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Tyra Banks

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Subject: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Heidi Klum, Laetitia Casta, Karen Mulder, Eva Herzigová
Collection: 1973 Births, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 21St-Century American Actresses, Actresses from Los Angeles, California, African-American Actresses, African-American Businesspeople, African-American Christians, African-American Female Models, African-American Female Singers, African-American Game Show Hosts, African-American Television Personalities, African-American Television Talk Show Hosts, American Businesspeople in Retailing, American Cosmetics Businesspeople, American Film Actresses, American People of British Descent, American People of Native American Descent, American Philanthropists, American Television Actresses, American Women in Business, Businesspeople from Los Angeles, California, Lgbt Rights Activists from the United States, Living People, Models from California, Musicians from Los Angeles, California, People from Inglewood, California, Singers from California, Television Personalities from California, Television Producers from California
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Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks
Interview at Harvard Business School, 2011
Born Tyra Lynne Banks
(1973-12-04) December 4, 1973
Inglewood, California, U.S.
Residence Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Nationality American
  • Model
  • actress
  • singer
  • author
  • television personality
  • television host
  • producer
Years active 1991–present
Website .comtyra
Modeling information
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1][2]
Hair color Brown[3]
Eye color Green[3]
Measurements 34.5–24–36 (US/UK)
87.5–61–91.5 (EU)[3]
Dress size (US) 6, (EU) 36[3]
Shoe size (US) 9, (EU) 41, (UK) 6[3]
Manager d'management group (Milan)

Tyra Lynne Banks[4] (born December 4, 1973)[5] is an American model, television personality, talk show host, producer, author, actress, singer and business woman.

She began her career as a model at age 15 and rose to fame, becoming the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, of which she appeared twice. She is one of the original Victoria's Secret Angels. By the early 2000s, Banks was one of the top-earning models in the world. Subsequently she moved onto television and film, known for her roles as Eve in Disney channel's Life-Size, and Zoe in the box office hit Coyote Ugly. Banks first appeared on television on the show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and has since been featured in small roles in romantic film Love & Basketball, horror film Halloween: Resurrection, has appeared in numerous television shows, including Gossip Girl and Glee.

In 2003, Banks created and became the host of the UPN/The CW long-running reality television show America's Next Top Model. Banks was also the co-creator of True Beauty, and was the host of her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, which aired on The CW for five seasons and won two Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Informative. She currently co-hosts the talk show FABLife.

In 2010, she published a young adult novel titled Modelland, based on her life as a model which topped The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011.[6] Banks is one of four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by TIME magazine.[7][8]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Modeling 2.1
    • Film and television 2.2
  • Other projects 3
    • Music 3.1
    • Writing 3.2
    • Cosmetics 3.3
    • Website 3.4
  • Personal life 4
    • Relationships 4.1
    • Education 4.2
  • Philanthropy 5
  • Filmography 6
    • Film 6.1
    • Television 6.2
    • Music videos 6.3
  • Publications 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Tyra Banks was born in Inglewood, California. She is the daughter of Caroline London (now London-Johnson), a NASA photographer,[5] and Donald Banks, a computer consultant.[9][10] From a DNA test on America's Next Top Model it was revealed Tyra is of Black, British, and Native American ancestry. She has a brother, Devin, who is five years older.[11] In 1979, when Banks was six years old, her parents divorced. Banks attended John Burroughs Middle School and graduated in 1991 from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. While growing up, Banks states she was teased for her appearance and considered an "ugly duckling";[12][13] when Banks was 11 years old she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in three months.[14]



External images
Banks's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from January 26, 1996
Banks's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from February 21, 1997

When Banks was 15 years old, she started modeling while attending school in Los Angeles. She was rejected by four modeling agencies before she was signed by L.A. Models and then switched to Elite Model Management at age 16. When she got the opportunity to model in Europe, she moved to Milan. In her first runway season, she was booked in 25 shows at the 1991 Paris Fashion Week. She would later appear on the covers of magazines such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Spanish Vogue. She walked the runways for Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Herve Leger, Valentino, Fendi, Isaac Mizrahi, Armani, Sonia Rykiel, Michael Kors and others. She has featured in advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Swatch, Tommy Hilfiger, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Got Milk?, Pepsi and Nike.[15] In 1993, Banks signed a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, launching advertising campaigns for the cosmetics company. In the mid-1990s, Banks returned to America to do more commercial modeling.

Banks was the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.[16] In 1997, she received the VH1 award for, "Supermodel of the Year".[8] That same year, she became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog.[17] She was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.[18] In 2010, Banks re-signed with her former modeling agency IMG Models.[19] Banks is now a contributor of the Vogue Italia website.[20] She has since started focusing on her film career and hosting her own TV show.

Film and television

Banks at Cannes Film Festival in 2000

Banks's television career began on the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which she played lead character Will Smith's old friend Jackie Ames.[21] She made seven appearances in the series.[8][22] Other TV credits include Felicity,[23] All That, MADtv, Nick Cannon's Wild 'n Out (in which she was featured as a special guest host and team captain)[24] and The Price Is Right (guest-starring as a "Barker's Beauty").[25][26] She also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode entitled "Chinatown".[27]

Banks started her production company, "Ty Ty Baby Productions" — soon afterward changed to Bankable Productions — which produced The Tyra Banks Show, America's Next Top Model and the 2008 movie The Clique.[28] Banks is the hostess, judge and executive producer of The CW's America's Next Top Model. In addition, she hosted The Tyra Banks Show, a daytime talk show aimed at younger women, which premiered on September 12, 2005, and ran until May 28, 2010.[29] In 2008, Banks won the Daytime Emmy Award for her work and production on The Tyra Banks Show,[30] and won for the second time in a row for outstanding, informative talkshow in 2009.[31] In 2010, Oprah Winfrey congratulated Tyra Banks for a good job done on her talk-show for inspiring and mentoring young women.[32] On May 30, 2014, Disney–ABC Domestic Television announced their plans to develop a lifestyle syndicated talk show, with Banks serving as executive producer and host, to debut sometime in 2015.[33][34]

Banks's first big screen role came in 1994, when she co-starred in the drama Higher Learning.[35] She then co-starred with Lindsay Lohan in the Disney film Life-Size, playing a doll named Eve who comes to life and has to learn how to live in the real world. Other notable roles include Love Stinks (1999), Love & Basketball (2000), Coyote Ugly (2000) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002).[8] She and Miley Cyrus poke fun at the excesses of the Hollywood lifestyle with a battle over a pair of shoes in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009).[36] Banks appeared in the fourth episode of the third season of Gossip Girl playing Ursula Nyquist, a larger-than-life actress.[37] She also appeared on the Disney Channel show Shake It Up as a shy school librarian.[38]

In 2012, reported that Banks will co-create and produce an ABC comedy series based on her teenage years titled Fivehead.[39]

Banks currently star in the round table lineup talk show FABLife that consists of model and food writer Chrissy Teigen, fashionista Joe Zee, interior designer Lauren Makk, and do-it-yourself YouTuber Leah Ashley, using a format similar to The View, The Talk, The Real and The Social, offering up wide range of topics from celebrity gossip to do-it-yourself tips.[40][41]

Other projects


Banks in Santa Monica on September 14, 2011

Banks has appeared in several music videos, including Too Funky" (with supermodels Linda Evangelista, Estelle Lefébure, Emma Sjoberg and Nadja Auermann ) and Lionel Richie's "Don't Wanna Lose You". In 2004, she recorded her first single, "Shake Ya Body", which had a music video featuring the final six contestants of cycle 2 of America's Next Top Model. The video world-premiered on UPN.[42] Banks released a single with NBA player Kobe Bryant, entitled "K.O.B.E.", which was performed on NBA TV.[8] She also has a single on the soundtrack to Disney Channel's Original Movie Life-Size called "Be a Star".[8]


Banks announced in May 2010 that she would be writing a novel, titled Modelland,[43] loosely based on her own modelling experience.[44] Published September 2011, it is the first of a planned three-part series.[45] In an interview with Good Morning America, Banks stated that Modelland is the story of four girls who are accepted into an "exclusive" modelling school in the world of Modelland.[46] Her first novel, Modelland, topped The New York Times Best Seller list in October 2011. In 1998, Banks co-authored a book entitled Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out.[47]


In 2014, Banks started a cosmetics brand; Tyra Beauty, which she enrolled at Harvard Business School specifically for.[48] All the products are designed by herself and are in a stick form. Additionally they are all self-funded.[49]


In March 2011, Banks launched her fashion and beauty website called "", which she co-created with Demand Media.[50]

In 2015, she launched her interactive cosmetic e-commerce site called "".[51]

Personal life


Tyra was romantically linked to musician Seal, film director John Singleton[52] and actor Will Smith in the 1990s.[53] She dated basketball player Chris Webber from 2001 to 2004.[52][54]

She is known for being outspoken on abusive relationships, having been a victim herself. In 2005, when asked about her relationship history, she stated, 'I won't be using a lot of names [on the show], but a specific relationship had not just cheating but emotional abuse. It was really bad, but that made me strong.'[55] In 2009, she opened up about her past relationships when she made a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, hosting alongside Oprah Winfrey. The episode was dedicated to dating violence in response to the assault of Rihanna by Chris Brown.[56][57][58]


Banks at the 2012 Time 100 gala

In 2011, Banks enrolled in the nine-week[59] Owner/President Management Program (OPM) at [59] Banks completed the Executive Education Training Program in February 2012, earning a certificate.[60][61] Tyra has come under intense criticism for implying she is a Harvard "graduate".[62] A biting article in Jezebel referred to her statements on Harvard as "disingenuous", and called upon her to "stop lying" about Harvard.[63][64] The Harvard Crimson, an undergraduate student newspaper, was critical of Tyra's public statements about "attending" Harvard.[65]

On the other hand, as a much more positive Harvard Crimson article had reported at the conclusion of her time as a student, "Banks will be remembered within the HBS curriculum. Professor Rohit Deshpande is preparing a case study on Bankable Productions, Banks’ independent film and television production company, to be incorporated into future coursework for the Executive Education Owner/President Management Program."[66] According to the Harvard Business School news organization, she spoke with HBS Professor and Senior Associate Dean Youngme E. Moon in front of a select audience at HBS on Valentine's Day 2013. More than 100 students and faculty were invited to attend the event where she spoke about her business and her reasons for attending the program.[67]


Banks established the TZONE program, which aimed at leadership and life skills development.[68][69] Banks acts as the patron for TZONE. She has also established the Tyra Banks Scholarship, a fund aimed at providing African-American girls the opportunity to attend her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School. In 2005, TZONE transformed from a camp into a public charity, the Tyra Banks TZONE.[70]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Higher Learning Deja
1999 Love Stinks Holly Garnett
1999 Apartment Complex, TheThe Apartment Complex Herself Television film
2000 Love & Basketball Kyra Kessler
2000 Life-Size Eve Television film
2000 Coyote Ugly Zoe
2002 Halloween: Resurrection Nora Winston
2002 Eight Crazy Nights Victoria's Secret gown Voice
2004 Larceny Herself
2007 Mr. Woodcock Herself Cameo appearance
2008 Tropic Thunder Herself Cameo appearance
2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie Herself Uncredited cameo appearance


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, TheThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Jackie Ames 7 episodes
1996 All That Customer Episode: "Tyra Banks/Blackstreet"
1997 New York Undercover Natasha Claybourne 3 episodes
1998 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Herself Episode: "Chinatown"
1999 Just Shoot Me! Herself 2 episodes
1999 Hughleys, TheThe Hughleys Nicole Episode: "Sap and the Star"
2000 MADtv Katisha Latisha Parisha Farisha Johnson 2 episodes
2000 Felicity Jane Scott 3 episodes
2001 Soul Food Nina Joseph Episode: "Ordinary Pain"
2003–2015 America's Next Top Model Herself Host and judge
2004 All of Us Roni Episode: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
2004 American Dreams Carolyn Gill Episode: "Chasing the Past"
2005–10 Tyra Banks Show, TheThe Tyra Banks Show Herself Host
2009 Gossip Girl Ursula Nyquist Episode: "Dan de Fleurette"
2011 Mexico's Next Top Model Herself Guest judge; cycle 2 finale
2012 Vietnam's Next Top Model Herself Guest judge; cycle 2 finale
2012–13 Shake It Up Mrs. Burke 1 episode
2012 Top Model po-russki Herself Guest judge; cycle 3 finale
2013 Asia's Next Top Model Herself Guest judge; cycle 1 finale
2013 Glee Bichette Episode: "Movin' Out"
2014 Korea's Next Top Model Herself Guest judge; cycle 5 casting Episode
2015 Australia's Next Top Model Herself Guest judge; cycle 9 finale
2015–present FABLife Herself Host

Music videos

Year Music video Artist
1991 "Black or White" Michael Jackson
1991 "Love Thing" Tina Turner
1992 "Too Funky" George Michael
1995 "Trife Life" Mobb Deep
1996 "Don't Wanna Lose You" Lionel Richie
2004 "Shake Ya Body" Herself
2015 "BOOTYful" Herself


  • Vanessa Thomas, Bush; Banks, Tyra (1998). Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out. Harper Perennial.  
  • Banks, Tyra (2011).  


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