Niki reminds us in clear, slow tones -- so that we will be able to absorb this complicated backstory -- that the show's producers criss-crossed the nation to find these fourteen aspiring supermodels. In the online vote that closed last week's show, the nation chose Ben, the Nashville prison guard, and my sweet Katy from the Heart of Dixie. This week, joining Niki in the decisionmaking is the world's greatest male supermodel, Tyson Beckford; Cory Bautista from New York Models; and Jennifer Starr, big-cheese model casting director.
So, the kids arrive in NYC, looking fly in their winter gear and blessedly unable to hear the voiceover quotes being played on my screen, such as this gem from Perry: "If you're gonna be a star, you're gonna be a frickin' star. You know? You just gotta keep pluggin' away at it." If this modeling thing doesn't work out for Perry, he can maybe send that gem in to Reader's Digest's "notable quotes" and make a cool $50.
So, here they are in the middle of Times Square, enraging the already-angry-enough citizens of New York, standing around freezing their asses off. Tyson says he wants them to be willing to pay attention and learn, and Niki adds that they'll be stripping them down and seeing what they're made of. "The competition starts right now," she says, adding that they'll be going straight to work with their first photo shoot like, right now. With no further ado, she brings up Lee Strickland, famed photographer, fumbling a little over his credentials, possibly because her brain stem has frozen to her spine. Lee -- who is English and thus likely slept every night of his childhood in a bassinet sculpted from ice -- says he knows that it's cold, but the models need to be ready to sell sex, fantasy, and drama as they model their summer clothes.
In an interview he gives while wearing a metallic silver jacket accented with a bright pink scarf, Ben says he's ready for whatever happens. Surely he wasn't ready for that scarf. In any case, no way is he as ready as Dominic, who pompously drones on that he can handle everything since he's, like, ridden ten-foot waves and snowboarded and stuff. Y'all. Ten-foot waves. He says the main intimidation to him right now is the cold weather. Moments later, we see him on the platform, trying to pose, and...yeah, he must be cold, because he's moving like an actual robot. The photographer keeps trying to tell him to relax, but he can't seem to do it, and Lee says he seems to be trying too hard.