Tyra Banks

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Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Banks at the 2012 Time 100 gala
BornTyra Lynne Banks
(1973-12-04) December 4, 1973 (age 40)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
  • Supermodel
  • Actress
  • Author
  • Television host
Years active1991–present
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1][2]
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Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Banks at the 2012 Time 100 gala
BornTyra Lynne Banks
(1973-12-04) December 4, 1973 (age 40)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
  • Supermodel
  • Actress
  • Author
  • Television host
Years active1991–present
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1][2]

Tyra Lynne Banks[3] (born December 4, 1973)[4] is an American television personality, television producer, author, actress and former model.[5][6][7] She first became famous as a model, appearing twice on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and working for Victoria's Secret as one of their original Angels. Banks is the creator and host of the UPN/The CW reality television show America's Next Top Model, co-creator of True Beauty, and was the host of her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show.

Banks is one of four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by Time magazine.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

Tyra Banks was born in California. She is the daughter of Caroline London (now London-Johnson), a NASA photographer,[4] and Donald Banks, a computer consultant.[5][10] She has a brother, Devin, who is five years older.[11] In 1979, when Banks was 6 years old, her parents divorced. Banks attended John Burroughs Middle School and graduated in 1991 from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. As a child Tyra Banks suffered from what she calls[where?] an "ugly duckling" period in her life; when Banks was eleven years old she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in three months.[citation needed]



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 six 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 put college on hold and 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, Teen Vogue and Vogue. She walked the runways for Chanel, Valentino, Fendi and others. She has featured in advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren and Nike.[12] 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.[13] In 1997, she received the VH1 award for, "Supermodel of the Year."[9] That same year, she became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog.[14] She was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.[15] In 2010, Banks re-signed with her former modeling agency IMG Models.[16] Banks is now a contributor of the Vogue Italia website.[17] She has since started focusing on her film career and hosting her own TV show.

Move into television and film[edit]

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.[18] She made seven appearances in the series.[9][19] Other TV credits include Felicity,[20] All That, MADtv, Nick Cannon's Wild 'n Out (in which she was featured as a special guest host and team captain)[21] and The Price Is Right (guest-starring as a "Barker's Beauty").[22][23] She also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode entitled "Chinatown."[24]

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.[25] 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.[26] In 2008, Banks won the Daytime Emmy Award for her work and production on The Tyra Banks Show,[27] and won for the second time in a row for outstanding, informative talkshow in 2009.[28] In 2010, Oprah Winfrey congratulated Tyra Banks for a good job done on her talk-show for inspiring and mentoring young women.[29]

In late-January 2008, Banks got the go-ahead from The CW Television Network to start work on a new reality television series based on fashion magazines called Modelitha. The show premiered on October 22, 2008. Banks's first big screen role came in 1994, when she co-starred in the drama Higher Learning.[30] 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)."[9] 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).[31] Banks appeared in the fourth episode of the third season of Gossip Girl[32] playing Ursula Nyquist, a larger-than-life actress. She also appeared on the Disney Channel show, Shake It Up as their shy school librarian.


Banks has appeared in several music videos, including Michael Jackson's "Black or White", Tina Turner's "Love Thing", Mobb Deep's "Trife Life", George Michael's "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 on America's Next Top Model, Cycle 2. The video world-premiered on UPN.[33] Banks released a single with NBA player Kobe Bryant, entitled "K.O.B.E.," which was performed on NBA TV."[9] She also has a single on the soundtrack to Disney Channel's Original Movie Life-Size called "Be A Star."[9]


Banks in Santa Monica on September 14, 2011

Banks announced in May 2010 that she would be writing a novel, titled Modelland,[34] loosely based on her own modelling experience.[35] Published September 2011,[dated info] it is the first of a planned three-part series.[36] On 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.[37] Her first novel, Modelland, hit the New York Times best seller list in October 2011. In 1998, Banks co-authored a book entitled Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out.[38]


In March 2011, Banks launched her fashion and beauty website called "typeF.com", which she co-created with Demand Media.[39]

Other projects[edit]

In 2011, Banks enrolled in the three-year-long [40] Owner/President Management Program (OPM) at Harvard Business School. Admission to the program, as described on HBS's website, "is a selective process based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. We look for professionals who have demonstrated business talent and leadership potential." [40] Banks graduated from the Executive Education Training Program in February 2012, earning a certificate.[41][42] Tyra has come under intense criticism for implying she was a Harvard "graduate."[43] A biting article in Jezebel referred to her statements on Harvard as "disingenuous," and called upon her to "stop lying" about Harvard.[44][45] Harvard's own newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, was critical of Tyra's public statements about "attending" Harvard.[46]

Despite the harsh criticism, and the conclusion of her time as a HBS 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." as cited on a different, and much more positive, article on The Harvard Crimson.[40] According to HBS Harbus, Harvard Business School's newspaper, on February 14, 2013, Tyra spoke with Harvard Business School Professor and Senior Associate Dean Youngme E. Moon in front of select audience at HBS. More than 100 students and faculty were invited to attend the event and hear Banks speak about her business and the reasons behind her decision to attend the program.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Banks was romantically linked to musician Seal, film director John Singleton[47] and actor Will Smith in the 1990s.[48] She dated basketball player Chris Webber from 2001 to 2004.[47][49]

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.'[50] In 2009, she opened up about her past abusive relationship 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 caused by Chris Brown.[51][52][53]


In 1999, Tyra Banks established the TZONE program, which aimed at leadership and life skills development.[54][55] 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


1995Higher LearningDeja
1999Love StinksHolly Garnett
2000Love & BasketballKyra Kessler
Life-SizeEve DollThe Wonderful World of Disney TV movie
Coyote UglyZoë
2002Halloween: ResurrectionNora Winston
Eight Crazy NightsVictoria's Secret GownThe Voice
2007Mr. WoodcockHerselfCameo
2008Tropic ThunderHerselfCameo
2009Hannah Montana: The MovieHerselfCameo[56]
2015Life-Size 2Eve DollDisney Channel Original Movie
1993The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirJackie AmesTV series (credited as "Tyra")
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Way: Part 1
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Way: Part 2
  • All Guts, No Glory
  • Father of the Year
  • Blood Is Thicker Than Mud
  • Fresh Prince After Dark
  • Take My Cousin... Please
  • You've Got to Be a Football Hero
1999FelicityJane ScottTV series
  • A Good Egg
  • Kissing Mr. Covington
  • One Ball, Two Strikes
Just Shoot Me!HerselfTV series
  • Nina Sees Red: Part 1
  • Nina Sees Red: Part 2
2000MADtvKatisha Latisha Parisha Farisha JohnsonTV series
  • Episode #5.17
  • Episode #5.25
2001Soul FoodNina Joseph
2003–presentAmerica's Next Top ModelHostReality TV series created, judged and hosted by Banks
2004American DreamsCarolyn GillTV series
  • Chasing the Past
All of UsRoniTV series
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
2005–2010The Tyra Banks ShowHostTalk show
2009Gossip GirlUrsula NyquistTV series,season 3
  • Dan de Fleurette
2011Mexico's Next Top ModelGuest judgeReality TV Series
2012Vietnam's Next Top ModelGuest judgeReality TV Series
Shake It UpMrs.BurkeDisney Channel Original Series
Top Model po-russkiGuest judgeReality TV Series
2013Asia's Next Top ModelGuest judgeReality TV Series
2013GleeBichetteTV Series


  1. ^ "Tyra Banks Height – how tall". 
  2. ^ America's Next Top Model Cycle 13, episode 4.
  3. ^ "Tyra Banks Biography". TV Guide Network. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Tyra Banks Biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Jason Clark (2008). "Tyra Banks:Biography on MSN". MSN. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  6. ^ "ABC News: Tyra Banks Experiences Obesity Through Fat Suit". 
  7. ^ "Tyra Banks On It – Forbes.com". March 7, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Time 100 Gala 2012: Black stars shine at party honoring world's top influencers". thegrio.com. April 25, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "About Tyra Banks". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Tyra Banks Biography". FilmReference.com. 
  11. ^ http://movies.yahoo.com/person/tyra-banks/biography.html
  12. ^ Bank Profile at Fashion Model Directory, Retrieved on 2012-03-31.
  13. ^ "Tyra Banks Profile". FMD-database. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  14. ^ Norment, Lynn (1997). "Tyra Banks: on top of the world – African American fashion model". Ebony. 
  15. ^ CBS Specials: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2005 source:CBS.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  16. ^ Bio at Imgmodels.com. Retrieved on 2010-05-27.
  17. ^ "Tyra Banks". www.vogue.it. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Tyra Banks: Biography". www.tvguide.com. 
  19. ^ "TYRA BANKS SHOW FULL EPISODES". Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Tyra Banks Joins Cast of Felicity". abcnews. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'N Out Tyra Banks". tv.com. 
  22. ^ Mahan, Colin (Feb 14, 2006). "Price Is Right for Tyra Banks". tv.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Tyra Banks on The Price is Right". YouTube. 
  24. ^ "Space Ghost Coast to Coast Chinatown". tv.com. 
  25. ^ "Bankable Productions Inks Deal with Warner Bros". findarticles.com. Oct 30 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (December 29, 2009). "Tyra Banks Announces Plans to End Talk Show". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  27. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (June 21, 2008). "Ellen DeGeneres, Tyra Banks Win Daytime.Tyra won 500 grammy awards in the Falls easons Emmys". people.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  28. ^ ""Rachel Ray," "Tyra Banks" win talk show Emmys". reuters.com. Aug 31st 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Oprah says fairwell to Tyra Banks Show". YouTube. 
  30. ^ "Tyra Banks' Bikini Body". 
  31. ^ Anna Dimond (June 5, 2008). "The Office's Melora Hardin on Jan and the show's finale - TV Previews". TV Guide. Retrieved July 20, 2008. 
  32. ^ Tyra Banks Joining Gossip Girl. usmagazine.com (2010-03-04). Retrieved on 2011-09-29.
  33. ^ Biography of Tyra Banks: Career
  34. ^ Nudd, Tim. Tyra Banks to Publish Her First Novel. People. May 11, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  35. ^ Fire chief Tyra Banks is smoking hot as she dons skin-tight catsuit and knee-high boots. Daily Mail. July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  36. ^ Krupnick, Ellie. Tyra Banks Talks 'Modelland', Harvard Business School (VIDEO). The Huffington Post. July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  37. ^ Martin, Lara. 'America's Next Top Model' all-stars is crazy, says Tyra Banks. Digital Spy. July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  38. ^ "Tyra Banks, Supermodel, Talk Show Host, and Actress". New York Times Bestsellerlist. 
  39. ^ About Us typeF web site
  40. ^ a b c d Harvard Business School, [1], Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  41. ^ Hughes, Sarah Ann. Washington Post. "Tyra Banks graduates from Harvard's executive education program." 24 Feb. 2012, Washington Post
  42. ^ Sauers, Jenna, "Model Behaviors". Retrieved 25 August 2011. , Jezebel
  43. ^ Manuel-Logan, Ruth. "Tyra Banks A Harvard Business School Graduate? Not!". News One. 
  44. ^ Sauers, Jenna. "Tyra Banks Needs to Stop Lying About Going to Harvard Business School". Jezebel. 
  45. ^ Bennett-Smith, Meredith. "Tyra Banks A Harvard Business School Graduate? Well, Not Exactly". The Huffington Post. 
  46. ^ WEISS-MEYER, AMY L. "Tyra Banks: Dropping H-Bombs Like Nobody's Business". 
  47. ^ a b "About Tyra Banks". Supermodels.nl. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  48. ^ "Tyra Banks and Will Smith". www.glamourmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  49. ^ Mooney, Paula Neal. "Tyra Banks Cries Over Basketball Star Ex-Boyfriend". Yahoo voices. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  50. ^ Cruz, Clarissa (August 26, 2005). "Looker Who's Talking". www.ew.com. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Breaking the Dating Violence Cycle". Oprah.com. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  52. ^ Morrissey, Tracie Egan (March 12, 2009). "Oprah: Tyra Banks Opens Up About Abusive Ex-Boyfriend". jezebel.com. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  53. ^ "Tyra Banks tells Oprah of her own abuse". cnn. March 19, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  54. ^ TZONE Story. TZONE Foundation, accessed January 14, 2011.
  55. ^ Tyra Bank's Faces of Philanthropy page. Faces of Philanthropy, accessed January 14, 2011.
  56. ^ "'Hannah Montana' Film Scenes Shot In Cool Springs Mall". NewsChannel 5.com. 2008-05-28. 

External links[edit]