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Thursday, June 5, 2008

She's Got the Look: Mature Models?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 1:49 PM

So models should be 17 and 95 pounds? Well, most do, but there is some work out there for women who are otherwise mature and better padded. Aging boomers want to keep shopping and need relatable, but attractive people to pitch them osteoporosis drugs, retirement homes or stylish outdoor wear.

But is there a market for a next Top Model-style reality show that pits 10 hopeful wannabe models, age 35 and up? Maybe, but what kind of start is it when such a series debuts at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday?

That's when She's Got the Look kicked off on TVLand. (Yes, they do play that dreadful Roxette song, and a mess of other early '80s faves, presumable to make older viewers feel connected to their youth.) The show's regular slot seems to be 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, but it also probably repeats endlessly throughout the week.

Former top model Kim Alexis hosts this search for "next great model over 25" – and she couldn't be more wooden or lacking in personality. The judges are a livelier bunch: former hot model Beverley Johnson; Robert Verdi, a celeb stylist and bitchy queen; and Sean Patterson, of the Wilhelmina modeling agency. (Hardcore fashion-reality-TV-istas will remember Patterson as one of the cold-eyed meanies on VH1's model show, The Agency.)

Episode one was standard fare: We see the hopefuls audition for the judges, and collect these keeper lines from the panel: "I'd go shopping with you but you're not a model"; "with all due respect, are your boobs real?"; and "you have a tiny marshmallow head." Also paraded for your amusement, the seriously deluded, who don't see missing a front tooth or being 4'9" and chubby as an impediment to a professional modeling career. Surprisingly, the judges passed up on the tranny model -- a move they'll likely regret when the highly competitive and happy-to-exploit Trya Banks books one for her next Top Model show.

Twenty winners fly to New York where they take a few head and body shots, and the judges winnow it down to 10. In fairness, it seems an interesting mix, with a wide variety of looks and ethnicities. So far I'm rooting for Sharon, who is 63 and genuinely looks it, but also radiates a stunning beauty. (Another gal cried when the judges accused her of being too perfect; what a business.)

My favorite moment from judging was a contestant who excused her lame-looking photos by explaining: "I'm not comfortable in front of the camera." And you'll make a great model because ....

In the next episode, the women move into the requisite too-small townhouse, and hopefully, start the personality conflicts: We've got some Southern dames, a tattooed lesbian with probable anger issues, weepy moms and a couple of exotic foreigners. For the sake of entertainment, let's hope "mature" simply refers to their age.

And another thing: these gals may be blessed by good genes, but the producers can't get this crew to the Makeover Episode soon enough!

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