Tyra Banks has been an inspiration to millions of girls across the world for years. Not only is she the creator and host of popular television show “America’s Next Top Model” she also holds the title of former supermodel, talk show host, author, actress, producer and many more. Declaring her a true renaissance woman Tyra has turned her runway success into a multi-media empire. Today we see Tyra as a beautiful, tall, sassy, and fiercely confident success but it was not always that easy her road to success started as a bumpy one.
During Tyra’s childhood she encountered many social pressures from her peers that caused her to experience highs and lows in self esteem. She was the popular girl next door, the one everyone wanted to be, and a mini Regina George with a mean clique to match. Well that is until mother nature knocking came with her little friend named puberty. As soon as Tyra entered high school she became experienced the exact opposite popularity and became bottom of the social food chain. Ridiculed and taunted because of her newly found growth spurt Tyra recalls "I went from being the popular girl who looked normal, to being considered a freak." Regardless of the cruelty exhibited by her classmates Tyra said it taught her important lessons on kindness and says "It turned out that the best things [to happen to me] in my life were to be made fun of, and to have no friends, and to feel miserable every single day.".
By the time she reached 17 the awkward teenage phase had passed. She now resembled the Victoria Secret’s Angel that everyone would soon know her to be and had learned to embrace her larger than life looks. Her first attempts at finding a modeling agency were less than successful, she was met with rejection and discrimination a little deja vu from her less than glamourous early high school years. Banks remembers that one agency said she looked "too ethnic" and another said that it "already had a black woman and didn't want another." Then in 1990 when hope was almost lost Tyra received a contract with Elite Model Management, one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world. Her career took off from there and she did her first shoot for the cover of Seventeen Magazine. During the early years of Tyra Banks's career she decided to take a risk and move to Paris. Banks quickly experienced overwhelming success and quickly surpassed expectations set for models new to the industry. She booked over 25 runway shows in one season instantly crowning her the model to look out for.
Growing up Tyra was taught to have an appreciation for food and gained 20-30 pounds because of it. Unfortunately back in the 90’s it was an unspoken rule that if you modeled you were forbidden to gain weight. Thin models walked the runways, graced the cover of magazines, and were the faces of fashion houses around the world. Her modeling agency then showed her a list of designers that didn’t want to book her because she was too curvy. Unwilling to starve herself and conform to the impossible standards set by the industry Banks returned to the United States 2o pounds heavier to pursue a career in swimwear and lingerie modeling. This move became the one that changed Tyra’s career and life forever and brought her to the supermodel status she owns today.
Tyra soon began pioneering the world of women’s modeling. She became the first African American woman to grace the cover of GQ, one of the original Victoria Secret’s Angels, and sold more bras and panties than any other model who had ever posed for the brand. She also had very lucrative careers with Sport’s Illustrated and Cover Girl. Not only was Tyra a heavily sought after supermodel but she was also a successful actor making several appearance on Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Love & Basketball, Coyote Ugly, Gossip Girl, and starred in her very own movie Life Sized.
Moving away from the modeling and acting scene Tyra took on the role of host and producer. In 2003 Tyra created the hit show America’s Next Top Model, a reality show geared toward aspiring models, and hosted her own talk show The Tyra Show in 2005. One of her talk show’s most notable moments was when some unflattering pics of her surfaced on the web and she marched across stage in the same bathing suit and told the media to “Kiss my fat booty!” I say more power to you girl! In 2010 she said farewell to her talk show in order to focus on promoting positive messages to women across the world. Tyra’s biggest cause is ensuring that there are healthy standards set in the modeling industry and developing girl’s who have positive outlooks on body images.
Over the years Tyra’s personal life has been put under a magnifying glass by the media constantly being observed by the public eye and judgment unfortunately is something that she’s used to. She’s been constantly ridiculed over weight gain and many other appearance “issues”, but through it all Tyra has become a stronger woman because of it. In a recent interview the supermodel that sports a size 11.5 shoe said “I realize now that failure is just as valuable as success. I’ve had failures that made me want to shrink under my bedcovers for days and feel sorry for myself, like my world was crumbling around me. In the end, I learned from each failure. I am a true believer that if you’re not experiencing failure in your work life or business, you’re playing it too safe. Shake it up. Take a risk. Without struggle, your success will be marginal.”
Tyra’s story is truly inspirational and whether you’re a girl struggling with her confidence, hurting from failure or rejection, or if you’re trying to follow in Tyra’s same footsteps we can all identify with some part of her story. We should keep our heads held high regardless of the negativity thrown at us everyday because it only takes one yes one piece of positivity to make a world of difference.
Have a great day Lovelies!
Olivia Gibson is currently an ambitious student from the Metro Atlanta area, who has future hopes of becoming established in the fashion industry for marketing and sales. Her passion for fashion started out at a young age. She knew who Ralph Lauren was before she knew her times tables. As the years went on, her interest in couture grew. Shoes are her specialty and there’s a part of her heart solely reserved for them. Fashion is her life and she could not imagine a future in anything else. Olivia enjoys writing about current industry trends and events in the ever changing world of fashion and entertainment. She eventually wants to impact the world positively and hopes that fashion will give her an outlet to do just that.