Hossin’ is a chowin’ for new Shear Genius host Camila Alves

Shear Genius has always been the least interesting of Bravo’s line-up of talented people competition series–hair cuts just aren’t that interesting to watch–so changes were welcome. So for its third season, Bravo introduced a new host, mentor, and new judge.

But Jacyln Smith’s hosting was never really the problem, and the new host, Camila Alves, isn’t good, and is actually making the show worse. I hate to define women by their connections to men, but really, her biggest claim to fame seems to be her relationship with Matthew McConaughey, and this gig won’t do much to change that. (In fairness, Bravo’s announcement defined her as an “international model and handbag designer.”)

Let’s be honest: Camila isn’t a good host because she can’t speak well. Last night, for example, she said, “You will be judgin’ how well your Finnish hair sty incorporates your chosen shape, and the ovary stow of your Finissh look. The winner of this chowin’ will re-sieve first choys of model in tomorrow’s e-women nation chowin’.” After the photo shoot, she said, “Thank you, everyone, for a great shoe,” and then revealed the twist: the contestants would have to “change your modest hair stows.”

It’s almost comical, and I was in disbelief that she was really the host for the first few episodes; how could Bravo move forward after even a day of shooting? A lot of trailing consonants and syllables get dropped, and other words get smoothed out so that they change into other words. As a result, when she says the name of the show, it sounds like “she jean us,” and every episode ends with the (already stupid) new catch phrase, which sounds like “Stalins, remember, hair is imported.”

The tragic part about this is that, besides Camila’s inability to speak clearly, she’s not bad, and seems to be a pretty great judge and host at times: easygoing, comfortable, critical and biting in a non-obnoxious way. She can also smack down the designers when they need to be smacked down. That is, if they can understand her.

At first, I felt kind of xenophobic criticizing her accent and sometimes unintelligible English. But it’s not the fact that she’s from Brazil nor her accent alone; as we all know, Heidi Klum is one of Bravo’s best host/judges, and her accent certainly doesn’t inhibit her hosting. I wonder if some of her awkward dialogue is a product of producers telling her what to say (which is painfully obvious sometimes) and selecting phrases that aren’t natural. Whatever it is, it needs help.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.