Birthday: December 4, 1973
Age: 46 Years, 46 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Tyra Lynne Banks, BanX
Born Country: United States
Born in: Inglewood, California, United States
Famous as: Television Personality
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Females
father: Donald Banks
mother: Carolyn London
siblings: Devin Banks
Partner: Erik Asla (2013–2017)
U.S. State: California, African-American From California
City: Inglewood, California
education: Harvard Business School, Immaculate Heart High School, John Burroughs Middle School, The Groundlings, Loyola Marymount University
Tyra Banks is an American actor, author, producer, entrepreneur, television personality, and former supermodel. 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 two-time ‘Emmy’ award-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 in the film industry. Often body shamed by her older brother as well as her peers, Banks did not think of modeling as a career option until she was encouraged by a classmate who made her realize her true potential. Despite initial discouragement from professionals, she eventually landed a high profile modeling assignment after being spotted by a French scout. She went on to model for several leading clothing line and became the first black woman to be featured on the covers of prestigious magazines like 'GQ' and 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.' She then went on to try her hand at writing, singing, acting, and teaching. She is one of the few women to have been repeatedly featured in 'Time' magazine's ‘world’s most influential people’ list. She is also one of the few models to be named a ‘Legendary Supermodel’ by ‘MODELS.com.’
Childhood & Early Life
Tyra Lynne Banks was born on December 4, 1973, in Inglewood, California, USA, to Carolyn London and Donald Banks. Her mother was a medical photographer, while her father worked as a computer consultant.
She has an older brother named Devin. Her parents divorced when she was six years old, following which she and her brother lived with their mother on weekdays and visited their father on weekends.
She initially attended ‘John Burroughs Middle School’ and later got enrolled at ‘Immaculate Heart High School’ in Los Angeles from where she graduated in 1991. Around the time she was 11, she faced body shaming for being tall and skinny.
Tyra Banks, who was good enough to be selected by 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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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 signed a contract with ‘Elite Model Management,’ following which she was offered an opportunity to model in Europe. Subsequently, she moved to Milan. The next year, she achieved a 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 the '50 Most Beautiful People in the World' in 1994. She became the first African-American model to be featured on the covers of 'GQ' magazine and 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue' in 1996 and 1997 respectively.
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 with her former modeling agency ‘IMG Models’ in 2010.
Television & Film Career
Tyra Banks debuted on television in 1993, appearing alongside Will Smith in the fourth season of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.' She continued to appear in various television shows, such as 'New York Undercover' (1997), 'Just Shoot Me!' (1999), 'MADtv' (2000), 'Felicity' (2000), and 'Soul Food' (2001).
Meanwhile in 1995, she debuted on the big screen with the movie 'Higher Learning.' After a few minor roles in movies like 'Love Stinks' and 'Love & Basketball,' she landed the major role of ‘Eve’ in the Disney Channel telefilm 'Life-Size' in 2000. The same year, she also appeared as ‘Zoe’ in the commercially successful movie 'Coyote Ugly.'
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 for the first 22 seasons, and later returned as the host for 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.
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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 ‘Black-ish’ (2015-16). She also co-hosted the show 'FABLife' for two months in 2015.
From 2017 to 2018, she hosted the popular talent show competition ‘America's Got Talent.’ In 2018, she reprised her role as ‘Eve’ in ‘Life-Size 2,’ a sequel to the 2000 television film ‘Life-Size.’ The following year, she made a guest appearance in ‘Germany's Next Topmodel.’
Tyra Banks sang 'Be a Star' for 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’ after attending a nine-week ‘Owner/President Management Program.’ She then founded the cosmetics brand 'Tyra Beauty' in 2014. The next year, she started the interactive cosmetic e-commerce site 'tyra.com.'
In 2018, she co-authored a book titled ‘Perfect is Boring’ along with her mother Carolyn London.
'America's Next Top Model' is by far Tyra Banks' most successful venture. The show has been running since 2003. It has been rated the No.1 show on The CW network on multiple occasions.
Awards & Achievements
Tyra Banks won the 'Teen Choice Award' under the 'Choice TV: Personality' category 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 have been repeatedly featured on the list of the world’s most influential people by ‘TIME’ magazine.
Personal Life & Legacy
Tyra Banks has been romantically linked with many celebrities in the past, including director John Singleton and basketball player Chris Webber. While she avoids discussing her private life 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, was blessed with a son named York Banks Asla through surrogacy in January 2016.
In February 2007, Tyra Banks was body shamed when some of her pictures in a bathing suit were published on tabloid magazines. She unabashedly flaunted the same swimsuit on her show, earning respect and admiration from many around the world.