Chapter by Chapter review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 17


“Everyone in the room screamed, their faces melting and warping just like Tookie’s was. Piper’s skin was so raw it was transparent. Her blood was visible, pumping wildly through her face. She resembled a skeleton with muscles and veins, with a thin layer of clear plastic keeping it all together.”

Damn, Tyra. That is some sick shit. Where have you been hiding this? Tyra, this is a gift. You’re good at imagining these scenarios. Turn this book into a gory horror novel and I will love you un-ironically forever and ever.

And homegirl don’t stop! The succeeding paragraphs are a catalog of the many horrors that befall our potential Intoxibellas. Tyra is a sick bitch and I love it.

“Dylan’s ponytails had completely fallen out and she was cradling them in her arms. Her nose had become detached from her face and was sitting on top of the bed of hair. Shiraz’s grapefruit-sized eyes bulged and bulged like they were about to pop out of her head. The spot where the ruby had been on Kamalini’s SMIZE was now a gaping hole four inches wide, exposing her brain. Angelika’s ZipZap head injury had split open wide from the top of her head to the base of her neck. When she screamed, her exposed vocal cords, which lay in a spaghetti-like tangle at her throat, vibrated.”

I feel like on of those mothers who see their child walking by himself for the first time or some shit like that.

Anyway, because of all the weird stuff happening to them, the girls are understandably freaked out of their minds. Guru Gunnero tells them that they can take a ZipZap to get back home if they want to, and some of the less important Bellas take that option and discover that they become beautiful again once they do.

Tookie, sensing that something is up stays put and tells her friends to do the same. At this point I thought that this would be a teachable moment for the girls, that perhaps some hackneyed message like it’s inner beauty that counts would be trotted out.

And honestly? I think I would have been okay with that. For so much of this book, there has been such a focus on how physical beauty is really great and how it’s better to be really, really, really good-looking more than anything else. Surely that moral of “inner beauty” would be something that would be attractive to Tyra “Kiss my fat ass!” Banks.

Well Tyra just told me to fuck off.

“The first thing you must know about cosmetics, feebleminded females, is to forget everything Mommy and Daddy ever told you about sharing. Unless, of course, you want your face to fall off just like it has now…So from this moment on, you have my personal permission to be stingy, selfish wenches when it comes to your maquillage.”

It’s a fucking hygiene lesson.

Why you gotta break my heart EVERY. TIME?

So the succeeding pages are just a repeat of those particular scenes except with different fashion accessories. The girls are given jewelry and designer bags which end up choking them and burning them horribly because they are imitations and further impoverish those luxury brands that create them.

I quote:

“You may think you are sporting the latest fashions and fooling your pitifully clueless circle of friends, but you are merely concocting a deceitful world of psuedo luxury and corrupt make-believe, while the hardworking artisans who dedicate their lives to producing authentic wares are robbed blindly.”

Jesus, Tyra. I’m sure buying a few counterfeit properties won’t bankrupt a company that sells a purse worth $64,000. And anyone whose self-esteem relies so heavily on something like that needs something more than just a Birkin.

The final test is an actual fashion show, where the girls are subjected to a gigantic sewing machine with a gigantic needle (duh!) that pierces them from head to foot. I would have been excited for this but those last few paragraphs definitely learned me. All the needle does is dress them, and the girl soon find themselves in bubble which…send them back home?

They’re going back home? Will this whole story be about a bitter Tookie that quickly learns that Modelland is a tyrannical construct of the fashion world that needs to be overthrown?

Probably not.

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