Wanna be on top????
Finally, after a month or so gathering information and inspiration, here is my appreciation post for the flawless Allison Harvard, who first came into prominence as a contestant on Cycle 12 of The CW's America's Next Top Model in 2009.
Why do I find her so fascinating? Countless reasons could be cited: her big doll eyes, her unusual beauty, her quirky (yes, it's an overused term to describe her) personality, her amazing sense of style. On top of that, she strikes me as this genuinely fun, sweet girl to be around, not to mention creative, intelligent and down-to-earth. I can say in all honesty that I don't recall being this obsessed with any other ANTM contestant, she's just so fresh, unique and out of this world. In this post, I'll provide insight into this singular Houston native, as well as present you guys with some of her highlights during the show.
Before we go any further, I'd like to say that anything remotely offensive that I wrote in this post about anyone other than Allison was, well, deliberate. Kidding! It's all for strictly comic purposes, really. Well, most of it at least. As Alli herself tweeted a few months ago, "it's important to always say a kind word before a hurtful one."
For starters, some of you might know her as the Internet meme Creepy Chan.
As a teenager, Allison would stay up late and take creepy-themed photos of herself ("I guess when you don't have anybody else you use yourself"), which she posted on Myspace and deviantART. By the time she was around 16, friends would email her saying that 4chan users (otherwise known as chantards) had been posting stuff about her and calling her "Creepy-chan" or "Creepy little friend." She is also known as Allicat, because of her love of cats – another thing she and I have in common.
During her audition process on ANTM, Allison revealed her interest in hemophilia to the judges, stating she had "a really big fascination with blood" (Miss J's reaction was puh-riceless lol) and she thought nosebleeds looked "really pretty". When Tyra told her she used to get nosebleeds all the time as a child, Allison confessed to being jealous, which creeped Tyra out a bit! On a side note, there's even a video of Alli making (and playing with) fake blood made out of vanilla ice cream and strawberry syrup.
|She's staring into your soul. And she wants your blood.|
Allison soon went through a makeover (or rather, a "Ty-over") to become the platinum blonde beauty she is now.
Needless to say she stood out right away during the competition and quickly became a judges' favorite, receiving a total of four first call-outs, the most during her cycle. I simply loved her implicitly sarcastic (and occasionally acid) sense of humor – once there was this huge altercation in the house, and one of the girls that were chiefly involved delivered some motivational speech which Allison said was "a bit too Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul" for her. I also remember when Alli was the first to receive a first call-out and she didn't know where to go after that, so she just kept on walking towards the other girls until Tyra drew her attention, it was so funny!
However, Allison's versatility was often questioned by the judges, who felt she only had one look in every shot of hers week after week. Walking the runway wasn't exactly her strong suit, either. As a consequence, she landed in the bottom two twice. Assholes. It's an extraordinary look, one that I could gaze at all day. Besides, the awkward girls are the ones who usually become favorites on ANTM. Remember Ann Ward, the winner of Cycle 15 (2010)?
Oopsie! WRONG PIC.
Why did the producers insist on showing that picture with the nasty bacon sandwich so much? Sheesh! Anyway... Fellow Texas native Ann stood out for her 6'2" height and her ridiculously thin waist. She's a classic case of ugly duckling turned swan, winning best photo an unprecedented five times in a row.
Now let's take a look at some of Allison's portfolio for that cycle.
The photo of her posing as an exotic bird is nothing short of stunning and majestic! It has a certain Burton-esque gothness to it that definitely does justice to Allison's uniqueness.
After struggling with the "one look" issue, Allison ultimately showed significant improvements, and the judges came to appreciate her unusual features. In the end, though, Allison lost the competition to Teyona. Again, flawless and unique Allison lost to boring, fugly Teyona. What. The. Actual. Fuck? Oh, wait. Tyra Mail for Teyona: you look like fucking Beavis!!!!!!!!!!
|Oh, how I miss The Hills|
Last year, Allison returned to ANTM for Cycle 17 (the first-ever All-Stars cycle), along with other 13 non-winning contestants from previous cycles.
Come to think of it, it was actually kind of a good thing that Allison didn't win Cycle 12, otherwise she wouldn't have participated in Cycle 17, and consequently, our eyes would never have been graced with her splendid new portfolio, which went to show how much she has improved from her original cycle. Well, it also helps that this cycle's photo shoots were way more creative and interesting.
FYI, the fourth photo was inspired by, uh, Snooki.
The theme of that week's photo shoot was "Reality Stars on a Motorbike," where the girls had to emulate either Snooki or NeNe Leakes (of The Real Housewives of Atlanta) while riding and posing on a motocycle. I mean, really, Tyra? Either you're seriously running out of ideas, or you're just fucking high.
Once again, Allison's quirky doll persona transcended throughout this cycle. In one episode, a brand strategist gave the girls each a branding word based on what their fans thought of them, and Allison got "unique"! In another episode, where they had to create their own signature fragrances, Allison decided to name hers Honey Blood (I'm so buying it in case it hits the shelves). Don't even get me started on the outfits she wore at the judging panel, I wanted to steal them all!
As far as the competition goes, she consistently wowed the judges with her effortlessly stunning photographs. Some of the other girls would even cite Allison as their biggest competition, saying that all she had to do was blink and the judges would go crazy over her (bitches ain't lying). Furthermore, she also accomplished a commendable feat during a photo shoot: the booty tooch (don't you just love Tyra's lexicon for this show?).
And now some of her most memorable and/or relatable quotes during that cycle:
But it was episode 8 that really caught my attention. For that week's challenge, the contestants were each given a different track, and they had 20 minutes to write the lyrics. They would also have to shoot music videos for their songs. Poor Allison was clearly freaking out: she was not only insecure about her singing, but also feeling vulnerable because she had opted to write a song about her father, who had passed away from cancer the year before. It was so heartbreaking! At the recording studio, Allison felt kinda defeated as she learned they'd have to incorporate "pot ledom" as a hook into their song. No, it's not some kind of new drug, it's actually "top model" spelt backwards. Tyra herself came up with such brilliant idea (sigh).
After breaking down again, Allison got it together and completely pulled it off. As soon as she started singing, it all just flowed very naturally. It was so endearing and inspiring how she took something that put her in a vulnerable position and turned it into something so beautiful, a song called "Underwater." Angelea (Cycle 14) even admitted that she had underestimated Allison: "She's already good at modeling, she's good at acting. Don't tell she's good at singing!" Damn right she is, bitch.
Rapper Game was in charge of directing the girls' music videos, and he would also serve as the week's guest judge. Understandably, he was completely swooning over Allison while directing her video, calling her face "a work of art." He even went up to her to give her some encouragement before her shoot, and upon learning that her song was about her father's death, he told her about his late grandmother, who he said was the only person who believed he could be anything other than just a bum. That was so sweet! The way they connected, even though they are complete opposites.
Wait, there's more: in the middle of the shoot,
freaky dwarf YouTuber Keenan Cahill walks in as Tyra announces that they would both make appearances in each of the girls' videos. Oh, great. First "pot ledom," now this. Well, Keenan is kinda "cute," but his hands freak me out a bit, JUST SAYIN'.
At panel, the judges were all (again, understandably) dazzled by Allison's video; Game said she was "the most weirdly beautiful person" he had ever seen in his life (which I totally second), while Tyra called her video mesmerizing and said that it "penetrated her emotionally." Just preaching to the choir, really. Do I still need to say who won best video? Of course it was Allison, duh! With no further ado, here's her masterpiece:
Wow. Just wow. Both the song and the video are just so haunting, ghostly, ethereal and touching. Ugh, words are not enough to express my love! I felt so inspired, and like Tyra said, it penetrated me emotionally; none of the other videos had such quality. I even got past the whole "pot ledom" crap, although the stupid Tyra/Keenan fuckery ruined the video. For those of you who, like me, thought 52 seconds just weren't enough, an album featuring all songs from the challenge and their respective two-minute remixes was made available digitally! I could really do without the lame guy in the background saying "fierce" and "c'mon." Anyway, Allison herself elaborated on the meaning of her song in this Tumblr post, in case you're interested.
In the following episode, as the girls return to the house to see Allison's video on display, Lisa (Cycle 5) made no attempt to hide her jealousy in the confessional setup, saying, "Allison, even though she's very unique, she's not everything that they're asking for. I'm definitely more about modeling. I have the whole package." Oh, really? Well, here's what I have to say to you, you delusional bitch:
Oh, I've just received another Tyra Mail – it says here that one of the girls on All-Stars appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010. :O Let's find out who!
BUSTED! I do remember the talking-to-a-bush incident. Though they forgot to mention that she once peed in an adult diaper in front of the other contestants on Cycle 5. A true class act.
What did you say about ~having the whole package~ again, sweetie?
|Lauren "LC" making yet another appearance in this post|
Later on, in Greece (the cycle's international destination), the girls are tasked to write a one-minute speech introducing themselves to Greek dignitaries upon their arrival in Crete, and they had to include some Greek words as well. Unsurprisingly, Allison won the task, as her speech was hands down the most interesting and knowledgeable – she said she loved mythology, particularly the Muses and the Fates, because of their mystery and allure – and she was the only one who didn't make any mistakes.
This time it was Angelea who expressed jealousy (albeit humorously) towards Allison, claiming that she won by default because Angelea would've won if she hadn't asked where the bathroom was in the end. I happen to have a response to that as well.
Moving on to the much-awaited finale, the three finalists are Allison, Lisa, and Angelea. You already know the customary ANTM final three, huh? CoverGirl commercial/print shoot, final runway show and whatnot. Here are the girls' CoverGirl print ads:
I couldn't find a concise way to explain the final runway, so just watch it yourself (in case you haven't already). I must say it was all quite... Tyralicious. Check out Alli's dress:
A true goddess!
All of a sudden, they're all back in Los Angeles, where there's a twist at panel: Nigel reveals to the other judges that the production team and the network learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her from the competition! OMFG!! According to rumors that surfaced on the web shortly thereafter, Angelea had won the competition and bragged about it on Facebook, thus violating her confidentiality agreement. Other than The CW's statement – which basically repeated what Nigel said – no official word has been given on the exact reason for her disqualification, and quite frankly, it doesn't really matter anymore. As a result of this hot mess, they had to re-shoot the whole damn thing, meaning the girls had to pretend to be surprised about the result.
So it's now between Allison and Lisa. Allison was commended for her swimming at the runway show (indeed, she was the best at it), but the judges felt that her walk was still not strong. Blah blah blah, granny Lisa is announced as the winner of this shitfest. That's right, Allison lost to someone whose stage name is – wait for it – La Puchinetta.
Ugh, I cannot believe Allison was robbed twice!! This is ASS!!!! Tyra, did you have a brain tumor for breakfast, you dumb fuck?? Lisa and Angelea might be funny and entertaining as "reality television personalities" – loud, bitchy, engaging in dumb catfights – but as models they're beyond mediocre and nowhere near high fashion, let alone Vogue Italia. Lisa looks so old and has such an unclassy, washed-up look overall. Seriously, she looks like some Real Housewives reject in her CoverGirl shot. As for Angelea, bitch was in the bottom two four fucking times, and as such, she has been referred to by some as ANTM's charity case (LOL). Fans even speculated that the low ratings of this last Cycle 18 (British Invasion) were due to the fact that Allison was denied her rightful win yet again. There's only one thing left to say:
Whatever, it's not like Allison needs this dumbass show anyway (though it's still a guilty pleasure). She is certainly the most editional, high-fashion girl out of them all, not to mention the most memorable as well – Tyra herself said that Allison had one of the biggest fan bases in Top Model history. Those other two basic hoes are already fading into irrelevance as I finish my post. It's clear that America's Next Top Model is not as much about modeling as it is about...
|Tell 'em, Ja'mie King|
Let's just move on to relevant things.
Currently residing in Brooklyn, Alli is also a talented painter and photographer, who describes her style of art as "surreal" and "psychedelic." You can check out her amazing art on her Tumblr and Flickr pages. I must say that seeing her art has really encouraged me to draw again, which I haven't done for quite a while.
Shortly after Cycle 12 ended in May 2009, Allison was offered a contract with the Los Angeles-based Nous Model Management, which she was still considering accepting back then. Although she was signed with the agency for a while, she's nowhere to be found on their current roster. Despite apparently taking a break from modeling in between cycles (she was even reportedly spotted working as a cater-waiter at some wedding two years ago), Alli is now back in the game after the All-Stars cycle, and has since scored some impressive gigs, including walking the runway for both New York Fashion Week and Philippine Fashion Week earlier this year.
To our orgasmic delight, here is some of Allison's modeling work, along with a few adorable personal pictures.
|Ad for Michael Cinco's Impalpable eau de toilette|
|Werking it at the 2012 New York Fashion Week for Malan Breton. SASHAY, SHANTAY!|
|You'll find this picture in the dictionary next to the definition of "perfection"|
|I shall starve myself in order to get this body. I mean it.|
|Doesn't she look right out of an anime?|
|Me stalking a potential crush|
Allison, you may not have won America's Next Top Model, but you'll always be a winner to me. ♥ I'm sure you'll succeed at whatever you choose to do with your life, because you, mah dahling, are the ultimate All-Star – and that's not up for debate.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find something sexy to wear at tomorrow's Men on a Mission Gala. I might as well borrow that Disney-inspired outfit of Alli's, it's guaranteed make those hot Mormons go loco. Ciao!