Who says all Harvard students are ugly? Susan C. Merenda ’07 set out to prove that you don’t need beer goggles to look at this campus when she entered America’s Next Top Model to compete on its 11th cycle. Unfortunately, Merenda, like most people, was no match for Miss Tyra.
Susan: My name is Susan.
Tyra: So you are (dramatic pause) in the league of the Ivies.
Susan: I am indeed. I just graduated from Harvard.
Tyra: Smart wannabe models—I like those.
Susan (voice over): I think that being Harvard—or Ivy League—educated has given me more to prove as a model.
Tyra: What was your major?
Susan: English and American Literature and Language.
Tyra: Who was your favorite English literature heroine?
Susan: (Pauses and places with hands on hips). I didn’t pay that much attention in those classes.
Tyra: Are you serious? But that’s your major! Jane Eyre…?
Susan: Oh yeah, I liked Jane Eyre.
Tyra: Rebecca…? (Susan shrugs) Give me five poses that Viola does. (Susan smiles awkwardly and raises her shoulders). Now we’re going to take it away from heroines and we’re going to go to animals. Let’s do Jack London, White Fang. Go. (Susan shrugs again) Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth. You’re mining the fields of rice. Girl, you know Harvard is going “Oh Lord, she’s embarrassing us right now.”
Susan (voice over, as she walks the runway in a turquoise bikini): I am talking to the judges and I just blanked out. I couldn’t think of any heroines from English literature and that’s my major. So that was really embarrassing.
Tyra: Why is it that I didn’t go to an Ivy League school and I’m throwing out English and American literature…
Mr. Jay: …that she doesn’t know. She even looked at me and said “I don’t know that one.” (Tyra and the Jays laugh).
Mr. Jay: No, I loved that.
Well, looks like in the department of America’s Next Top Model, Yale—home of Cycle 9 contestant Victoria Marshman—still reigns supreme. We’ll have to wait until November to heal our Tyra-inflicted bruises.