Tyra Banks Biography

Tyra Banks is an American former supermodel, actor, author, producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her.

Quick Facts

Birthday: December 4, 1973

Nationality: American

Famous: Black Women Models

Also Known As: Tyra Lynne Banks

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Age: 44 Years

Born in: Inglewood, California, United States

Famous as: Television Personality

Height: 1.78 m

father: Donald Banks

mother: Carolyn London

siblings: Devin Banks

City, States, Provinces & Districts: California

Net worth: $90 million as of May 31, 2017

More Facts

education: Harvard Business School, Loyola Marymount University, Immaculate Heart High School, John Burroughs Middle School

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Tyra Banks is an American former supermodel, actor, author, producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. She is best known for creating, producing and presenting the long-running reality television series 'America's Next Top Model'. She also created and hosted the twice Emmy winning daytime talk-show, 'The Tyra Banks Show', for five years. Banks, who gained recognition as a supermodel, originally wanted to be a writer or producer working in the film industry. Being teased by her older brother as well as her peers for her disproportionate body shape and dark skin color, she hardly ever imagined modeling as a career option until she was encouraged by a classmate and became aware of her potential. Despite initial discouragement from professionals, she eventually bagged a high profile modeling assignment after a French scout spotted her. She went on to model for every leading clothing line and was featured on the covers of prestigious magazines like 'GQ' and 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue' as the first black woman. Over the years, she has dabbled at everything from writing, singing, acting, to teaching. However, it is her genuine personality, rather than her outward beauty, that helped her make into 'TIME' magazine's list of most influential people.

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Tyra Banks
Childhood & Early Life
  • Tyra Lynne Banks was born on December 4, 1973, in Inglewood, California, to Carolyn London and Donald Banks. Her mother was a medical photographer, while her father worked as a computer consultant.
  • She is the second child of her parents and has a five years older brother, Devin. Her parents divorced when she was six years old, following which she and her brother lived with her mother on weekdays and visited her father on weekends.
  • She initially attended John Burroughs Middle School and later got into Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, from which she graduated in 1991. Around the time she was 11, she faced body-shaming after a sudden growth spurt made her tall and skinny.
  • Tyra Banks, who was good enough to be selected into all major universities she applied for, chose Loyola Marymount University for film studies. However, she moved to Paris even before starting college, after a French modeling agent selected her for the upcoming Paris fashion week.
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Modeling Career
  • Tyra Banks started her modeling career at the age of 15, while she was still in school. After being rejected by four modeling agencies, she was signed to L.A. Models.
  • In 1990, she bagged a contract with Elite Model Management, following which she was offered the opportunity to model in Europe and subsequently moved to Milan. The next year, she achieved the remarkable feat of booking 25 runway shows as a newcomer in the 1991 Paris Fashion Week.
  • Reluctant to follow a strict diet to stay skinny as required by the industry, she decided to return to the USA in the mid 1990s to pursue a career in swimwear and lingerie modeling. In 1993, she became the first African-American model to sign a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics.
  • 'People' magazine named her one of '50 Most Beautiful People in the World' in 1994. As the first African-American model, she featured on the covers of 'GQ' magazine in 1996 and the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue' in 1997.
  • In 1997, she became a Victoria's Secret Angel and was featured in Victoria's Secret lingerie catalogue as the first black woman. The same year, she was named 'Supermodel of the Year' by VH1. She subsequently left modeling to focus on other career choices, but re-signed to her former modeling agency IMG Models in 2010.
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Television & Film Career
  • Tyra Banks debuted on television in 1993, appearing alongside Will Smith on the fourth season of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'. She continued to appear on various television shows such as 'New York Undercover' (1997), 'Just Shoot Me!' (1999), 'MADtv' (2000), 'Felicity' (2000), and 'Soul Food' (2001).
  • In 1995, she debuted on the big screen with the movie 'Higher Learning'. After a few smaller roles in movies like 'Love Stinks' and 'Love & Basketball', she bagged the major role of Eve in the Disney Channel telefilm 'Life-Size' in 2000. The same year, she appeared as Zoe in the commercially successful movie 'Coyote Ugly'.
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  • She soon founded her own production company, 'Bankable Productions', through which she created and executive produced the reality television series 'America's Next Top Model' in 2003. She hosted the show herself in the first 22 seasons, till 2015, and later returned as a host in the 24th season in 2017.
  • In 2005, she created her own talk show, 'The Tyra Banks Show', which focused on issues faced by young women. The show, which won two back-to-back Daytime Emmy awards, ran for five seasons.
  • She co-created the show 'True Beauty' with actor Ashton Kutcher in 2009. She went on to appear on many TV series like 'Gossip Girl' (2009), 'Shake It Up' (2012-13), 'Glee' (2013) and 'Blackish' (2015-16), and co-hosted the show 'FABLife' for two months in 2015.
  • She is scheduled to replace Nick Cannon as the main host of 'America's Got Talent' in 2017.
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Other Ventures
  • Tyra Banks sang the single 'Be a Star' from the soundtrack of her 2000 movie 'Life-Size'. In 2004, she formally debuted as a singer by introducing her first single 'Shake Ya Body' on 'America's Next Top Model'. She also recorded the single 'K.O.B.E.' with NBA player Kobe Bryant.
  • She tried her hand at writing for the first time in 1998 when she co-authored the book 'Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out'. Over a decade later, she chronicled her experience as a model in the novel 'Modelland', which ranked No.1 on 'The New York Times Best Seller' list in October 2011.
  • In 2012, she earned a certificate from Harvard Business School, attending a nine-week Owner/President Management Program, and founded the cosmetics brand 'Tyra Beauty' in 2014. The next year, she opened the interactive cosmetic e-commerce site 'tyra.com'.
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Major Works
  • 'America's Next Top Model' is by far Tyra Banks' most successful venture so far. The show has been running for 15 years and has been rated the No.1 show on The CW network multiple times.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Tyra Banks won the 'Teen Choice Award' in the category 'Choice TV: Personality' twice in 2007 and 2008. Her talk show won two 'Daytime Emmy Awards' for 'Outstanding Talk Show/Informative' in 2008 and 2009.
  • She is one of four African-American women to appear on the list of the most influential people by TIME magazine.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • Tyra Banks has been linked with many celebrities in the past, including director John Singleton and basketball player Chris Webber. While she avoids discussing her private issues publicly, she revealed in 2005 that she has experienced emotional abuse earlier.
  • She started dating Norwegian photographer Erik Asla in 2013. Banks, who had trouble conceiving, gave birth to son York Banks Asla through a surrogate mother in January 2016.
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Trivia
  • In February 2007, Tyra Banks was fat-shamed after some of her pictures in bathing suit were published on tabloid magazines. She unabashedly flaunted the same swimsuits on her show, earning accolades from critics as well as her audience.
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1. Love & Basketball (2000)

  (Sport, Drama, Romance)

2. Higher Learning (1995)

  (Romance, Crime, Sport, Drama, Thriller)

3. Love Stinks (1999)

  (Comedy)

4. Coyote Ugly (2000)

  (Drama, Romance, Music, Comedy)

5. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

  (Thriller, Horror, Comedy)

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How To Cite

Article Title
- Tyra Banks Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/tyra-banks-9584.php
Last Updated
- June 19, 2017

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