First it was The Bachelor. Now it's America's Next Top Model. New Zealand just can't stop hosting American reality TV shows!
This week's Top Model took place in New Zealand. In every season of Top Model, the remaining six contestants go to some exotic location where they will be for they will be for the remainder of the competition, including the fashion show walk-off finale. The girls flew to Auckland, which didn't look that great in the rain when the girls drove all over city trying to meet with the most modeling agencies and clothing companies. Luckily, it cleared up and redeemed itself with a double rainbow, which the girls enjoyed from the penthouse of the ultra-luxury building, The Sentinel. (Similar to the photo above, which was not taken at The Sentinel, but is still awesome nonetheless.)
The next day, the contestants left the city to do a photo shoot on the hillside with a curly-horned ram. The show didn't say exactly where they went. I'll be excited to see where in New Zealand they venture to in the upcoming episodes. I hope they go to Queenstown, as I completely wowed by the scenery they showed in the second-to-last episode of The Bachelor (starring Jason Melnick, spring 2009). The Bachelor finale took place in the Bay of Islands up north, which was very pretty but it was no Queenstown. (At least not on my TV.)
What interests me most about all this is how excited the New Zealand Tourism bureau seems to be, creating a special Top Model microsite. According to eTurbo News and The Scoop, the NZ tourism folks seem to hope that Top Model will help bring more American tourists. The US is NZ's third largest tourist market, following Australia and the UK. Last year 196,452 Americans visited, and they're hoping to get that number up to 320,000 per year by 2014. I hope to visit to NZ by 2014 — it's been on the top of my husband's travel list for years. But it's been hard to coordinate because he prefers to take longer trips over the summer, which is New Zealand's winter. I imagine this is a problem for other Americans, too. I wonder if they can have some sort of advertising campaign addressing that issue, i.e., the joys of New Zealand in winter…