"Alice, I don't want to do this," I said quietly as we sat in the airport parking lot. We still had twenty minutes before I needed to go through the whole boarding process. Alice sighed and shook her head.
"Yes, you do Bella. We both know that you can kick any one of those girls out of the competition. You'll thank me for this when you're famous." Alice was my best friend, the only person in this world that I ever really talked to. After High School, my mom and I had basically lost contact. Things stayed the same with my dad, we never really talked much, but with my mom, the change was drastic. We communicated maybe twice a month at first and then soon after that, twice a month turned into once every two months. Alice was there to fill in the chunk that Renee had ripped out of me. At first, I didn't understand why things were the way they were, but after my first year in college, it hit me. I wasn't her fun little girl now, I was an adult with a life of my own and my mother couldn't handle it. What I wouldn't give to have her back in my life.
In the terminal, Alice latched her arms around me a squealed. "Oh, Bella, I'm going to watch every episode and TiVo them!" I sighed and returned the hug.
"You better," I mumbled into her shoulder. She laughed.
"God, I'm going to miss you so much. If you don't call me, I swear Bella, you sevens are going in a burning trashcan," she said in a playfully threatening voice. I smirked.
"That's too bad…my sevens are in my suitcase." She rolled her eyes and pulled me into a hug again. Tears stung my eyes as I walked onto the plane and I choked them back as I sat in my seat. When I looked through the window, I saw Alice hopping up and down and waving in the terminal—my seat was placed parallel to where we had said goodbye. I smiled lightly and the plane began to move away from the terminal building.
As my letter instructed me to do, as soon as I got off of my plane and found my bag, I looked around for the noted J. Alexander who was supposed to be holding some sort of sign. The letter I received in the mail was far from formal. It was more along the lines of this:
We are very excited to tell you that you are one of the thirteen contestants for America's Next Top Model. Along with this letter, you will also receive a plane ticket…
The rest of the letter seemed to be personalized by one of the judges. When I read it at first, I thought it was a joke. I was at least expecting them to call me by Isabella and not take my, or Alice's, notations on the audition form seriously. But no, after Alice called and confirmed the letter, I knew I had no choice but to go on the show and model my heart out. They paid for my plane tickets—yes, tickets, one for me to get there and one for me to get back home—it was the least I could do.
At first glance, I was incredibly shocked by J. In all my life, I had never met a man who pulled off dressing and acting as a woman so well. There were already three girls there and one of them automatically sent me a steely glare. My cheeks flared and I looked away. I could tell that this would be difficult for me, but I had promised myself that I would always be the bigger person in situations like this.
"Hello there dear!" J greeted me. I smiled and grasped the hand that was outstretched in front of me. Mentally, I wasn't sure whether to refer to J as he or she. After shaking hands, I decided on he only because of his facial structure. It was too masculine for him to be considered a female through my eyes. The other's arrived soon after I did and we piled into a giant van and drove to an important looking building. While J led us through the building, I noted that he walked really well in heels. Of course, seconds after thinking any thoughts like that my cheeks burned and I looked down at the floor.
He took us to the roof of the building. My eyes widened as I took in the scene. This was a photo shoot. I didn't look passable for even a night on the town; plane rides have always taken a lot out of me. Chances were my hair looked like a haystack and the makeup that Alice had forced me to wear was smudged all over my face.
There was one man with a camera and several other men with digital equipment. J stood to the side and watched with a girly grin on his face. After at least five girls had gone, one of the crew men instructed me to stand on a line of blue tap that was stuck to the ground in front of a blue back drop.
While focusing my eyes fully on the camera lens, I pouted my lips slightly enough to make my cheeks look less round and tilted my head. Over a series of ten shots, I gave several various poses, all involving me locking my eyes with the camera. Though I hadn't ever had any sort of professional training, one thing that I knew was that making contact with your eyes when taking head shots was almost crucial.
Once again, we piled into the van and drove off. This time we stopped in front of a hotel and dumped ourselves into several rooms. I don't know how many of us there were, but there were definitely more than thirteen girls and I was sure that the real competition began when there were only thirteen girls left. A lot of the girls there were nice. These twins especially surprised me; they had the most open personality I had seen since arriving. They were gorgeous—the two of them were both incredibly thin and tall, I would say they were at least six feet tall and younger than everyone else there.
"So, where are you from?" one of the twins asked me. I didn't know anyone's names yet.
"Oh, I'm from Phoenix," I said. "What about you?" she smiled.
"I'm from California. I live in Anaheim. What's your name by the way?" she asked. Small beads of relief coursed through me when I realized that this girl wasn't in it to play some mean joke on me.
"I'm Bella," I said. She extended her hand and a grasped it.
"I'm Amanda. This is my sister Michelle," she introduced. "I don't expect you to remember that," she said with a laugh. I laughed along with her, thankful for her high spirits. Not only that, but I would really have to look to be able to differentiate between the two of them. These girls were true identical twins.
That night, I got a pretty restless sleep. Most of the girls did from the nerves. In my case, I couldn't close my eyes and get comfortable in a room full of girls that had never seen before tonight. I may have been able to sleep for a full three hours if I had just been with the twins I had met earlier, but that wasn't the case and sleep was impossible.
In the morning, the hotel room was a zoo. There weren't enough electrical outlets for all of us to use. While some girls were willing to share their hair irons, others said no just to be spiteful. Most of the girls didn't bring mirrors big enough for a full makeover with them, so of course the bathroom was even worse than the other room. Alice packed smart and somehow shoved a compact mirror into my already too full bag.
I always kept my makeup simple—normally I didn't put any on. Seeing as how I promised Alice that I would at least make an effort to doll myself up, I sat cross-legged in an empty corner and applied as little makeup as possible. My outfit wasn't as simple as my makeup though.
I pulled on a dark blue silk top that cinched at the bust line. Ribbons hung at the side and I tied them in a bow behind my back. I pulled on my lucky sevens and finished my outfit with black ballet flats. My hair didn't really need any fixing in my opinion. Dealing with the mob of crazed women wasn't worth it.
My hair hung around my shoulders in soft waves from sleeping. I decided against brushing it knowing that the waves would come out and turn into a straight mess if I did. After several complaints and arguments that could have evolved into catfights, we traveled in a giant group to the roof of the hotel. I was surprised to see that the roof was not only decorated with a stage and several tables but to find half of them already filled with more contestants.
I sat at a table with a group of girls that were plastered with makeup and hairspray and waited. When Tyra came out from behind the stage, everyone erupted into a clamor of cheers and claps. Most of the girls cried. I stood and clapped, not bothering to get too out of hand like the girls that I was sitting with. After an introduction, Trya announced that they would be starting personal interviews now.
I gulped. Not only was I going to have a face-to-face interview with one of the century's greatest models, but also my name was way at the bottom of the list. After what seemed to be ages of pointless mingling and greetings, a security guard called me name and motioned for me to walk back into the hotel. Shakily, I stood up and walked forward to be interviewed. This was my only shot at getting something out of life.
AN: so here's the first chapter! I'm basing this one off of ANTM cycle 7, which is one of my favorite seasons. Of course, I'm not basing it off of the season completely because that's just not cool. I hope you guys like this, R&R and tell me what you think!