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Literature / Modelland

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"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 a Young Adult novel written by former supermodel and America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks. It was meant to be the first part of a series, but no sequels ever materialized. It's 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 modern day supermodels and sorceresses, 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.
  • Aerith and Bob: Tookie, Myrracle (pronounced "miracle"), Theophilus Lovelaces, Zarpessa Zarionneax, Desperada, Abigail, Lizzie, Brian.
  • Alpha Bitch: Zarpessa.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Bravo tells Tookie about a little boy named Deco, who dreamt of being an architect. She quickly figures out that "Deco" is really Bravo.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Tyra gets things wrong about albinos the vast majority of the time.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The accident in which Chris lost his eye begins with Creamy accidentally shining a beam of light from her mirror into his eye while he's on the high wire. It seems this is going to be connected to the eye loss, but while he falls seven stories, he's perfectly fine... until he bows to the audience and somehow manages to impale his own eye on a decorative sword.
  • 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.
  • Bullying the Dragon: At Modelland, Zarpessa keeps bullying Tookie, even though Tookie could reveal Zarpessa's poverty to the other students.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Multiple times, Tookie just happens to sleepwalk to someplace she's not allowed to go, and where, by pure chance, she comes across vital information. How she manages to get in is never properly explained.
    • When Tookie needs to find a secret route out from Modelland, her boyfriend Bravo just happens to know where one is, and he mentions it without even being told Tookie needed one.
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Averted. Most of the time, Tookie gets what she wants without making any real effort.
    • Hot guy Bravo is attracted to her just like that, and stays attracted to her even when she treats him like something the cat dragged in.
    • When she needs to get out of Modelland, she finds a hidden route without even having to try to find it.
    • She gets admitted to Modelland without even performing the ceremony for applying in the first place.
  • 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 is the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin cities region, so of course the quadruplets are from there; 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.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Tookie is afraid that her mother will send her away to be a factory dependent. Tookie could easily avoid this by using her perfect language skills to get a lucrative job as a translator, but the thought never strikes her.
    • At one point, Tookie and her friends need to get out of Modelland. They can either go straight to the dangerous place known as the Diabolical Divide, or take another route that's got a 50% chance of taking them to the Diabolical Divide, and a 50% chance of taking them somewhere safe. Dylan says they should take the route that definitely leads to the Diabolical Divide, because she wants to know where she's going. All the other girls agree with this.
  • Informed Ability: We're told that Ci~L writes excellent poetry. Then we get to read it...
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Tookie is supposed to have always dreamed of going to Modelland. But when she reaches Modelland, she needs Zarpessa to explain many of the things and places there. Why Tookie hadn't bothered to learn about a place she supposedly dreamt about is anybody's guess.
    • The narration informs us that Tookie cares deeply for her friend Lizzie. But several times in the book, Tookie knows that Lizzie is in danger, and doesn't bother to try to help her even though it would be relatively easy.
  • 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. Tookie in particular is said to be so forgettable that you'll forget she exists even if she's right in front of you, but the narration keeps stressing how bizarre her looks are. And being bizarre is the opposite of being plain.
  • Invisible Introvert: Tookie describes herself as a "Forgeddagirl", being so shy and forgettable that she may as well literally be invisible. So much so that she can literally lie down in the middle of a crowded hallway and people will just walk right over her without giving her so much as a glance.
  • 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.
  • Mysterious Past: Very little is told about Lizzie, despite her knowledge about hidden things (such as an untapped platinum mine) and signs of PTSD.
  • 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%.
  • Shoe Size Angst: Tookie is embarrassed of her "snowshoe-sized" feet.
  • Single-Minded Twins: The quadruplets not only look alike, they each say a word of a sentence and have the exact same favorite food.
  • 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.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Tookie is one for Theo for much of the book, until she meets Bravo.
  • Straw Misogynist: Zarpessa is an unrealistically extreme example.
  • Theme Tune: Ms. Banks has made one for Modelland. Tweet proof here.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Hunchy?
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: A line in one of the BellaDonna's songs goes "You crosseth mine gold path today." According to the rules of old English, it should go "You cross my gold path today."