7. Norelle Is Lost in Translation (Cycle 3)
For many of the girls, traveling abroad is the highlight of their time on Top Model. This is not the case for Norelle, however. She is an American valley girl through and through, right down to considering Paris Hilton to be her idol. Momentarily, Norelle is excited by Japan because it is the home of Hello Kitty, but then she finds herself experiencing major culture shock, prompting her to declare that Japan is the “most difficult place [she’s] ever been in [her] life.”
For starters, Norelle doesn’t like the food. She explains, “I do not eat Japanese food. If I do, I eat, like, Panda Express?” (Actually, that’s Chinese food. Or, well, it’s supposed to be Chinese food.) Her lodging at a capsule hotel, a building filled with tiny compartments to maximize the occupancy, is not to Norelle’s liking either. She compares her stay to sleeping in a kennel and starts meowing.
While everyone struggles to deliver Japanese lines at a commercial shoot, Norelle finds it especially difficult. She asks, “I can barely speak English, and you want me to speak Japanese?” Later, she admits that she learned the phrase “osakini” because it sounds like “old socks and bikinis.”
It probably doesn’t help that, on top of it all, her two best friends, Eva and Ann, appear to be getting a “divorce”. Norelle becomes collateral damage in their arguments, leaving her to lament, “My one friend wants me to go home [and] my one friend thinks I’m fat.” Poor, Norelle, at times like these just remember WWPHD? (What would Paris Hilton do?)
The height of Norelle’s confusion occurs at challenge where the girls must learn how to behave at a traditional tea ceremony. She doesn’t understand why drinking tea has to be such a process, noting that “opening a sliding door in Japan seriously takes five minutes.” Norelle drops her utensil, bows poorly, and when one of the judges asks how she is enjoying Japan, she barely tries to pretend: “It’s different… the weather is hard for me to adjust to, and the food too… but I like it.” In the end, the head judge who tries to be polite finally concludes, “She didn’t do very nicely, actually.”
Though getting sent home from Japan early is probably a blessing in disguise for Norelle, I would love to see her star in a travel show where she returns to the country she equates to outer-space and hilariously self-destruct all over again.
(Thanks to YouTube user dangerouslyconfused for compiling these clips, in what appears to be an unfinished project of his or her own. Norelle’s Japan adventures start about 2 minutes into the above video.)