Tyra Lynne Banks is an African-American model, author, actress, TV personality and philanthropist. She was born on the 4th of December 1973 in California, in the US. In 2007 she was named as one of the Times: 100 Most Influential People in the world.
She was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Swimsuit Issue . Her rise to fame stemmed from this success as well as her appearance on the same cover the next year. She was also the first black woman to feature on the cover of GQ and in 1997 she was the first black woman chosen for the cover of Victoria’s Secret Catalogue. She was a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.
She started her own production company, Bankable Productions. Productions include The Tyra Banks Show which premiered 12 September 2005. The show was aimed towards young women and dealt with issues they face as they grow up and enter the world. Through the show, she reconstructed the meaning of ‘beautiful’ emphasizing that real women are not perfect and ridiculing the air-brushed image we’re fed through mainstream media.
After a picture of her looking over weight was released and circulated in the media. Tyra came out in that same bikini, during her show and told everyone that she emraced her curves and that women everywhere should.
She won, in 2008, the Daytime Emmy Award for The Tyra Banks Show and again in 2009. Oprah Wimphrey was among the people who believed that Tyra’s show was a constant inspiration for girls everywhere, and that Tyra herself was larger than life.
Another production by Bankable Productions was a movie, The Clique, based on popular teen novel series by Lisi Harrison.
As a philanthropist she established TZONE programme in 1999 aimed towards leadership and life skills development. She also funds the Tyra Banks Scholarship funding tuition for young African American girls at the prestigious, Immaculate Heart High School she attended.
The most successful TV show she produced with Bankable Productions was the Top Model franchise. Starting with the American counterpart, America’s Next Top Model, the brand has grown to epic proportions with Top Model shows in Asia and Europe. For America’s Next Top Model, she is creator, executive producer, host and head judge.
Her first novel, Modelland was on the New York Times Best Seller list in October 2011. It is a story about four girls accepted into a prestigious modelling school in the world of the book’s namesake, Modelland.
Despite much criticism Tyra Banks is inarguably on of the most influential women today. she has used her celebrity for good and is a role model for both young and old, women and men alike. She has delved where no other super model had before and opened doors for young women who like she once did, wish to be Top Models.