"You want to be chosen. You know you do. Don't lie, dahling [sic]. You lust to go to Modelland to become one of the only famous people in the world..."Modelland note
is the first in a planned trilogy of Young Adult
novels written by former supermodel and America's Next Top Model
host Tyra Banks
. Notable in that it's one of the few celebrity book projects that (according to Word of God
) doesn't have a ghost writer involved. It is a cross between The Hunger Games
, Harry Potter
, and America's Next Top Model
Tookie De La Crème isn't what you would call a conventional beauty: Her forehead is big, her hair is ratty, her body is gawky, and her eyes are two different colors. So naturally, she didn't expect to be picked to attend Modelland, an exclusive school on top of the world mountain
where the magical Intoxibellas, women who are a cross between a modern day supermodel and a sorcerer, are trained. It's an opportunity that every other girl in the world would kill for, and somehow, she and three other awkward looking girls have ended up there.
Tropes that Modelland provides an example of:
- Abusive Parents: The De La Crèmes verbally abuse their two daughters, though of course Tookie gets the brunt of it. Ci~L has it even worse.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Dear Lord, yes. It's rare to find a piece of setting-related terminology that isn't abbreviated in some cutesy manner.
- Alpha Bitch: Zarpessa.
- Aerith and Bob: Tookie, Myrracle (pronounced "miracle"), Theophilus Lovelaces, Zarpessa Zarionneax, Desperada, Abigail, Lizzie, Brian.
- Author Tract: Tyra wants you to know that every girl is beautiful in her own way. There are also some bits about not sharing makeup, eating right, and not buying designer knockoffs.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Myrracle qualifies at the beginning, though it's hard to blame her considering her parentage.
- Broken Aesop: The Aesop is supposed to be that true beauty is on the inside, but Tookie and her friends often behave in ugly ways towards anyone deemed an antagonist.
- Costume Porn: Because it's about fashion models, the outfit descriptions are very detailed.
- Dystopia: One where supermodels have become living gods and everything revolves around the fashion and retail industries, no less.
- Eye Scream: Tookie's father impaled his eye on a sword during one of his shows when he was an acrobat.
- Fangirl: ZhenZhen, toward Ci~L.
- Fantastic Racism: The staff of Modelland really don't like actresses. It's especially hilarious if you've ever watched Top Model, since Tyra frequently makes the girls go through acting challenges, and will mention how acting can be very important to a model, both helping with a modelling career, and giving a model opportunities once a model's very short shelf life is over.
- Also, Tookie keep referring to a being that has a hand for a head as "it" even after she/he is revealed to be human. And the LeGizzards seem to be Always Chaotic Evil.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Gowdee'an is Spanish; Très Jolie is French; BayJingle is Chinese; Metopia is probably California, or maybe the whole western United States coast, since Shivera is a cold area; TerraBossaNova is Brazil; Chakra is India; Striptown is Las Vegas; Palinian is Alaska; Kwaito is probably an African country; FiveHundred is the southern United States; Canne Del Abra is somewhere in the Middle East; NorDenSee seems to be Norway, Sweden, and Denmark rolled into one; Cappuccina is Italy; Pyramidian is Egyptian; TooLip is the Netherlands; Icylann is so obviously Iceland, it's not even funny; MiniPaul might be Japan; Texiococo is Mexico; Oktooberfest is Germany; Didgeridoo is Australia; AngelCity might be Los Angeles; Bou-Big-Tique might be New York; Kremlingrad is Russia.
- Female Misogynist: Zarpessa makes several remarks in this direction, much to the irritation of Dr. Erica and the BellaDonna.
- Four Girl Ensemble: Tookie, Dylan, Piper, and Shiraz.
- Golden Snitch: If you get a SMIZE, you've just about won a free pass to Modelland. Later on, Tookie wins a competition almost entirely because a SMIZE popped up at a convenient time.
- Gratuitous Attempted Rape: We're treated to a flashback of Creamy attempting to rape Ci~L's father. There's presumably no reason for this except to make Creamy look even more awful.
- Hairy Girl: Harriet and Abigail Goode.
- Heroic Albino: Piper
- Informed Ability: We're told that Ci~L writes excellent poetry. Then we get to read it...
- Informed Deformity: Tookie, Dylan, Shiraz, and Piper have these according to the regular denizens of Modelland. Probably intentional, seeing as they're dealing with a magical version of the modeling industry.
- Lemony Narrator: You better believe it, dahling. Though it stops after a few chapters.
- Moral Myopia: It's awful if Zarpessa is mean to Tookie. If Tookie and her friends say nasty stuff to Zarpessa, it's treated as perfectly okay.
- No Periods, Period: The girls, early on in the book, are rewarded for making it to Modelland by having their menstrual cycles stopped.
- Parental Favoritism: Tookie's parents dote on her younger sister Myrracle so much that Tookie wears "hand-me-up" clothes from her sister.
- Purple Prose: Tyra loves her thesaurus.
- Self-Insert Fic: Tyra has mentioned numerous times that people in the modeling industry have been critical of her large forehead, her ratty hair, her gawky body. She also admitted that part of the plot was inspired by her own career as a model. The About The Author page of the book is hardly subtle about it.
- Serious Business: The entire world revolves around Intoxibellas and, in the case of girls, trying to become one. Tied into that is the collecting of SMIZEs, fake eyebrow-like artifacts (one of which is featured on the cover) that increase a girl's chances of being picked for Modelland by 91%.
- Space Whale Aesop: At Thigh High Boot Camp, the girls are taught not to share makeup or buy knockoff accessories. This is accomplished by creating the illusion that they've turned into monsters after putting on makeup, and having the accessories literally attack them. These segments could be interpreted as inept attempts at metaphor, but it still makes little logical sense.
- Spork: Done here and here.
- Theme Tune: Ms. Banks has made one for Modelland. Tweet proof here.
- Unfortunate Name: Tookie is slang for "buttocks". Creamy's maiden name is Defacake.