2:55 PM |

There’s something odd about watching America’s Next Top Model in my university sweatpants, a vintage T-Shirt from Peterborough and my bangs bobby-pinned off my face. Odd because around me are sprawled out mountains sprinkled in snow and fir trees, a pile of classic fiction I’ve just read, some puppy toys, the sound of the dishwasher I’ll soon have to open and chipped nail polish on my toes.
My setting is so anti-top model. There are no catwalks in my living room, no beds built for six skinny girls, no Tyra Mail. No makeup mirrors with a billion bottles and tubes and palettes, no stilettos, no tight jeans, no handbags.
Instead there are hiking boots, moisturizer/sunscreen, Mountain Equipment Co-op layering systems and elastics to pull my hair back.
I watch the show and pass judgment, but it’s not who’s pretty, who’s ugly. It’s who’s faking, who’s real, who notices how awkward and obnoxious Tyra’s antics can sometimes be. But I live and die by Next Top Model. It falls on hump day, dividing my forlorn workweek with a pique of entertainment. The show is of no real use to me. I do not take notes on Miss J’s walking tips to practice as I strut down Main Street. People would probably wonder if I’d hurt myself. I don’t practice being fierce, and when people take my picture, I don’t work my angles.
The coined term guilty pleasure works well, although I hate to use a cliché. I enjoy turning my brain off and returning to things that were important to me in grade ten: hair, poise, fending off catty beeyotches and aspirations of the glamorous life. Not that I scoff at my 15-year-old self, but I like my non-glamorous Yukon life.
I could probably give the show up if I had to. But then what would I ask my little sister about when I call her after school on Thursday? And in what other situation could I laugh at someone else’s expense and not feel guilty and immoral? The contestants aren’t real, they are on a show called the next top model! Of course they’re crying when they get top model makeovers!
I’m not proud of it, and by no means would I want to step into those uncomfortable but haute couture shoes and do that myself. Of all the talents people embody and roles there are to fulfill, I think filling the niche of clothes-seller is quite limited. “We show people how to dress and wear their hair in interesting ways?” quips one of Derek Zoolander’s model roommates before dying in a freak gasoline fight accident.
The rest of the week I’ll weep during Oprah, watch the news, Intervention on A&E and documentaries about how the world works. But Wednesday night, all brain bets are off as I immerse myself for 60 minutes into the world of weaves, smiling with your eyes but not your mouth, and top model eliminations.