I really really want Joy to win this year’s Britain’s Next Top Model. It’s been the first series I’ve followed in a long time, largely due to the new judges (Lisa Snowdon infuriated me in a million ineffable ways). Elle McPherson is alien perfection on a long bronzed stick, and I love Grace Woodward. I love her work, her wardrobe, and her deep, throaty big-sister-meets-bespectacled-fairy-godmother-voice, and the bizarre and brilliant catchphrases it issues forth.
Julien McDonald is cunningly cast as the villain; shinily grotesque, lisping in satin shades of magenta and puce, and nobody can really bear to look at him.
The competition is traditionally a farce; none of the girls selected are really model models, just pretty girls with bitchy put-downs riding the hamster-wheel of reality television. The prizes leave something to be desired. Yes, Company is a magazine, and yes it is printed on glossy pages, but it’s not exactly Vogue Nippon or i-D. It’s fashion for the mumsy masses.
Anyway, I’ve cast down my cards and displayed my colours: Joy to win! She’s the blatant underdog of the competition: the shock transformation, chrysalis-like, from ugly duckling to gamine swan. The judges well up with pride every time they look at her lately, as if she’s some sort of geeky fashion offspring that has newly discovered net-a-porter (which she kind of is).
We are supposed to warm to her; the shy gawky outsider with the hunched shoulders, spiky teeth and a gravelly voice that belongs to someone’s emphysemic Yorkshire grandma. Indeed, I love her for all these reasons. I think she’s hilarious, adorable and ethereally stunning. But something’s wrong, because everyone else I’ve spoken to HATES her. With vim and vitriol and Miltonesque avenging fury.
The Amazonian Alisha, with her impossible body and brash, garrulous camera-manner, is the out-and-out favourite. No one really bothers to pass comment on Tiff, because they can’t understand her when she talks, and her roots need doing and no one’s had the decency to tell her.
But Joy! Never has someone so beautiful been so hated, presumably not since Helen of Troy, or the spawn-of-succubi Angelina. I like her so much I almost don’t want her to win, so she can pass up on the commercial contracts and get stuck into something more high-end and edgy. But I’ll be rooting for her, and her weird Gollum-gremlin brand of beauty, to triumph all the same.