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Britain’s Missing Top Model


The shocking double elimination Tuesday night (following the first single elimination of Rebecca last week) saw Debbie van der Putton, 22 from The Netherlands and Lilli Risner, 20 from London leave the competition

The bar was well and truly raised for the ladies, with a task involving lingerie, a shop window and their each individual personality, along with a fake go see proceeded by a real go see then a 50’s pin up lingerie photo shoot.

The hopeful models released their inhibitions and acted as a live mannequins in a London boutique window for all passer by’s to see. First up to unleash her sexy finesse streak, was Debbie.

Her disability was the loss of her arm (occurring from a bus accident, at the age of 19). Considering the visual elements, actually being able to see she has only one arm, did not make a difference in the slightest to her ability to sell the garments she was wearing. A couple of young boys were a little surprised, embarrassed, and unsure how to react to someone missing a limb, posing in nothing but underwear for all to see, which is natural and understandable, being practically unheard of, as we live in a society that shelters us all of this. Most others on the other hand I’m excited to say were caught up with what you would expect – her fantastic physique and feminine features.

Britian missing model

Which just goes to show how human we are, you see a woman in lingerie, you’re not going to be focusing on her arms but her breasts, bottom and thighs of steel of course…. Oh and maybe the frenchies she’s wearing too…

One by one they all had their 10 minutes of spotlight, some putting more drama into it than others such as 19 year old Jessica, from Bristol who suffers from HNPP and ME, some who were acting a little cheesier than others… Ahem Jenny (22 years old, from Seattle and has partial paralysis) and some behaving somewhat effortlessly like Kellie Moody, 24, who is deaf.

Besides t
he tasks given to the girls, this week proved to be testing for the contestants in the form of disability rivalry. Some would argue that being deaf, although a disability is not as disabling as someone who is paralysed from the chest down or who is without an arm. But as an experiment brought on by the, what was two deaf women in the apartment, showed just how hard and frustrating it is not being able to hear, and understand what’s going on, so no one can really judge at all.  23 year old Sophie, who is paraplegic, seemed rather bothered as one of her competitors Kellie Moody took her turn in the window, she went on to make comments such as “how is that any different?” “You can’t tell she’s deaf” “You can’t see any difference at all” “It’s a blonde girl with big boobs and a big arse, like, beautiful body, that’s great, no different” “I can’t stand up, I can’t move my body, I can’t do any of that so… Deb and Kelly can’t move away from their disabilities, it’s always there. And for you guys in a photograph it’s just no different” “Kelly was just, looking at her, there is just nothing wrong with her and as soon as she’s got the interpreter there she is the same as any able bodied person, absolutely the same, she is at no disadvantage at all. She’s absolutely fine, same with Lil and the same with Jenny, and the same with Jess and the same with Debbie and the same with Kelly, they know, they are exactly the same as any able bodied person because they have the confidence and they have the beauty and they can do all these things, and there’s just a lot that I can’t and I’m trying to make it work, but it’s almost like I don’t really know how I can exist in the competition”… Fair statements or totally understandable feelings but you have to get over them?

So they completed task one, and after instructions to get to a go see with Michele Paradise, from mentor Jonathon Phang, Debbie spread the news to the group and off they went, well half of them. That’s right three were left behind the two deaf participants Kellie and Lilli, and Jessica who didn’t want to leave them. They arrived 10 minutes late, but imagine if Jessica hadn’t of been with them – they had no idea where they were meant to be and can’t hear or communicate with people so it seriously could have been quite an ordeal. On arrival they each went in to see Michele (who is actually a modelling coach, and was not there for a possible job but to give them some well needed advice instead – but the girls didn’t find out that until afterwards).

Britian missing model

Following feedback from Michele, Jonathon led them to the real go see next door, which was for a show room presentation held by Louis Mariette of Couture Milliner. The winner who impressed him was Kellie Moody, she was even given a creation from the designer himself. This yet again struck a nerve with Sophie who took it to be personal, and to do with her being in a wheelchair but it really isn’t like that, as the girls mentor said “it’s because she didn’t model well enough”… Sophie’s response to this in the cab ride back to the apartment was “The chance to meet a designer who’s willing to put a disabled girl in his show is such an opportunity. But I want someone to choose a girl with a really obvious, really visual, really kind of blatant disability. I want it to be like oh my god she’s got a missing arm, she’s got a missing leg I want it to be that obvious so that it makes a change and choosing someone like Kellie is not the same, it’s really not the same, it’s the same as picking a girl who speaks French”… Ahhh Sophie, I hear you but in this case Kellie show cased the pieces better than you so I’m with Jonathon on this one…

The night went on to see the girls, (minus Jessica, who wanted to catch up on sleep) hit the town and party until 4am, despite having a big 50’s pin up shoot the next morning.  These girls might be disabled but I rate them as they do not let their disabilities hold them back, they have fun and live life to the fullest no matter what. Anyway as you would expect the night had its effect on them and Jonathon was not happy with blood shot eyes and breakouts of spots. But the show must go on after all that’s what makeup artists are for right?

Britian missing model

They all delivered, attempting to give the best they could. But even though Lilli appeared to be performing better than last week, she was not standing out as much compared to her competitors, and it was not enough to keep her there for another week, as at the elimination there were some comments that caused a flux following judge Lara Masters (who is a journalist and presenter) feedback on Lilli’s photo when she said “I think the photo does show that you able to take direction as we did criticise your face last week the only thing I would say about this it’s quite stiff” as Casting director and judge Mark Summers went on to say “I would tend to agree actually, you’re working your face but as a model you got to work your whole body. This picture here it makes it look like that maybe you’ve got a few extra pounds, which I don’t think you have but it’s the way you’re positioning yourself”. Fellow judge fashion designer, Wayne Hemingway responded with “I can’t stand that in the industry, she’s not carrying any extra pounds what so ever” Mark replied with “No but as I just said before, it’s nothing to do with carrying a few extra pounds it’s to do with the pose”. Ending the critic on Lilli was Marie Claire editor, Marie O’Riordan who said “I disagree slightly actually, I think your pose is fine, I think it probably isn’t the best photograph but I think you look good here”

Debbie’s feedback came from Mark who didn’t like it as opposed to Marie who thought the clothes suited to her and thinks she has potential as a lingerie model.

Whilst the judges deliberated the girls waited with Jonathon and the extra pounds soon came up into conversation.

: “And I think it’s a very valid statement, that if you want to model lingerie you will need to tone up your tummy”.

: “If I was a size zero they would never have said that, they’d never have said oh your fat.

: “If you were a… Size zero… Ok

: ”I don’t want to be size zero, I don’t want to diet, I’m happy”.

Jonathon: “Could you tell her to be quiet. Listen to me for one minute. Nobody told you, you were fat. They said you should tone up if you want to model lingerie. If you were size zero they would be telling you that you are too skinny to ever contemplate modelling lingerie. I’m sorry if you don’t like the shot, but use it to learn from because maybe that’s the way you look. I don’t want you to always think that bad feedback means you’re going”.

Well it came down to Sophie, Lilli and Debbie but with Sophie being saved by the judges. Debbie and Lilli said their goodbyes leading to lots of tears being shed – particularly by Kellie who will now remain the only deaf person in the competition, which will be very hard. It would seem that while Debbie remains hopeful that she will get an opportunity to model in the future. Lilli feels the total opposite and slight regret, after wanting to find out what it was like and see if she could be a model, then having comments made about her weight that may have been taken in the wrong way by her. She said “The fashion industry, the model industry, the whole thing. I would just never want to work in that industry. This programme has made me realise that I don’t want to be a model which is a good thing”

Wow! Who’d of though such feelings could come from an experience like this? I can’t wait for next week. Stay tuned.

By Luisa Savino 

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