Tyra sits down with Kayla, who can barely croak out that her bully word is "queer." She is very emotional, and starts to cry. Kayla tells Tyra that she came out in tenth grade and was bullied so much that she had to leave her school and go to a new one. I have to pause for a moment and note that Kayla is wearing the most waterproof mascara of all time. It's truly amazing. This meaningful emotional moment has been brought to you probably not by Cover Girl. But back to the real story. Kayla is scared to see the word "queer" written on her body, because she knows how much it's hurt her, and she doesn't want to break down in the photo shoot. But queer can be such a positive word! Name it and reclaim it. This has been one to grow on. As Kayla contemplates her impending breakdown, and Tyra vigorously hopes for it, we head to commercials.
When we return, Kayla explains that she picked "queer" as her bullying word, because she knows how much it hurt her. She tells Tyra that her power word is "free." Kayla tearfully explains that she's excited to see that word written on her body. Tyra says that she's taking the power back and recites the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Except that this challenge is all about how words hurt you! And how other words make you feel better! I mean, not that you'd expect the internal logic on this show to be consistent for a change. Kayla says that talking to Tyra eased her mind, because Tyra is a "motherly-type loving person." Either Kayla is painfully naïve, or stone cold calculating.
Kendal is photographed next. Her bully word is "lanky," which I always use as a compliment, and her power word is "fierce," which has nothing to do with lankiness. This photo shoot is dumb. Jane is next, with perhaps the best bully/power word combo of all. Her bully word is "big face." Her power word is -- wait for it -- "big square head." And she's the Ivy Leaguer! Jane says that she's trying to prove that she can make a big square head awesome. Good lord. Terra walks on set and says she's feeling nervous. As noted before, her bully word is the inscrutable "soup cooler" and her power words are "luscious lips." And I have to thank reader Beth who emailed me to say that her husband noticed a TYPO on Terra's fucking BODY PAINT! Seriously, show! Terra is apparently reclaiming her power by invoking bullying activist Luscious Lips, who carried a thermos of room-temperature soup wherever he went. It was the lukewarm soup of justice and understanding.P>Awesomely, none of the 42 people on set can spell either. In fairness, perhaps they are too thrown off by Terra's utterly terrible performance to notice. Deborah Anderson diplomatically says that Terra was "a little intimidated by the moment." In fact she's shaking and looks like she's about to cry. And then she does cry. She interviews that the competition is a lot harder than she thought it was, and in fact is overwhelming. Deborah tries to direct her, and Terra breaks down further. Chris interviews that Terra had a complete meltdown, and is frustrated by the fact that her sister is the first to cry and will probably go home. Terra goes backstage and tries to instill fear in the other girls so they will maybe do worse. She says that they're about to get a look at how hard it is out there, and that as soon as you get out there it's completely different. She knows that she's in danger at panel, and says that she's not going to make excuses, but rather try to learn from this really bad experience.
Liz is next, and while her bully word is "mutt," her power word is "biracial beauty." See, that's a good one. We don't see much of her, but what we do see is relentlessly gorgeous, per usual. Sara is next. Her bully word is "manly" and her power word is "athletic." She touches herself all over, so her body paint gets very, very smeary. Deborah tells Sara that she has a very safe face that she keeps going to, and should try to take it to the next level. Then there's Ann, with her giant/Amazon word motif. The length and miniscule girth of Ann's torso are really something else. Ann would really like to go a day without people asking her how tall she is. She should just get a t-shirt made that says, "6'2."