My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Before we get into the meat of this review, I need to let you know something. I have a massive love of America’s Next Top Model. Seriously. Respeito. Wholahay. Skank H*s pouring beer on weaves? All great TV moments. I didn’t even know what a weave was until I started watching this show.
So yeah, I love ANTM and all of its trashy, self-aware, beyond parodying glory. And I really love this series of books from Manning. Laura is the first of a connected series of four (the Fashionista books); each book focusing on different characters from the same cast and written from the relevant characters perspective.
Laura is the newest winner of the reality show Make Me A Model. Manning manages to send up ANTM and all the related shows in the genre. It’s brilliant. We have the hushed tones of the host – and the increasingly unrealistic challenges – and the fact that these winners now have to exist in the real world. And the real world of fashion isn’t pretty. Laura’s spoilt, indolent and fashion-overweight. It’s time for her to make a choice; does she want to be a model with all the sacrifices it entails or is she going to give it up before she’s even begun?
I love how Manning writes. She’s not afraid to present us with unlikeable characters because even when they’re unlikeable, they’re still sort of lovable. They’re real. Irina’s awesome, despite being an utter bitch. All of the characters in the shared flat are brilliant actually, and you’ll spot some nice references to pop-culture in this book and the series as a whole (although do bear in mind it’s a couple of years old now).
Don’t come to this book expecting Dostoyevsky or some sort of cutting edge satire on modelling. What it is is a brilliantly frothy and enjoyable romp through the impact reality shows and what happens after the cameras stop rolling. Manning is so solid and delivers all the way throughout.