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Tyra Lynne Banks (born December 4, 1973) 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, on 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 and horror film Halloween: Resurrection and 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 (2003 - 2015) 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 co-hosted 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. Banks is one of four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by TIME magazine.
Tyra Banks was born in Inglewood, California. She is the daughter of Caroline London (now London-Johnson), a NASA photographer, and Donald Banks, a computer consultant. She has a brother, Devin, who is five years older. 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"; when Banks was 11 years old she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in three months. From a DNA test on America's Next Top Model it was revealed Tyra is of 79 percent African, 14 percent British and 6 percent Native American ancestry.
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. In 1993, Banks signed a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, launching advertising campaig
ns 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. In 1997, she received the VH1 award for, "Supermodel of the Year". That same year, she became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog. She was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005. In 2010, Banks re-signed with her former modeling agency IMG Models. Banks is now a contributor of the Vogue Italia website. She has since started focusing on her film career and hosting her own TV show.
Film and televisionEdit
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. She made seven appearances in the series. Other TV credits include Felicity, All That, MADtv, Nick Cannon's Wild 'n Out (in which she was featured as a special guest host and team captain) and The Price Is Right (guest-starring as a "Barker's Beauty"). She also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode entitled "Chinatown".
Banks started her production company, "Ty Ty Baby Productions" â" soon afterward changed to Bankable Productions â" which produced The Tyra Banks Show, America's Next Top Model and the 2008 movie The Clique. 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. In 2008, Banks won the Daytime Emmy Award for her work and production on The Tyra Banks Show, and won for the second time in a row for outstanding, informative talkshow in 2009. In 2010, Oprah Winfrey congratulated Tyra Banks for a good job done on her talk-show for inspiring and mentoring young women. On May 30, 2014, Disneyâ"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.
Banks's first big screen role came in 1994, when she co-starred in the drama Higher Learning. 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). 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). Banks appeared in the fourth episode of the third season of Gossip Girl playing Ursula Nyquist, a larger-than-life actress. She also appeared on the Disney Channel show Shake It Up as a shy school librarian.
In 2012, Deadline.com reported that Banks will co-create and produce an ABC comedy series based on her teenage years titled Fivehead.
Banks currently stars 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. After less than three months on the show, Banks made the decision to quit the show, to focus on her cosmetics company.
Banks has appeared in several music videos, including Michael Jackson's "Black or White", Mobb Deep's "Trife Life", Tina Turner's "Love Thing", George Michael's "Too Funky" (with supermodels Linda Evangelista, Estelle LefÃ©bure, 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. Banks released a single with NBA player Kobe Bryant, entitled "K.O.B.E.", which was performed on NBA TV. She also has a single on the soundtrack to Disney Channel's Original Movie Life-Size called "Be a Star".
Banks announced in May 2010 that she would be writing a novel, titled Modelland, loosely based on her own modelling experience. Published September 2011, it is the first of a planned three-part series. 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. 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.
In 2014, Banks started a cosmetics brand; Tyra Beauty, which she completed a non-degree certificate program at Harvard Business School specifically for. Tyra Beauty uses a multi-level marketing system to recruit sales distributors, who are called "beautytainers" by the company.
In March 2011, Banks launched her fashion and beauty website called "typeF.com", which she co-created with Demand Media.
In 2015, she launched "tyra.com", an interactive cosmetic e-commerce site.
Banks has been 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.' 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.
On January 27, 2016, Banks and her boyfriend Erik Asla welcomed their first child, a son, via surrogacy.
In 2011, Banks enrolled in the nine-week 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." Banks completed the Executive Education Training Program in February 2012, earning a certificate. She has come under criticism for implying she is a Harvard graduate. Jenna Sauers, writing for Jezebel referred to her statements on Harvard as "disingenuous", and called upon her to "stop lying" about Harvard.
As of 2012, Harvard professor Rohit Deshpande was preparing a case study on Banks' company, Bankable Productions, for use in future coursework in the OPM program.
Banks established the TZONE program, which aimed at leadership and life skills development. 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.
Vanessa Thomas, Bush; Banks, Tyra (1998). Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0060952105.
Banks, Tyra (2011). Modelland. Delacorte Books. ISBN 978-0385740593.
Tyra Banks at the Internet Movie Database
Tyra Banks at the Fashion Model Directory
Tyra Banks at AllMovie
Tyra Banks at People.com
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