As I've mentioned previously, my one major crap reality TV weakness is America's Next Top Model. It's terrible, i know, a big campy lovefest of superficiality and bitchiness starring Tyra Banks and her Oprah-eclipsing ego. I can't resist, even when i sit through whole episodes shaking my head, and even though i know the one girl who actually looks like s high-fashion model (and not a Cover Girl recruit) never wins. Anyway, this season's premier brought the crazy. Big time. There were the girls who (after 11 cycles) don't understand that showing up to set with ridiculous acrylic nails and distracting clothes is not acceptable. There was a street- preaching Jesus freak. There was your girl who talks about herself in the third person as the champion, and picks fights with her roommates on the first night. There were burn victims, epileptics, people who thought they were so great they didn't have to walk to the end of the runway, and Kyra Sedgwick look-a-likes.
But, undoubtedly, the one that was painted as perhaps being the most unstable was the Gollum-eyed girl pictured above: Allison Harvard, 20. Now, Allison's got a pretty good shot at showing up on this week's serving of The Soup (she also has a good shot at making it to the top 3). Not because she had a horrible attitude or seemed particularly ditzy, but because she immediately separated herself from the other girls as being "weird". First, there there was her appearance. Her eyes are gigantic. Seriously, you haven't seen eyes like this. Her new peers noted that she looked like a possessed porcelain doll. True story. Second, there was her first appearance before the judges. If you didn't see it, let me run it down for you. Allison stands up there, like a Wednesday Addams in the headlights, and tells Tyra Banks that she "has a really big fascination with blood" and thinks nosebleeds are beautiful. She's upset that she's never had one. She's also, naturally, "really interested in hemophilia".
Me too. I love nosebleeds. I used to have them all the time. I haven't had one since i was 15, and while that one was epic, i'm kind of upset. I love that Sally Mann photo of her son's nosebleed (can't find it now). I even did a photo series for art class in which one sequence featured me with corn syrup blood streaming from my nose.
And why not? Why shouldn't we all be fascinated with blood? It's part of what makes us who we are, what keeps us alive. When the internal becomes external, it leaves an impact. Hemorrhaging, in some oddly poetic way, is an arresting concept...even if just thinking about it makes you feel lightheaded. Sure when it's the first thing you say to an audience of millions, it sounds a little off, but if the other girls are allowed to present themselves as loud obnoxious brats, let Allison fly her freak flag. Darkness, in my experience, is something that adds a bit of depth. You need it (in one form or another) to create art.
We should all be asking: in the wake of the bad behavior of the other girls, why do we attach a stigma to "weird"? Seriously, why is being weird treated as more shocking/socially unacceptable than most reality tv fodder?