America's Next Top Model
The Girl Whose Lips Puffed Up

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Camille-y Mouthed

Tyra hates Camille and doesn't care, so she moves immediately on to introduce her very good friend, the acting luminary no one has ever heard of, Tasha Smith-Arqese. You know she knows what she's talking about because she sits on an authoritative stool. And because she's labeled an "actor," a gender-neutral word that points to a hyphenated last name so progressive it's never even heard of the "qu" rule. Tyra wants us to know what we're doing here: "The top models in the world know how to act," she explains, Tasha Smith-Arqese (for I feel she would insist upon being referred to by her whole name, in its entirety, all the time) picking up the cue (because that is what actors do) and continuing, "You need something going on on the inside in order to look in that camera and make people want you. To sell their product," which volleys back to Tyra rounding off, "I've done exercises with Tasha [Smith-Arqese] and I'm crying and screaming and I don't know how she got that out of me." Is it that legendary "poke-'em-with-sticks" acting technique I've heard the great Method folk talk about? "And it only makes me a better model and a better actress," Tyra adds. Whoa. I guess today's photo shoot is for the Tasha Smith-Arqese name brand, which these two model/actresses are doing a pretty smashing job of selling. And how delightfully fortuitous that Tyra's acting should be mentioned in such repeated supply the very week she makes her acting debut on a UPN sitcom the name of which is juuuuuuuuuuuust on the tip of my tongue.

Yup. I've taken a lot of acting classes in my life. I knew pretty early in my career -- y'know, whatever career that is -- that I didn't have the chops to make it as a serious ac-TOR, but between my misspent youth, improv classes, and workshops of my own writing, I can tell you that the following scene is a no-shit perfect indication of what you've been missing. Institutionalized crying. Tasha Smith-Arqese starts by telling everyone she wants this opening lesson to be one in "being open and honest." With that, she hands each of them a blank piece of paper and tells them they're going to talk about "rejection." She asks them, "How many of you have ever had a boyfriend who broke up with you?" Only Yoanna and Catie don't raise their hands, one because she's perfect and the other because she's nine. See if you can figure out which is which! She tells them that the paper is "a Dear John letter from whoever that person you felt rejected you and left you." "Dear John"? "Dear John." By the time you read these lines I'll be gone. From now on, rather than the cutesy, folksy, Friends-y titles they use to name the episode, they should just name each of them after a middling Judd Hirsch television show.

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America's Next Top Model

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