It's the finale! Here's the rundown:
Sarah Jane (wisely) decides to sign on as the face of Fantasy. I'm glad (though, not surprised) that she took it, because it's a great move for her. It's something she might actually be able to build a career on, as opposed to trying to wing it with her "Visa face". Working with Fantasy lets her do what she's always been doing (party, look cute) and make some money. It also lets her dip into planning events, which she's expressed a mild interest in. To me, it's a no-brainer. Have fun, get paid, add a few lines to your resume. Win-win! It was a very smart decision and I hope she finds success. I was amused though by the completely transparent way that she name dropped Anya. It's superficial on its face, and won't endear her to people outside her immediate social circle, but honestly, that's all tied up in the social politics of self in relation to race and class, but I won't say anything more on that.
I'm going to give Bianca the benefit of the doubt that she told Leah what Isoke said out of concern for her friend. They are old friends, and seem to have a pretty close relationship. If I were Leah, I'd want her to tell me, so I can't really fault Bianca. I do think that it there was a layer of producer intervention involved in having Bianca confront Isoke in front of Leah; it felt so contrived and staged, but I suppose in reality it is a conversation that would have happened eventually. I also think that Bianca made some great points in her defense of Leah. Trinidad is a VERY small place, and a damaged reputation can and does impact how likely you are to work in future. Isoke was out of line, and it was cool that Bianca recognized that and stood up for her friend.
Isoke's attitude this week... wasn't my favourite. I've already said that I think she was out of line to say anything to Mel about Nikita's spread in Lookbook, but her extreme defensiveness this week makes me think she knew she was out of line too. She got super defensive almost immediately when Bianca started the conversation, and I think she knew, especially as an aspiring business woman herself, that since business in Trinidad is often about who you know rather that talent, dissenting opinions can make a difference as to how a new person or product is perceived. I might have respected her more if she explained her case better or even (gasp!) apologized, but instead, she reacted by lashing out. It... wasn't cute. Hopefully it was a momentary lapse. I suspect she may have felt ganged up on.
Leah's shade game was on point in the finale, and I can't really blame her. I thought that the whole "sit next to Isoke but ignore her for the entire show" thing was a little high school but such is life I suppose. I can't really blame her for being as upset and defensive as she was. You don't mess with someone's money. It cracked me up how uncomfortable Bianca was to be in the middle of it all, but I don't believe for a second that she didn't love every second of it! I did like that Leah acknowledged SJ's strengths in lightening the situation. For all of Sarah Jane's superficiality, I do think she has a talent for reading a situation and adjusting accordingly. That's a skill that a lot of people don't have, and it can be a saving grace in social situations.
Lori took the cake in the finale though. We spent a lot of time following her deal with showing at Style Spirit, and it was really interesting to see how she handles herself in her element. For the most part, Lori was mess, she forgot a few dresses at home, and she wasn't satisfied with her work. It must have been very stressful to make her debut under those circumstances, but Lori's biggest issue is that she refuses to delegate! If she insists on working alone, then she has to give herself enough time to do work that she's proud of. She can't afford to be working down to the wire when she's the only one working.
That said, Lori's designs were gorgeous. I loved them when I saw them in person at Style Spirit, and I loved them when I saw them again on the show. It was cool to see the other women support Lori's work though, and I wasn't surprised to see that Lori was her own worst critic. It's a symptom of the impostor syndrome. She was so vehemently ashamed of work that was incredibly stunning to the rest of us! On the other hand, as a creative, I can totally relate to hating your own work with the fury of a thousand suns.
So what did we learn about these women this season? Lori is driven, and positively determined to marry her fashion aspirations with her business aspirations. Sarah Jane is a little lost, but is making smart moves to secure her future. Leah is always and forever on her hustle. Isoke is focused on moving her business forward and is now the new CEO (yay!) and Bianca though.... aggressive, is incredibly smart and capable, and has an eye out for the way her career trajectory can influence the industry on a whole. Basically, the diverse casting was the best thing about the show.
In the end, I think that I liked the show for what it was. It wasn't perfect and it could stand to improve on almost every level, but it was an ambitious (punny!) attempt and I think they mostly succeeded. The production values need work, the episodes should be longer, and they need to stop doubling up on footage, but all in all, I do think it works for it's target demographic. My only real complaint at this point is that I wish they'd stuck to their original mandate of dealing with the business of fashion more consistently. The business lives of these women were so much more interesting than all of the interpersonal drama. I hope there's a season two!