The theme of this week's episode is Girl, Bye. And yes, I'm talking to you Sarah Jane.
I mean, I wasn't impressed with her last week, but this week she displayed a whole other level of.... self absorption that I just don't know what to do with her. It's weird for me to say that because Sarah Jane is my age. She's in a whole other bracket than I am financially, but I definitely understand that 20-something struggle of identity, direction and carving out a place for yourself in this world. I get the desperation to be successful and independent and financially stable. What I don't get is someone seeking validation for something that didn't actually happen to you.
SJ's claim to fame locally is that she went up for Ms. T&T Universe. I suppose that means she considers herself a beauty queen as well as a socialite. In this episode, she asks Leah to meet up with her to "discuss her concerns" and commiserate I suppose with a fellow beauty queen about life after the pageant. Her issue seems to be that she's trying to "move past it" (it being the pageant), but couched in terms that imply that getting national recognition and access to opportunities is somehow a burden for her. Her gripe is that she can't go out with her friends to the club without being approached by "fans" who want to take her picture.
Which is just.... GURL....
But it gets better! Leah tells her that developing a public persona is part of the package of having been on a national stage, and advises her to simply keep being herself. But after continuing the conversation Leah discovers that SJ wasn't the first or second runner up, but the third runner up. She came fourth. She didn't even place. And that's not something to be ashamed of honestly. But to behave as though your life has drastically changed and people are clamoring for your time and attention is a little... disingenuous, no?
And Leah shades her HARD too. It was glorious to behold, it really was. She told her in no uncertain terms that things probably weren't that bad for her, because unlike SJ, Leah actually WON her pageant. She continues in the interview segment to say that SJ's problems are superficial, and that realistically, she's more than comfortable, and I can't agree more. SJ, oblivious as ever, proceeds to say in her interview that Leah doesn't understand because Ms. T&T Universe is on a different level than Ms. Barbados World. Which, while probably true, completely misses the point.
But rather than accept the fact that she's really just spinning her wheels, SJ seeks out her friend Anya Ayoung-Chee, of Project Runway fame for validation. Because Anya was in (and lost) a real pageant. To her credit, Anya gives her great advice. But as I said last week, SJ speaks in such general terms, that it's obvious she has no clear plans for the future. Which is fine. You're not expected to have your life figured out by 23. But to have NO direction? No idea of what is your goals are? To be content with leaning on your "visa face"? Girl, Bye.
I hate to have to be the one to tell you this but, honey,darling, doux doux, dumpling, sweetheart... you don't have any real problems!
You really don't. And your insistence that you do isn't going to endear you to anyone.
But let's move on to more interesting folk. Leah is shadeful and I am here for every second of it. This episode really makes it clear that of the bunch, Leah is the one with her head on straight. She has her priorities in order and she really doesn't intend to spend time dealing with nonsense issues and petty bullshit. She has goals, and she's working towards them. She doesn't intend to get distracted by or sucked into interpersonal drama.
I particularly loved the things she said about the local fashion industry needing a serious shift in approach in order to be successful. I suppose as an outsider, she has a fresher, more objective perspective, but really, she didn't say anything that you couldn't have figured out on your own if you were paying attention. She mentioned the way that models in particular often get the shit end of the stick when it comes to collecting a cheque for their work, and it's a gripe that local models have had for years. Trinidad; to its detriment, is just not yet at the stage where it fully appreciates the contributions of the different moving parts of the fashion industry.
With Lori, we see the beginnings of her preparations for Style Spirit Fashion Weekend, and her anxiety over being so behind. In a way I understand her reluctance to hand the reigns over to anyone. I completely get that perfectionist mentality, and after all, they do say that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. I remember seeing Lori running around frantically backstage on the night she showed her collection and didn't know what the issue was, so it will be interesting to see how that all plays out.
Isoke made a briefer appearance than the other ladies this week, but I really do think I like her. She seems... broad in scope. That doesn't make much sense, but what I mean is that of everyone in the cast, she strikes me as the hardest to pin down, by virtue of being so multi-faceted. She genuinely seems like the kind of person who is adaptable to changing situations and who has the ability to calm down or ramp up on command. I see why that makes Leah and especially Bianca so nervous, but it's something I admire about her, and I'm really curious to see where her narrative will go over the course of the show.
And lastly, we have Bianca. Who just.... She frustrates me. She really does. The way she turns her nose up at Isoke is very telling, especially the way she refuses to acknowledge that Isoke is a businesswoman. Which would be fine if Bianca was doing well for herself, but she came to Trinidad as a model, expecting to make more money than she did in New York. No girl. NO. Somebody failed her on the research front, because a passing inquiry would have told her that if "money is her motivation" she had no business trying to model in Trinidad. She also makes a comment about her mother telling her to "marry rich and white" which honestly, tells you everything you need to know about Bianca. She's classist and snobbish, and that's not a good look, especially when you have very little to show for it. I admire Bianca's drive because I disagree with the notion that ambition is unbecoming, but she's so intensely navel-gazing that she doesn't seem to understand that it's her attitude that holds her back.
Production wise, things weren't much better this week. There was a lot of repetition. I'd estimate that 60% of the scenes in this episode were cut and pasted from episode one, which wasn't a problem so much as it was just boring. I don't want to hear this stuff again. The timeline was also strangely off. Last week had the ladies dishing on each other, but this week a few of them met for the first time....? Continuity; it's a thing. Overall, I'm still not impressed, but I like a good bacchanal, so I suppose I'll keep watching/reviewing until the situation becomes untenable.
It looks like next week, The Queen Bee and The New Face will finally meet, and I won't even pretend that I'm not excited. As ridiculous as Bianca can be, I'm sure she'll have choice words for Sarah Jane, and that girl needs some brutal honesty. Catch episode #3 tonight on Synergy at 9PM.