The Face premieres Feb 12 on Oxygen: See the kickoff special Tuesday

Oxygen will air its The Face casting special The Face: The Fight to Make the Final 12 on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9pm in advance of the modeling competition’s Feb. 12 series premiere.

Hosted by America’s Next Top Model vet Nigel Barker, The Face features a dozen modeling hopefuls from varying backgrounds and experience levels competing in teams of four coached by supermodels Naomi Campbell (who picks a team full of spitfires), Karolina Krukova (who chooses classically stunning beauties like herself) and 24-year-old It Girl Coco Rocha. If you’re not familiar with the confident Canadian, she’s the stunner who danced on the table in last spring’s memorable White House | Black Market television ads, and her team choices reflect her self-professed loathing for playing it safe.

 

On tomorrow night’s casting special, 24 finalists watch all three coaches walk in Zac Posen’s spring runway show during New York Fashion Week for inspiration then battle it out beauty-style for a spot in the final 12 and a shot becoming the face of ULTA Beauty. Without a shrinking violet in the beauty-icon bunch, Campbell, Kurkova and Rocha aren’t shy about mixing it up a little over top contenders.

“I’ve been asked, like, for the last 12 years to do television,” Campbell told reporters at a recent press conference, when asked what drew her to star in and executive produce the project. “I felt like I do have something that I can share from the business of 26 years under my belt and giving it over to young, hopeful supermodels who want to be in our business today.”

Barker told the same crowd it was the show’s insider’s look at the realities of the modeling world that drew him in. “Obviously I’ve been on other shows, similar genres  … this is the real world of modeling with three of the biggest names in the business,” he says. “You really get an inside look at exactly how they operate and why they are supermodels, and it’s a unique take that you’ve just never seen before.”

Campbell also said she welcomed the chance to be something of a life coach to her charges, as well. “We are their everything, not only their mentors,” she noted. “I felt extremely responsible for Team Naomi in every way, on camera and off camera, days off, days on. I stayed in touch with my girls, absolutely, up until yesterday.  I care about how their career goes, what agents they end up with, what jobs they take on, and how they get through them.”

To that end, Kurkova reiterated, she and her fellow mentors are looking for someone who shows savvy behind the camera as well as in front of it. “A supermodel is someone who is 360, right?” she said. “Someone who can talk, who is a businesswoman …. especially being a face of a media brand. We’re looking for the package, not just the pretty face who just looks good.”

So you can expect to see the competitors make their own fashion and photo shoot choices for a multitude of settings, fashion trends and potential clients and work effectively with each other, brand representatives and celebrity guests from the modeling and entertainment realms.

Asked to walk down memory lane to the first time they knew they were beautiful, all three modeling superstars offered self-deprecating answers.

“When I was a huge Culture Club fan [at age 13]. that’s when I thought I was okay,” smiled Campbell.

“I actually never felt beautiful,” said Kurkova, who launched her career at 15. “I grew up in a small town in Czech Republic. I always drew too much attention but not for the right reasons. … For me, when I really felt beautiful is when I was pregnant.”

“One thing that is kind of fascinating about models is that most of us were the dorky, nerdy kid in school,” Rocha explained. “Not everyone, but a huge percentage of us. No one liked you. Boys didn’t want to date you.  I was an Irish dancing nerd …”

“You still are, honey,” joked Barker.

The Face: The Fight to Make the Final 12 kickoff special airs Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9pm ET on Oxygen.
The Face premieres in its regular time slot Tuesday Feb. 12 at 9pm.

Photos/video: Oxygen

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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