Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Laredo Tribune. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Internationally Acclaimed Model
Currently Known For:
Model and TV Personality
1991 - Present
December 4, 1973
Internationally Acclaimed Model
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"Stop saying these negative things about yourself. Look in the mirror and find something about yourself that's positive and celebrate that!" Tyra Banks is a supermodel, producer, actress, and television personality. Banks rose to prosperity as an actress and a supermodel before transitioning into a full-fledged multimedia brand.
Banks is most commonly associated with her work on programs like America's Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. That being said, she also found success as an actress on projects like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Coyote Ugly, and Halloween: Resurrection. Banks is widely considered to be one of the greatest models to ever walk the runway. She was also given the 'Legendary Supermodel' title by the prestigious team behind the online publication, MODELS.
Success as a Model
Tyra Lynne Banks was born on December 4, 1973, in Inglewood, CA. Banks was raised by her mother, Carolyn London, and her father, Donald Banks. Carolyn London worked as a medical photographer while Banks was growing up. Donald worked as a computer consultant. Banks also raised alongside her older brother, Devin.
Banks' parents would split up when she was just six years old. As a result, she would split time between households. Banks would attend John Burroughs Middle School before graduating from Immaculate Heart High School in 1991. Throughout her childhood, Banks was mocked by her peers for her appearance until she hit a growth spurt when she turned 11. Banks claims to have grown three inches while losing thirty pounds in the space of three months.
Banks began modeling as a highschool teenager. Banks would sign with Elite Model Management at the age of 16. Banks would travel all over the world to model. Her affinity for travel would have Banks moving to Milan, in Europe, in order to work during runway season. During his first year abroad, Banks would book 25 shows. It was around this time that Banks would begin exploring the world of acting. She would land a seven-episode arc on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993 before landing a lead role in the 1995 film, Higher Learning. In 2000 alone, Banks would appear in movies like Love & Basketball, Life Size, and Coyote Ugly.
After establishing herself as a prominent model, Banks would skyrocket to a successful career. She would land cover appearances in publications like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and Elle. Banks would spend the early portion of her career working for brands like Chanel, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs. By the time that 1993 rolled around, the 20-year-old Banks would be signing spokesperson contracts with major brands like Cover Girl Cosmetics. Banks would become one of the few African American models to achieve supermodel status. Her success would lead directly to several prominent contracts with Victoria's Secret and Cover Girl.
As Banks' star continued to ascend, she would quickly become an icon not only for her skills, but for the barriers she had been breaking. Banks would become the first black model to ever appear on the cover of GQ. Only a year later, Banks would become the first black woman to ever appear on the cover of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Becoming a Business Mogul
By the time that Banks had turned 20, her life had completely changed. She was one of the most famous women in America as well as one of the most adored supermodels in the global industry. Banks was yet to reach her peak, however, as her career as a multi-talented business mogul was only just beginning.
In 2003, Banks would sign on to host a show on UPN titled, America's Next Top Model. It became quickly apparent that Banks was onto something special. The program featured aspiring models competing with one another in a series of competitions for the crown of America's Next Top Model. The show became a hit and it led UPN in viewership for six straight seasons. The show would then get picked up by the CW Network where it would run until 2015.
While America's Next Top Model was still in its infancy, Banks would also turn her attention toward a daytime talk show, The Tyra Banks Show (2005). On the show, Banks would invite the biggest celebrities in the world over to talk about their life. The show would run for six seasons, accruing 266 total episodes. One of the most famous moments of The Tyra Banks Show came following the leak of unflattering bikini photos of Tyra Banks. In the episode immediately following the now-famous leaks, Tyra would take the stage in the very same bikini before telling critics off. This was a defining moment in the body-positive movement that has since become even more popular.
After the CW Network moved on from America's Next Top Model, Banks would become the host of America's Got Talent (2017). Banks was brought on to replace Nick Cannon. Banks would work as the host of the program two total seasons. During that time, Banks began to appear work more on her acting career. She would appear in two episodes of Black-Ish before landing a role in the made for television movie, Life-Size 2 (2018).
Outside of her work as a model and entertainment figure, Banks is an active participant in several social causes. Banks is the founder of TZONE, a program designed to help in the development of life skills and leadership capabilities. Banks also established the Tyra Banks Scholarship in order to provide funding to low-income African American girls who need help to attend school.
In her private life, Banks is notably reticent to reveal much to the public. Banks has had several romantic relationships with high-profile figures that have still managed to escape the public spotlight. Banks famously dated director John Singleton and former NBA star, Chris Webber. In 2016, Banks would welcome her son to the world after years of struggling with fertility issues. Thanks to the assistance of a surrogate mother, Banks was able to bring home a healthy baby boy named York Banks Asla.