In a world full of bright lights, luxury, and photo re-touching, true beauty lies within Tyra Banks inside and out.
For day 6 of our LiveCivilBHM series, we are recognizing model Tyra Banks for her many achievements as a strong African American woman in the entertainment industry.
Although growing up was hard for young Tyra, who was constantly made fun of as an “ugly duckling,” she ironically evolved into a striking young woman and eventually signed to Elite Model Management. Work quickly ensued for the girl with piercing bright green eyes and legs for days.
While there was much appreciation for all the opportunities that followed, the most monumental moment was Ms. Banks being the first African American woman to cover Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and be featured in GQ and Victoria Secret.
Tyra has been able to compete in the competitive world of fashion, and still focus on what was serious to her: helping others. Fast forward to the birth of America’s Next Top Model.
For 22 cycles, ANTM has made dreams come true for numerous contestants who “smized” their talents for Tyra and her judges. This competitive experience with reality TV led into her hosting her own show The Tyra Banks Talk Show. Regardless of speculation if it would be as good as the (at the time) recently discontinued Oprah Winfrey Show, the model mogul received accolades from the Queen of Talk Show, Oprah, herself, for being a mentor to young girls as well as a Day Time Emmy Award to add to the valut.
It wasn’t all glamour in giving back, however. With a degree from Harvard Business School now at hand, the TZONE Program became another production aimed to help develop leadership and life skills for youth. Soon after, her Tyra Banks Scholarship to fund financial help for girls attending her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School, followed.
About 25 years in the industry, and Tyra’s personal and business life continues to grow. ANTM has reportedly been renewed for a season 23 on VH1, she’s focusing more on her new cosmetic line, and is even in the works with Disney for a new series, Life-Sized 2. However, something that trumps it all is the birth of her son. The new mommy and boyfriend, photographer Erik Asla, welcomed baby York through a gestational surrogate.
Congratulations and Happy Black History Month to the woman who has been a gateway for minority models, as well as an inspiration for aspiration for the everyday girl, Tyra Banks.