There were many points at which Grazia Daily was glad of the relative safety of our sofa whilst watching the first of the new series of Britain’s Next Top Model on Monday night, but top of the list was in the opening five minutes. Like a shrieking hen night of hysterical drama students, the 25 finalists hurtled through the countryside in a vintage bus towards the BNTM Academy, each calling each other the loud one (it was Kirsty, apparently) and - although we may have imagined this - drinking Lambrini from the bottle and wondering where the stripper was. But look! He’s here waiting for you! And he looks like Jude Law!
In fact, the stripper was not a stripper, but former male model Charley Speed who is one of the new roster of judges for series six of BNTM. He met the girls accompanied by the awesome Grace Woodward, who had helpfully dressed as Gok Wan in order to assist some of the less fashion-y viewers in understanding what it is that stylists actually do (they put them in the clothes - y'know; like Gok Wan).
Some of the 25 were not lucky enough to get much airtime in this first episode, which kind of killed the suspense a bit (no airtime = definitely out at the first hurdle). We felt a bit sorry for some of the background girls, especially nice something-with-the-fringe and whassername and thingamajig who didn’t even make it as far as the St Trinian’s shoot which was when things really started to hot up.
But hey, this is television people! Like fashion, it’s a cut–throat world and for every Olivia Palermo there’s a Roxy Olin, right? So what did we learn from Episode 1 of Britain’s Next Top Model? Well, we’ve helpfully compiled the most important pointers below for you.
1. It’s Mac-FUR-son, not Mac-FEER-son.
2. Should Tyra Banks ever fall mysteriously ill, or somehow render herself unable to present TYRA, Elle Macpherson is a waitin’ in the wings. As the show’s new chief judge breathily introduced us to her own particular brand of self-help, beginning with “I will guide them to be the models they can be” and ending on “disappointment is an opportunity in disguise”, we learned that Elle is lovely and positive and smiley and not unlike the future host of, say, a life-affirming chat show with its own lucrative book club. Which, franklement, is not quite what we were expecting.
3. Literally any humdrum disaster can be transformed into a sob story if you say it loud, say it with tears in your eyes and say it on national television. For instance, not liking your toes to touch one another à la Hannah from Cheshire who had week one’s best line with ‘my big toe needs more lubrication’, uttered after she explained that her phobia stems from having been bought toe socks as a child. Get that girl a tiara; this competition is o-vah.
4. A ‘one on one’ in fashion speak can refer to one vs. any number of people. Like one on four, which is what the girls did when they went up against the panel, but which they insisted on calling a ‘one on one’. This is because in fashion, numbers are not important. Pah. We detest numbers. They are so pedestrian.
5. Grace Woodward is BNTM’s Grace Coddington. She was a revelation of brilliantness and against Julien Macdonald, Charley Speed and even the luminous Elle, Grace shone like a deadpan hybrid of Daisy Lowe and Rachel Zoe, resplendent in leopard print with her scarlet power-lips and folded arms. We want her to grant us an internship NOW and we will happily fold the contents of her styling kit until she sees fit to send us to Starbucks. Apparently, Grace has styled some of the world’s most prestigious bands and although we were told this as pictures of Green Day and Rachel Stevens flashed across the screen, even having styled a former member of S Club was not enough to distract us from her awesomeness.
6. Elle needs to up the ante if she’s going to compete with Tyra. There was no sign of word-fusion (like Tyra’s ‘smizing’ or Andre Leon Talley’s ‘dreckitude’), no demented screaming the word ‘FIERRRRCE’ at the girls and, most troublingly of all, not a hint of a catchphrase worthy of ‘You Could Still Be American’s Next Top Model’ which is not actually a very good catchphrase but which Tyra says with such amazing pouty aplomb that it feels Oscar worthy every time it’s uttered. Come on Elle; step it up!
7. Joy from Leeds is going to walk it unless we stage an intervention or one of the other girls rises up. Our money is on Alisha.
So what can we expect from next week? Well, the 25 have been whittled down to 14 and next week sees the future Mosses go to Lon-Don where they will be asked to complete such rigorous tasks as walking down a catwalk through hoards of tourists trying to take pictures of a phone box and arriving at a shoot on time when nine out of ten tube lines is not working. Probably. But whatever happens, we’ll have all the news from week two in just six days from now....
- Alex Butt
Alex Butt is Grazia Daily's self-appointed BNTM Chief Correspondent, and will be reviewing the show every week here on the site. Alex would love to hear your thoughts on each episode and any queries you may have about the show.