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'The Face': No tempers lost, no cellphones thrown (but how long will Naomi Campbell keep her cool?)

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Image Credit: Oxygen

Let’s face it: part of the reason why I tuned into the premiere of Oxygen’s model reality show — which follows 12 aspiring models as they compete to become the face of ULTA Beauty — was to see what Naomi Campbell would do.

We all know the supermodel’s reputation for hurling more than insults, and this is the same network that produces The Bad Girls Club.

But while there were tears, raised voices, and plenty of eye rolling, the premiere episode of The Face was pretty tame. So far, Tyra Banks still out-crazies Naomi, at least on the small screen. Let’s review the most “dramatic moments” (cue music) from the series premiere of The Face

First name Sandra, last name Crazy?

Ahh, the first day in “the house.”  The competition started off with a reality TV staple — the “getting to know you” scene, in which the contestants all gawk over their new digs and play nice with each other for a few minutes. And then the claws come out. Sandra, a 20-year-old from Philadelphia who is part of Team Naomi, established herself as the girl who will bring the hijinks. She ran around, screamed, twirled and fell all over herself before declaring “I’m going to go ballistic!” It can’t be a good sign when the other housemates worry out loud that you’re going to kill them in their sleep. “I don’t want any fights amongst you,” Naomi warned the housemates when the model mentors dropped in on the group. Right… 

Sandra followed up her first impression with a photo shoot suggestion that involved, well, fake killing her teammates.  Jocelyn, 20, from Victoria, BC convinced the team to nix Sandra’s idea and get on board with her concept, which means it’s totally only a matter of time before she and Sandra face off. “I have the strongest personalities on my team,” Naomi said. Translation: Team Naomi is Team Drama.

There’s no crying in modeling!

It only took 14 minutes for the first girl to burst into tears. For the first challenge, the contestants competed in a good old Fashion Face-Off, with Naomi choosing who wore each Top Shop look best. Jocelyn of Team Naomi and Madeleine of team Karolina went head to head in the same “biker chic” look. After Jocelyn declared that she was “not intimidated by Madeleine’s style,” Madeline wobbled out with tears in her eyes. But it wasn’t because of the snide comment! “I picked a pair of shoes that are too small for me, excruciatingly tiny so I am freaking out,” Madeleine explained.

That’s it? Your shoes are too small? Girl, bye (yawn). “What are you going to do, are you going to cry when you’re in front of all the press, all the editors of the magazine,” Naomi asked Madeleine. “Or are you going to say, ‘I’m going to look my best and I’m going to take this pain and I’m going to get the picture with the best dress at the end of the show.’ That’s what we want to know. Do you want to be The Face?”

“You need to have an attitude and you have to fight to be in this business,” the supermodel told the audience. Word to the wise.

Uptown, Downtown

The action continued to unfold as the teams competed in a challenge that required them to interpret the frames of a storyboard for W magazine, complete with a shoot with photographer Patrick Demarchelier. Speaking of famed photographers, Nigel’s narration — “12 girls in the running…” — almost made me forget that I wasn’t watching America’s Next Top Model, as did the set up of the photo shoot challenges. The one major difference between ANTM and The Face? The Face has way better clothes! The girls got to pull from racks of Phillip Lim, but despite the designer togs, Team Naomi couldn’t quite get it. “Did you understand the concept?” Naomi asked in her best stern schoolteacher voice, clearly annoyed as she tried to help her team pose for the photo.

I readied myself for the supermodel smackdown, but instead of snapping, Naomi tried her best to be helpful, telling her team she was “disappointed” in them when they ultimately lost the challenge.

Bring. It. On.

Surely we weren’t going to get through an entire episode without Naomi Campbell shattering that Suzy Sunshine persona?

While the supermodel did offer a few chilly quips throughout the episode, she was almost too nice. Right up until the elimination round, that is. As the winning mentor, Karolina got to eliminate a contestant from one of the two losing teams. When the dust settled, it was one of Naomi’s team members who got the boot. “That’s not right. I have to leave, I’ll be right back,” Campbell said upon learning the news, exiting the room with a door slam. “I don’t want the camera, I don’t want the camera,” she huffed as the crew followed her.

The girls put on their best worried faces as a calm Karolina tried to talk to Naomi down. “Don’t even talk to me right now. Do. Not. Talk to me. Get out!” Naomi screamed. But instead of hair pulling or shoe flinging, in the end there was only trash talking. “I’m very disappointed in your choice, Karolina, and all I have to tell you is it’s game on from now on,” Naomi told Karolina as the frightened contestants looked on.

Not exactly high drama, but it’s a threat from Naomi Campbell. For now, we’ll have to take her word for it.

What did you think of the season premiere of The Face? 

The Face airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Oxygen.

Read more:
Azzedine Alaïa Fashion Face-Off: Alicia Keys vs. Naomi Campbell — POLL
Nigel Barker talks leaving ‘Top Model’ and gives us a sneak peek at ‘The Face’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
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