'ANTM' Recap: The Girl Who Made A Splash

the beginning of the end

Photo: Chris Frawley/The CW.

When the going gets tough…you bring in your mother. It was such a blessing to have our moms fly out here, not only to do a photo shoot with us, but to encourage us and provide us with love and motivation. 

Mikey and I were in the bottom two last week, and it was one of the most anxiety-packed moments I have ever experienced. There was a tie between the two of us, and the judges made the decision to keep us both in the competition. I can’t even describe the emotion running through my veins at that moment. Tears of joy and relief flooded out of me, and by the end of the day, I was emotionally stripped. 

Due to the fact that there is a tie and all four of us are still in the competition, Tyra made it clear to us that only one guy and one girl will be competing in the final runway. In the meantime, we were asked to prepare a presentation for the judges explaining why we deserve to be America’s Next Top Model and what we plan to do with the title. This title is not just about winning the competition and modeling, it's about how you choose to brand and market yourself in order to have a successful career. Game on. 

We arrive to the set of a high school, where we meet Yu Tsai, J. Errico, the fashion director of NYLON magazine, and our photographer for today’s shoot: Mark Hunter—a.k.a. The Cobrasnake. The Cobrasnake has shot with the ANTM family before, and he is such a fun person; his personality really shines throughout his work. The shoot today is the NYLON magazine spread that the winner will be featured in. Things got real. So we all had to keep in mind that this week, it is Mikey against Nyle, and me against Mame.

The concept of the NYLON shoot is fun, rebellious and spunky teens sneak into the school at night to go pool hopping. I can honestly say that this had to be one of the most fun shoots I have ever been a part of. The energy was booming, the wardrobe screamed youthful, and the fact that it was “do or die” time made all of us turn up the heat.

At one point during the shoot, I managed to pick up Soy, Yu Tsai’s French Bulldog. As soon as I did, The Cobrasnake stopped shooting Mame and turned the lens towards me. I will be honest, I did feel a little awkward when that happened because I believe in a fair game. But if The Cobrasnake wanted the shot, who was I to say no? So, thank you, Soy. 

After a night full of shooting for NYLON and sneaking into school pools, all of us had time to reflect and let the reality of everything sink in. This is it. We have a presentation to show the judges that will affect who will make the top two. Brand yourself right, or get out. I'm filled with awe because I'm only 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and I am already being given the opportunity to create a brand for myself. How did we get so blessed to be here?