Most of us, girls, have to admit that we had indulged in watching America’s Next Top Model probably on more than one occasion and couldn’t help but fall in love with the incredible Tyra Banks. To be completely honest, I was obsessed with the show not only because you can learn a lot about the fashion industry, but also because of the inspiration and the outlook on life that Tyra offers. Last month was her 41st birthday and well, she still is as gorgeous looking as ever. We all know she is not just a pretty face – she is a strong voice for women and the living proof that you CAN do everything you put your mind to. From a top model she moved into a successful TV personality, businesswoman and entrepreneur and her latest endeavor is her own cosmetic line. I am going to share with you some of her story and views which are so empowering. So without further ado, I present to you miss Tyra Banks!
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The beauty was born on December 4, 1973 in Inglewood, California into the family of Caroline London and Donald Banks. She also has a five-year older brother – Devin. However, at the tender age of six her parents divorced, which as it turned out had a great effect on Tyra as till today she claims: I never had dreams that “Oh, I’m going to walk down the aisle in a white dress, with my husband …” maybe because I’m the product of divorced parents, and see so much divorces, especially in my industry, it’s not something that I glamorize.
On the other hand, her mother is maybe the pillar of her support system. As every person, Tyra’s childhood had its bumps. As she lost a considerable amount of weight over one summer, she was picked on for looking wired and alienesque. All of this had its toll and Tyra closed herself up, going through something like kid depression. However, change was just around the corner, coming in the shape of a girl who suggested that Tyra should be a model.
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Her modeling career was not a smooth one as well. Firstly, she was rejected from several agencies one of them even saying she was not photogenic. However, she was not a quitter and thank God for that. At last, Tyra was signed by L.A. Models and then switched to Elite Model Management. Than she got the opportunity to model in Europe and moved to Milan. After that things started to unravel with fast pace and she was conquering the fashion world. In her first runway season, she was booked in 25 shows at the 1991 Paris Fashion Week. Tyra was making her way to the Super Model status. Of course, at such an early age as she was only 15 – 16 years old, the competitiveness and the media was a lot to take in, but she had the unconditional love and support of her mother. Thanks to that she grow to be the strong woman she is today. The whole world is saying a huge Thank You, Mama Banks!
“But I was lucky to have my mom as a role model. It made me strong. Now I’m taking my mom’s messages and using my platform to spread that to millions of women.”
She found herself walking and posing for brands like Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent, Swatch, Dolce & Gabbana, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger. The peak of her career was in 1996 when she became the first black woman ever to grace the cover of Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. I think this was the start of her shaping as a feminist role model.
The famous Sport’s Illustrated cover
A few years later, as she grew, her body changed and the agents started saying Tyra needs to drop 10 pounds in order to continue working. Than she and her mother had a conversation over a pizza in Milan about the future of Tyra’s career. And the solution was found in switching from high fashion to Victoria’s Secret, which was a fantastic move and a huge success.
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Tyra was always a smart girl and was thinking ahead and planing; she was well aware that you cannot be a model forever. Therefore, in the last years of her modeling career not only did she star in several movies, but she also set up her production company Bankable Productions. Her firs project was America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) which till today, after 21 seasons, is still a ravishing success with millions of viewers all over the world.
This was just the first step, her first platform to speak. After retiring from the runway, Tyra also started her own talk show. It was all about support for women of all sizes, shapes and colors. She always strives to show all of us how important it is to learn to see the good and the beautiful in ourselves. Whether on ANTM choosing corky looking girl teaching them and others to see that beauty is not always conventional, or on the Tyra Show talking about self-image. What I really love about her that she is fiercely real. She shares her own experience and you get to see that even perfect looking gorgeous women like her also have self-doubt issues. But what is great is that she tries to equip all women with a coping mechanism.
One of the bravest things she ever did was connected with the big paparazzi scandal several years ago, when they shot some pictures of Tyra in her swim suit in Brazil, which the least to say were not very flattering. They went on calling her Tyra Pork Chops. However, she is not the one to stand quite in the corner and to sob. She took this as an opportunity to speak about every curvy woman out there. She rose above the occasion, explaining how all of this attitude is putting woman down and yes, she is not perfect as well and wears certain types of clothes and underwear which are right for her body type and highlights the goods, whilst hides the not so great parts. She really had an emotional moment which concluded with Kiss my fat ass!
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I want to end with one of Tyra’s messages: “Stop that! Stop saying these negative things about yourself. Look in the mirror and find something about yourself that’s positive and celebrate that!”
Please share your fierceness below!
Feature image: unsplash.com