The bitches are back! Yes, everyone, it's Cycle 15. Can you believe we've wasted this much collective time? Tyra begins the episode by voice-over asking when a model becomes a real top model. The answer is: when she lands on a high-fashion magazine cover. You may be wondering what this has to do with America's Next Top Model, pimper of the Seventeen Magazine advertorial. Tyra then goes on to say that Italian Vogue -- otherwise known as Vogue Italia -- is the best of the best and has launched careers from Claudia Schiffer to Christy Turlington to Linda Evangelista. Basically, Vogue Italia made the "Freedom 90" video possible. "Guess what?" Tyra asks. You, like me, may be tempted to reply "chicken butt." But Tyra has steeled herself against such flippancy and answers her own question thusly: "In Cycle 15 of Top Model, one lucky girl will get the opportunity of a lifetime. Because she's gonna skip straight to the top and have her career launched in Italian Vogue." And I have to say that with that announcement, Tyra wiped the smirze (smirking with your eyes) right off of my face. Color me Burberry Plaid -- after fifteen seasons this shit decided to go legit. Don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave, Ann Shoket!
But wait! Don't you fear that just because this season has committed itself to finding a high fashion superstar that it will lose all of the reprehensible hallmarks that made you love/hate it in the first place. To wit, Tyra yet again regales us with the story and pictorial evidence of her transition from lanky teenager to lusted after/reviled supermodel to self-righteous fat-ass. And she does so, in Catholic schoolgirl uniform, from the steps of her former high school. It was there she was discovered on the first day of ninth grade. Tyra was sitting on a bench -- and at this we cut to a photo of Tyra sitting on a wall eating a sandwich while not in a schoolgirl uniform of any kind -- when someone asked her if she was a model. We reenact this scene with Tyra in her uniform reading a book that has "Algebra II MATH" scrawled on its paper-bag cover. If that person had not interrupted Tyra at this moment, she might have gone on to be a nuclear physicist. Tyra tells us that she was the awkward girl, used to being stared at and made fun of. This just goes to show that you can blossom from ugly duckling to gorgeous supermodel swan, and people will still make fun of you. One to grow on, people. Tyra had lots of rejection from every agency in town. Until she didn't, and then she'd go on go-sees after school. On the bus. Excuse me now as I have a small fantasy about 13 year-old Tyra encountering Rosie O'Donnell's Beth Simon. Eventually, of course, Tyra became a super-famous supermodel. What took her four years to achieve -- yes, that's right four years from nobody to famous zillionaire, how could anyone endure such suffering? -- she's going to make happen for one young girl in just 12 weeks.