meanwhile, forgets her lines and has to ask for cue cards. Though this is usually the kiss of death, Krista manages to laugh it off and keep herself and her makeup in tact. Ultimately, she delivers a fine performance. While her photo shoot goes pretty well, the photographer notes that she can be a bit hard and needs to work on finding a good middle ground between severe and smiley.
After a Seventeen cover shoot (photographed by Nigel) and a visit by Raina's dad and Krista's mom and stepdad, it's time for the Anna Sui runway show! It's held at the Auckland Museum, with a "Rock N' Roll Circus" theme. Circus performers and Nicole open the show, and recent bootees Alasia, Jessica, Alexandra and Angelea walk as well. Though Krista's not a naturally playful kind of girl, she looks adorable on the runway. Raina looks like a really smiley linebacker, but manages to pull it off. On the second round, the models walk two at a time and Krista and Raina stomp competently side by side. Tyra talks to each girl backstage, and they both talk about how they were previously insecure but are now very confident and comfortable with themselves. Krista is an inspiration for dark, skinny girls everywhere, while Raina represents for the girls with the giant eyebrows (myself included).
At the final judging, Tyra wears the mother of all jumpsuits, as befits this important occasion. The judges found Krista to be light, airy, peppy and just a little cheesy on the runway, while Raina was fresh, happy, and a bit horsy. Raina's Cover Girl print ad is fresh, beautiful, and feminine, but not particularly exciting. Krista has in-your-face beauty, but forgot to smize. Raina's commercial is squinty and lacks her characteristic charm, personality and smiles, while Krista may have forgotten her lines but looks luminescent.
In the end there can only be one, and it's Krista! Who would have thunk it at the beginning of the season? She cries a lot, and even brings a glistening glint to the eye of ALT. Raina is very gracious about her loss, taking it in stride and without tears. Guess that annoying positive attitude really comes in handy in situations like this.
Previously: Thirteen long, tall girlies came to New York to compete for the chance to become America's Next Top Model. Cycle 14 was filled with thrills -- e.g., vampires -- chills -- e.g. hosed-on colorful perfume in the freezing cold -- and spills -- e.g., one of the greatest moments in top model history, when Alex got bumped off the runway by a giant swinging pendulum. Angelea and Alexandra were eliminated, leaving two girls in the running to become America's Next Top Model.
Will it be Krista, the girl who started at the bottom of the pack, but who snuck up on all of us with her awesomeness and has had the best everything for the last month or so? Krista undoubtedly has a fierce walk and dynamic posing skills, however some of the panel think that she's struggled with her face, which lacks expression. Can she bring a Cover Girl quality to her face in time to take the title? Or will it be sunny, athletic Raina, with her fabulous features and piercing wolf-eyed stare? Raina has been amazing the judges through most of the competition, but has struggled to find her "legs" on the runway and garnered comparisons to a linebacker. Also, she's a huge dork. Can she prove her versatility in time? Let's find out!
Raina and Krista board their bus after panel and celebrate being in the top two. Raina is so proud of herself, and says that her confidence and strong personality have gotten her to the finals. She never thought she would get this far, and to express her surprise exclaims, "Holy schnike!" Krista lies that she was also surprised her name was called. Total BS, but I do appreciate her efforts to remain humble. Krista tells us that she's now more focused than ever. She struggled at the beginning of the competition, and it's exciting for the judges to see her progress. She wants it, and is determined to beat out Raina's Mylanta-loving ass.
Back at the house, the girls speculate on their doubtlessly upcoming Cover Girl commercial. Raina confessionalizes that she's wanted to be America's Next Top Model forever. Her competitive spirit has come from volleyball, she says, noting that she played three years of college volleyball but has put that aside to pursue modeling, which is her passion. Krista says that she's wanted to be America's Next Top Model since 2003, when she was 18 and saw the first show. Krista reminds us that she's tried out for this show around five times. I thought it was, like, twelve? Well, in any case, a bunch of times, and occasionally in terrible wigs. She says that she inherited her fighting spirit from her mom, who was single and raising three girls. Krista knows this is her one and only chance, and she's prepared to take advantage of it because there's nothing else she wants to do. I hope she finds something quick, because even as the winner she has about six months of viable modeling time.