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Background Check: Cassandra Jean

There's this show called America's Next Top Model. I know! It sounds totally great. But it's actually about snooty monsters watching beautiful women strut as they dispense vague criticisms like "Girl, you BROUGHT it, but you didn't WORK it, even though you made it WORK." 

It's like the real contest is between the judges to see who can level a woman's self-esteem in the most arbitrary terms possible. The audience for this show is comprised entirely of our nation's girlfriend's single roommates. Some say it's misogynist because it treats women like slabs of meat, but the real offense is it doesn't show meat the respect it deserves. So even though it's a program about a dozen stunning ladies, you're better off staying away from it.

Cassandra Jean did just that. Since Hollywood never gazes upon a knockout without telling her to lose 10 lbs and dye her hair snowy blonde, the show gave this lovely Texan next door a cornmeal-yellow bob.

Cassandra Whitehead with a very white headShe didn't like that so much, and when host Tyra Banks gave her a choice between losing even more hair or helping the judges spin a web from which no fly could escape, Cassandra chose Option C: screw this show.

She quit the contest and instead acted her way up from "murder victim" to "pretty girl" to "model." So ha ha, show that has never actually made anyone a top model. The one person who lived out your constant advice to "Be real" and "Stay tru 2 urself" had the gumption to flip you off, and found more success playing possible lipstick lesbian Carolyn Jones on Mad Men. That series is set in an era when being a model meant looking good, not shaving your eyebrows and licking a domesticated macaque named "Sturmunddrang" that makes more money than you do. 

Cassandra Jean as Carolyn JonesNot that we wouldn't be into that (assuming the macaque was also model-hot); we're just saying get the basics down before you make things weird, fashion industry. See, fashion is like sex -- men want both to be over as quickly as possible. Ho ho! No, we kid. It's like sex because you can't just throw your freaky business all out on the table at the start. Let folks get familiar with your charms before you shave a woman's head for your own pleasure, that's all we're asking. 

So we salute you, Cassandra Jean. You have the stone ovaries to stand up to some terrible people and be true to yourself, and that's the sexiest thing anybody can do, model or not (in our case, definitely not). Also, you're freaking gorgeous, which you may have noticed goes a long way with the fellows here at Maxim


Cassandra Jean Whitehead by David Heisler
David Heisler Photography


Brendan McGinley brings it, but never works it.

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