The Beautiful Life is pretty damn ugly if you ask me. It's a world of sex, drugs, and flash-in-the-pan pop music that, at 27, I'm too old to recognize. It's a world of disco ball dresses and harlequin dreams. A world where Zac Posen lowers himself to play with B-listers and unknowns. In other words, this place is rrrrrough. Without further ado, meet the models…
Doe-eyed Raina. The angelic 'next big thing' with a checkered family (jail bird dad, fashionably challenged brother). Raina has only been modeling for a few months, but she is poised to make a major breakthrough. And she has a few tricks up her sleeve for getting what she wants (namely: blackmail). If only she were smart enough to know that she should want things for herself, not for has-beens who can't act their way out of a paper bag.
Corn-fed Chris, who goes against his dirt farmer Pa's wishes to pursue an inherently unsustainable career. Chris is discovered on family vacation by leering modeling agent Simon who hopes to trade a career for (homo)sexual favors from the fresh meat. But Simon better watch it, because Chris is all man, and when he's propositioned he gets punchy. Literally. Chris has already developed a wicked crush on Raina, in no small part because she whispers sexy shower metaphors in his ear when he's sucking up his test shots.
Washed-up Sonja, who has returned from a six-month modeling hiatus thinking she still owns the place. Which would be true if she hadn't gotten fat. Having a baby will do that to you, though no one but Raina knows about the inconvenient little bastardette yet. Sonja, too, is in the habit of turning a trick now and again (or at least coming dangerously close) to advance her career. She's also in the Banks-ian habit of adorning her flashy apartment with pictures of herself, only to fling defenseless floral arrangements at them. Sonja got issues.
And the others: Bitchy Marissa, probably the only character who will make things interesting or spit out a one-liner on occasion -- if only they would let her. Aspiring musician Isaac (a.k.a. Corbin Bleu from High School Musical), a former child model in the midst of a long dry spell who is not above whoring himself out (seems to be a theme on this show, no?) to keep his dream alive. Luscious locked Egan, who supplements his modeling pay by trafficking drugs… at least until he's busted by a Megan Fox lookalike. And tough-as-nails agent Claudia (Elle Macpherson), though she really doesn't get a chance to do much of anything in this episode.
Now on with the couture porn already!
Fashion Week 2009, NYC. The Zac Posen show is in full swing. Lots of ruffles and super-high necks adorn hangers with legs as they strut in the overblown, overpriced clothes. It's Harlequin Chic! Zac beams at the stick figures. Backstage, the hum of blow dryers and snapping compacts is creating quite a flurry. A veteran model tells a clearly nervous young blonde thing with a bouffant extraordinaire that Gwen (Stefani), Ashton (Kutcher) and Renée (Zellweger) are in the audience. And then she's all, "Don't worry. You'll be fine!" Model manipulation 101.
Zac spots the blondie (who I must note immediately is in the most awesome post-millennial Lifetime movie ever -- The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker -- check it). He unilaterally forbids her to go out on the runway with the outfit as is. Apparently a necklace is all wrong. God forbid! The manipulative bitch model tells the newbie not to trip on her Jimmy Choos. Is that like the modeling equivalent of "Break a leg?"As Zac fusses over the newbie, she gets more and more nervous. The stage manager uses her inexperience against her, suggesting Zac take her out of the lineup. He insists they can't as she stands in the wings waiting to walk, the bitch comes back and tells her to "Break a heel!" Ah, there it is. Everything goes into slo-mo for a few seconds, then the newbie turns it out. In the words of J. Alexander, honey, she walks like the rent is due tomorrow. Pure sass. Zac eyes her on the backstage monitor.
His muse-ogling is interrupted when the stage manager tells him they have a problem. Cut to Messy Mischa on the phone. She's running late and lying that the rain was torrential when her plane landed. The stage manager calls her out on the lie, so she hangs up and throws back some pills as the radio announces that she, Sonja Stone, is making her long-awaited return to the runway after six months' absence. She looks out the window listlessly. Because pills really aren't that filling, when you think about it.
Blondie continues strutting her ass off as two models backstage (including Not-Zac Efron from High School Musical) talk about Cole, the resident BMOC (big model on the catwalk). Blondie comes back, and they note that she is smiling from ear to ear. She claims it was just the dress, and a long-haired model clichés that modesty will never get her anywhere before slapping the bitch on the ass. Classy. Even over the buzz of the room, they can hear Zac screaming to get Sonja here now. They all note how the rumors must be true. Long Hair McSleaze snarks that Marissa (the bitch) ought to know, since she started most of them. Marissa wonders who would take six months off at the peak of her career. Not-Zac Efron notes it's obviously rehab. The stage manager calls 10 minutes.