Host Kim Alexis proclaims that “She’s Got the Look” is “a modeling competition like no other,” which is flat-out balderdash. It’s a competition like every other, the only distinction being the aspiring models are 35 and over — though seven of the 10, notably, are 40 and under, so we’re not exactly talking Grandma Moses here. Series joins TV Land’s strategy of simply sliding the demo target on tried-and-true nonscripted templates a few years down the road, from “The Big 4-0” to “High School Reunion.” It may work, but this judge gives the network low scores for originality.
The first hour of “She’s Got the Look” goes through the requisite multicity tour to settle on 20 finalists, who are soon whittled down to 10. Several of the women auditioning thought about modeling early in life and now have families and commitments, raising potentially interesting questions about choices, second chances and regrets.
Those elements, however, aren’t fleshed out much, and pretty soon it’s just a conventional modeling/fashion showcase — a slightly gray version of “America’s Next Top Model,” as the women are picked apart by bitchy talent agents and stylists. This they willingly endure for the prize of a Wilhelmina modeling contract (agency prez Sean Patterson is a producer-judge) and Self magazine photo spread.
The fact that the chosen participants don’t express themselves particularly well blunts whatever drama there could have been here. One contender, for example, erupts in a baffling outburst during the second hour, to which another essentially responds, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Tears flow freely, but they ought to be more for the education system that produced them than the challenges facing beautiful women who have celebrated too many birthdays to suit the fashion industry’s barf-and-Botox standards.
Indeed, while Alexis characterizes the program as “an opportunity to redefine beauty,” it’s actually the opposite of that — revealing what’s required to squeeze women until they fit the prevailing image of models, which continues to taunt our aging, plus-sized, fast-food-munching population. Besides, at the risk of overthinking things, if “She’s Got the Look” truly wanted to teach women to love themselves for who they are as they grow older, why impanel these contestants and then immediately begin making them over?
It would be refreshing, actually, to see a competition exhibit the values Alexis cites at the outset, but “She’s Got the Look” isn’t it. So suck in those cheeks, old girls, and try to look as close to 25 as you can.