Tag Archives: Tyra Banks

I Read Modelland So You Don’t Have To, Part 1: Dear God, What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

 No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.

But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.

Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.

Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Or could it? Dark rumors like silken threads swirl around the question of why Tookie and her new friends were selected . . . and the shadows around Modelland hide sinister secrets.

Are you ready? Modelland is waiting for you. . . .

You may recall that when we here at Rampant Reads learned at BEA of this book’s existence, we knew that one of us would HAVE to read the damn thing.  I mean, did you read that jacket copy?  It’s insane!  (By the way, I never just copy and paste the jacket copy because, quite frankly, I find that lazy. But I do not have it in me to describe this cracktastic plot more succinctly then what’s already there.)  So when I needed one more item on my Amazon order to get free shipping, I decided to take one for the team and read Modelland (Delacorte 2011).  I suspected that this book wouldn’t be good in the traditional, but I thought it had the potential to be a fun, guilty pleasure read.

I was wrong.

Oh, not about the not being good part. It’s a mess of awkward writing, cartoonish characters, and cringe-inducing dialogue.  The pace of the plot just goes and goes without ever pausing to let a moment breathe or relieve tension.  It feels like reading one really long run-on sentence. Plus, it feels like Tyra is trying to satirize the modeling industry and society’s obsession with physical perfection, and glorifying it at the same time.  It’s very odd.

I can see how someone could ignore all that and just enjoy the wackadoodle storytelling.  I am not that person.  It just hits too many of my writing pet peeves.  I prefer my fantasy stories to have some basis in reality, and this just doesn’t.  It’s also brimming with made-up, bullshit slang terms that take me out of the story and drive me crazy.  I also find Tookie, the main character, incredibly annoying.  And if I don’t care about her, then I’m not going to care about whatever treacherous model nonsense she gets up to.  Your mileage will, of course, vary.

Now, before the Tyra obsessives (do they exist?) accuse me of some kind of anti-Tyra vendetta, let me assure you that I have no strong feelings about Ms. Banks either way.  I’ve  never watched her talk show or America’s Next Top Model (maybe if I had, I’d know what the hell smize means.  Somebody please enlighten me in the comments.), but I sincerely enjoyed her movie debut in the cinematic classic Coyote Ugly (by the way, listen to the DVD commentary when Tyra worries that her walk might be too modelish.  It’s awesome.)  In fact, most of my impressions of Tyra come from the Fug Girls where she generally comes across as a fun, albeit maniacal and jumpsuit-obsessed, person.  And while I admire her efforts to build up her empire, I don’t think writing is really her strength.

I generally prefer to read books all in one sitting, mainly because if I get really into a book I want to keep reading without interruptions, but I just couldn’t with Modelland.  This book is 600 pages!  About a crazy model world!  I got through 150 pages before I couldn’t take it anymore.  But I won’t let Modelland beat me.  As motivation, I will be posting updates and recaps of my progress through the book.  And yes, it’s probably not fair to bag on it before I finish the book, but whatever.  If it miraculously becomes a genius book then you will all have my permission to point and laugh at me.  But as God is my witness, I will finish this book even if it kills me.


This Was Going To Be About Something Else, But Then Tyra Banks Ruined It

So Mistress may just be getting to BEA (which, by the way Mistress, I thought I was going to see you there today, and I told novelwhore you would be there and she told other people, and basically, you disappointed everyone and now we hate you) but I just now got home from the magic that is the Book Expo.

I always feel like when I’m in New York I need to be doing “special” things, like going to the Empire State Building or seeing the Rockettes or taking photos sticking my head through the “O” of the Love sculpture on 6th Ave while wearing a fanny pack and comfortable shoes.  So what did I really do while I was in NY?  I ate a lot.  And drank some.  And I got a 1/2 hour massage at this kind of shady place in the West Village for 20 bucks at 1 a.m.  I am just oozing class and sophistication.  Seriously, I think the most touristy thing I did was ride the subway.  But I had a fantastic time, and got to see my old NYU buddies, and stay with my longtime vampire-loving pal Melissa.  And did I mention the food was really good?

But I know you care about none of this–so BEA recap.  First off, putting together the Laarhoven* is much more complicated than I had anticipated, and is truly a feat of engineering. Someone Swedish had to be behind that.  Secondly, people be crazy at BEA, and I almost got trampled by rabid librarians snatching up copies of Tyra Banks new book, Modelland.  My internal dialogue went something like this:

“Is that Tyra sitting over there?  Nah.  It kinda looks like her.  But naaahhh.  Why would she be here?  But all these people are taking pictures with their phones, and there are beefy security guards literally holding back swarms of overly-enthusiastic  fifty-year-olds….”

But my mind could not compute “Tyra Banks” and “books” in the same sentence, and she wasn’t wearing a jumpsuit so she was practically undercover, so it wasn’t until I saw the oversize cardboard cutout with her photograph, emblazoned with Now Signing–Tyra Banks! (which was positioned right next to her… and this internal dialogue lasted about 15 minutes…Encyclopedia Brown I am not) that I realized, “Oh.  I guess it is her.”

I assumed her new ‘book’ was just a ghostwritten, 90% photographs of her wearing jumpsuits, ‘memoir’ of some type, but now that I looked it up on Amazon I am kicking myself for not waiting in the hour long line–I waited for Lev Grossman’s The Magician King instead–and missed out on this:

“inspired by Tyra’s real-life experiences and her creative imagination, the story centers on an awkward teen girl who gets selected to attend the exclusive Modelland academy, where magical Intoxibellas, the world’s best models, are trained. A spot at the academy is woefully out of reach for most girls, so why has quirky Tookie De La Crème, of all people, been selected?”

Oh dear.  I desperately must have that.

So now Tyra Banks has her own YA series.  Please take a moment.  God knows I had to.

I love everything about this picture btw.

So Tyra’s new fantasy series is somehow simultaneously based on her real modeling experiences while also revolving around a secret magical world where “‘Intoxibellas’ –drop-dead beautiful, kick-butt fierce, magical-power-wielding models–are trained.”  I really can’t emphasize enough words in that sentence.  I can pretty much ensure that book will be making an appearance here in the not too distant future.

Other BEA news: 1) The Cheshire Cheese Cat was named one of BEA’s Top 26 Titles which was super awesome. 2) I met a new YA author in line for a book signing–she was super cute, from NC (or SC?) her book was fantasy-ish, I think it was Simon&Schuster, she was on the YA panel maybe, I think ‘Unraveling’ or ‘Untangling’ was somehow in the title, and I’ve spent almost an hour trying to find it online and I can’t!  I know it has a September pub date.  If anyone can figure out what it is for me I will be eternally grateful.  It looked really good.  3) I got a some free schwag:

*You had to google Laarhoven didn’t you?  haha.  Most fun word ever.