If America's Next Top Model has taught us anything, it's that modeling is hard work. Not only do you have to exhibit a sufficient amount of enthusiasm whenever the first syllable of "Tyra mail!" hits your ears, and show reverence towards Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker™, sometimes you have to smile—with your eyes. (I'm not being sarcastic here, really. Feigning Tyra enthusiasm, and heeding her and Nigel's advice with a straight face is probably very difficult.)

But those girls have it easy when compared to the Deal Or No Deal models, an embattered group of women who have to stand—in heels—on a cold, cold stage with only the waves of OCD radiating from Howie Mandel to warm them:

Reports the New York Times:

For the 26 women who take the stage each week on the NBC hit game show, life is not all glamour and sequins and witty repartee with the host, Howie Mandel. At this taping in mid-January, for instance, there was the 14-hour workday, 8 ½ hours of which involved some or all of the models standing on an Arctic-like soundstage in short, short sleeveless dresses and four-inch heels.

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Thank God the New York Times is there to expose the harsh working conditions of these models. Next, they'll be uncovering evidence that models are real people, who can think, and play instruments, and have cancer, and in general do other things besides look reasonably interested while idiotic game show contestants point to shiny suitcases over, and over, and over again. Oh wait:

[The models] are a diverse group. Stacey Gardner, the usual holder of suitcase No. 2, graduated from law school and says she passed the California bar exam in 2005. Pilar Lastra, No. 14, was Playboy's Miss August 2004. Aliké Boggan, No. 20, interprets services for the hearing-impaired at her church. Aubrie Lemon, who usually carries No. 23 but who was No. 6 at a recent taping, plays the harp and says she passed the qualifying exam for Mensa….

The models themselves dismiss the notion that they are little more than eye candy.

"I would be very upset if someone said that to me," said Lindsay Clubine, bearer of suitcase No. 26. "The girls here are involved in a lot of different charities." Like Marisa Petroro, No. 18, for example. She had a tumor removed from her arm on her 19th birthday and underwent a year of chemotherapy and radiation; she now is a national spokeswoman for the Sarcoma Foundation of America.

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The title of this article is "You Think It's Easy To Schlep Those Cases In Four-Inch Heels?" (For the record, yes, New York Times, I think it's pretty easy.) But a workable alternative title could have been "Deal Or No Duh." I read the whole thing in its entirety, and I have absolutely no idea what the point of the article is: That Deal Or No Deal still exists? That modelin' ain't that easy? (The arguments for both are unconvincing.) Then again, maybe the Times was going for an article that is as mindless as its subject matter, in which case, good job.

Still, I did learn something from reading it. Apparently, Howie Mandel has blocked Little Monsters (and all of the blue makeup that went with it) from his memory:

Mr. Mandel now calls [Deal Or No Deal] "the most exciting thing I've ever done."