Serial employee-assaulter, probable perjurer and popularizer of the phrase "I'm not here for that" Naomi Campbell is a "coach" on and executive producer of Oxygen's new modeling show The Face. Per the series' brazen ads, the reality competition combines the guts of America's Next Top Model with the team-oriented angle of The Voice. Basically, this means that supermodel mentors Campbell, Karolína Kurková and Coco Rocha are creating sororities out young (but not, you know, young enough) aspiring clothes hangers.
Antics ensue, or at least they did on last night's casting special (the proper "premiere" episode airs next week). Campbell is made out to be the villain, a role that she seems to be accepting with relish. All she is missing is a long mustache to twist. Granted, she's not all mean all the time — she flattered some girls, said eliminating them was "gut-wrenching" and actually hugged another human being at one point. On top of that, so many of her villainous vibes come via the commentary of her co-workers. But she seems more than happy to be cutthroat. She gleefully dismisses the would-be models she's rejecting by chirping, "You are not the face!" And, as we saw on an extended trailer for the rest of the show's first season, she'll soon refer to Kurková as an "idiot" repeatedly.
After one episode, the show itself seems great, if you're into this sort of thing. It could pull a Top Model and take a turn for the circus, but the challenges seem like they will be relatively realistic, and the show will cull its drama from human interaction. The "three supermodel coaches" angle that host Nigel Barker proclaimed every chance the narrative would allow is a good one — high-profile drama amongst household names is reality TV's current obsession, and the squabbling amongst the coaches (all competing for glory) is a welcome alternative to the show's offering of young women clearly raised on reality TV. One cried immediately upon facing the judges, another told a sob story about being orphaned that superseded her incompetence and kept her on the show, while yet another proclaimed to be "not here to make friends" but to win. Yawn. Step aside amateurs — let the pros show you how it's done.