In the world of reality television, one good turns deserves… a rip-off. It’s basically Bravo’s programming mantra. So it should come as no surprise that supermodel, champion phone-thrower and conflict-diamond enthusiast Naomi Campbell has encroached on the territory of one-time rival Tyra Banks with a model competition all her own: The Face.
Though it won’t premiere on Oxygen until next year, here are a few ways The Face will be different, better or exactly like America’s Next Top Model.
Better: Three words: Naomi. Effing. Campbell.
Don’t get us wrong, Tyra is a great model. One of the best. But Naomi is a stiletto above when it comes to the echelon of supers. Think George Michael’s “Freedom” video. Think the Holy Trinity with bffs Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. Think of her doing community service in Dolce & Gabbana. Then think that she’s been modeling for 400 years and still makes every newcomer look boring and tired in comparison.
Same: Naomi’s plucked none other than noted fashion photographer and recently-fired Top Model judge Nigel Barker from the unemployment line to host. It’ll be interesting to see how he dances around that bit of awkwardness.
Different: Top Model’s cache of prizes has grown considerably since its inception (without actually producing a top model, but that’s neither here nor there), but The Face’s bounty is a little more modest: The winner becomes the face of a “major brand,” acting as spokesperson and ambassador in print, on air and at events.
Better: While Tyra will surround herself with PR maven Kelly Cutrone, male model Rob Evans and blogger Bryanboy this time around, Naomi has tapped new-gen supermodels Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha—who have forgotten more about modeling than Tyra’s judges could ever hope to learn —as coaches.
Different: Instead of pitting all the models against each other in a free-for-all, The Face breaks the girls into teams led by Kurkova, Rocha and Campbell, who will impart wisdom based on their years of experience. Or push them down a flight of stairs.
Same: Aspiring models on The Face will no doubt be put through an endless procession of challenges, though it’s yet to be seen if Naomi will stoop to the levels of sheer and utter ridiculousness that Tyra has employed in the last few cycles of ANTM. Who is she kidding, anyway? Yes, modeling is challenging to a certain degree, but how often will a gal have to walk on a suspended runway above a pool in a six-inch-heel?
Better(?): Rather than a cursory Cover Girl campaign, the winner of The Face will be immediately put to work under a contract for this mysterious “major brand.” A modeling contract is nice and all but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee work. Of course, if the winner ends up the face of hemorrhoid cream, then Top Model easily comes out on top.
Different: Tyra has been known to give some tough love in the past. Remember her “Learn something from this!” freakout? (right)
But the Lady Campbell is a cooler customer: If someone gets out of hand, she won’t raise her voice. No, she’ll raise a hand and slap the hell out of them. But she’ll remain calm the entire time—because that’s what anger management has taught her.