Tyra says that it hit her after "graduating" from "Harvard" that she just had to do a college cycle. So she searched high and low, east and west, from the Ivy League to big old state universities to community colleges to beauty schools. So really this is technically a "postsecondary" cycle. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Tyra found the "freshest faces" from across the USA, who are also, somewhat mysteriously, on the older side. Have you ever seen so many 23-year-old college students? Why would they not target traditional freshmen? Sigh.
With that, we are in some sort of random campus-esque scene. Except I don't actually think it's on a campus. There is a big brick structure that looks like it was the childhood home of Hansel and Gretel, though, so that's something. Is that what the Ivy League looks like? Like you're about to get eaten by a sketchy crone? Though actually, metaphorically, that's exactly what's about to happen! The symbolism on this show runs deeper than I have properly acknowledged. There's a big party going on, and our 30 finalists enter wearing t-shirts from their respective colleges or trade schools. We briefly meet Leila, 20, who is from the University of Rhode Island, and thus I feel I must root for her. Little Rhody represent! She actually seems like a delight, so hopefully I won't have to turn on her as I did one Brown alumnus Miss Yaya DaCosta Johnson, also known as Fucking Yaya. Respeito where respeito is due, though -- she seems to be doing just fine. We then meet Tyra's sentimental favorite, Maria, who is 22 and a master's student in archaeology of religion at Harvard. Such a schmancy sounding field! Maria thinks that the college edition of Top Model is great, because it shows people that all models are not dumb-asses. Well, I'm glad she's found her cause. Then there's Kiara, who is a 22-year-old student and basketball player from the University of California at Irvine. She got a full scholarship to go to college, which was needed since she had no money. And yet, modeling is her dream. She is really stunning, I must say.
Oh Lord, and then there's Victoria. She is 18, and as she puts it, "I do Liberty University online." She's clearly getting a fantastic education, doing college like she does. Victoria, who wears an American flag t-shirt and red, white and blue hair bow in her interview footage, notes that her college experience isn't the traditional one. She still lives at home with her mom, who also home schooled her. They are burying the lede here, which is that Liberty University is the fundamentalist Christian college started by Jerry Fucking Falwell. Like, you can probably major in creationism and abortion clinic bomb engineering. Victoria tells us that she doesn't have a lot of friends, which is a HUGE shocker. I suspect she's going to be a living cautionary tale about many things.