This past weekend the Tyra Banks brand exploded all over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for what can be described as every girly-girl’s fantasy, ANTM Live!

I made my way around a pink carpet, through a glittery “paparazzi” wall at the entrance, past a Wild Vines wine lounge, Tech Tap social media lounge, John Frieda hair salon demo, fashion shows, model scouting and 8 million other fun things. Mostly, I just didn’t really know what was going on and tried to avoid the flat iron & hairspray-infused pockets of air.

I was tempted to dive into all the free makeover booths, taking elements of catwalk style and ANTM photoshoot looks and applying them to the eager girls in attendance (think: panda-face makeup and teased french-braided faux hawk.) But I had a glimpse of myself on the subway ride home, and out of context I would’ve felt a tad silly. So instead I was delighted to wander, snap, chat and watch it all go down, in true ANTM fabulousness. 

Sidebar: Wouldn’t it have been amazing if Tyra had popped out of a corner at one point, like 0:55 of this? Yes.

Some top model beauty secrets include Eye Kandy, glitter eye makeup that stays put all day, and Violent Lips, temporary lip tattoos that come in outrageous patterns like leopard and Union Jack. I couldn’t stop smeyes-ing when I discovered Violent Lips and happily tucked hot pink leopard into my bag, for a guest appearance on a wild Queen West night. Werk, baby! All the way from Norway, The Original One Piece models strutted around in comfy, cozy and stylish PJs (clothes?). Apparently they’re “sweatsuits for recovering from a night on the town, but without the tight waistband and pressure to go jogging”. 

Free samples? The best hair extensions? The cutest earrings? The hottest bras? All this and more was available at special ANTM Live prices. PLUS spray tanning pods and teeth whitening lasers. If you had the time & desire, you could literally walk into ANTM Live an average Joe/Jane and walk out a Top Model (almost). 

I considered joining a faux mile-high club and posing with a Porter Pilot, living out a “jet-setter” fantasy of sorts until I was alerted to the screams heard throughout the Convention Centre, meaning one thing and one thing only: THE TOP MODELS ARE IN THE HOUSE! All-stars and winners from previous cycles of ANTM like Shannon, Bianca, Camille, and Isis (the only transgendered model to appear on ANTM) stepped out and gave autographs to droves of adoring fans. Competition to get close was fierce. Lisa D’Amato appeared to be fan favourite with the biggest mob scene, possibly because of her side career as a rap/elektro artist

Check out what you missed in our ANTM Live photo gallery below:

– Becca Lemire 

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)