Who Is Tyra Lynne Banks and What Is She Famous For?
Who Is Tyra Lynne Banks and What Is She Famous For? Tyra Lynne Banks (born December 4, 1973), to Carolyn London and Donald Banks, also known as BanX, is an American television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author, former model, and occasional singer.
Born in Inglewood, California, she began her career as a model at the age of 15, and was the first woman of African-American descent to be featured on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, on which she appeared thrice. By the early 2000’s, Banks was one of the world’s top-earning models. She was a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.
Banks attended John Burroughs Middle School and graduated in 1991 from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. She was accepted by USC and UCLA but declined to attend, instead pursuing a career in modeling. She first became famous as a model, but television appearances were her commercial breakthrough. Banks began modeling in the 11th grade.
She later went to Paris, France to do some runway modeling. She has done extensive print and / or runway work for fashion / advertising giants, such as Anna Sui, CoverGirl, Bill Blass, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, and Yves Saint Laurent. She has appeared on the covers of high-fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.
Tyra and her older brother Devin were raised by London after their parents divorced when Tyra was six years old. After the divorce, London had a hard time raising the two kids. For a long time, Devin, Banks, and London lived in a one-bed-roomed apartment.
All the while, Carolyn worked multiple jobs to try and support the family. It was during that time that she founded London Photography. Tyra’s struggles at home extended to her school. She was bullied at school because of her appearance and weight.
It is hard to Imagine Tyra’s smiley face on the magazines being mean to anyone, but she was. Remember those mean girls that used to tease and gossip about you in middle school? They had a circle of cool and popular girls that you couldn’t stand?
Well, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but Banks was one of them, and she led the clique. Banks even had a vote out system to cast out the friends she didn’t like out of the crew. Karma came back with a bang for the young lady as the bully became the bullied later on in her next school years as she struggled with self-image.
Banks began acting on television in 1993 on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and made her film debut in Higher Learning in 1995. In 2000 she had major roles such as Eve in Disney Channel’s Life-Size and Zoe in the box-office hit Coyote Ugly. She had small roles in the romantic film Love & Basketball (2000) and horror film Halloween: Resurrection (2002), and appeared in television series Gossip Girl and Glee.
In 2003, Banks created and began presenting the long-running reality television series America’s Next Top Model, which she executive produced and presented for the first twenty-two seasons, until the series’ cancellation in October 2015. She remained executive producer for the revival of the series, and enlisted Rita Ora as host for the twenty-third cycle before re-assuming the duties herself for the twenty-fourth cycle.
Banks was the co-creator of True Beauty, and had her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, which aired on The CW for five seasons and won two Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Talk Show Informative. She co-hosted the talk show FABLife for two months. In 2017, Banks replaced Nick Cannon as host of America’s Got Talent for its 12th season.
Banks has appeared in several music videos, including Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”, Tina Turner’s “Love Thing”, Mobb Deep’s “Trife Life”, George Michael’s “Too Funky” (with fellow supermodel Linda Evangelista) 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 on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 2. The video was world-premiered on UPN, but the single turned out to be a failure. 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.”
In 2010, she published a young adult novel titled Modelland, based on her life as a model. It topped The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011. Banks is one of four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly been ranked among the world’s most influential people by Time magazine. She is also one of only seventeen models to be ranked as a Legendary Supermodel by MODELS.com.
In 2011, Banks enrolled in the Owner / President Management Program (OPM) at the Harvard Business School. Continuing her dual career, Banks’ devotion to environmental issues has shown the world her ambition to be a role model as well. She is a promoter of a line of greeting cards for Children and Families, an organization dedicated to helping abused children. Created with the aid of children aged eight and nine, the card series is designed to promote literacy for children in troubled homes.
In 1999, Tyra Banks established the TZONE program, which aimed at leadership and life skills development. In 2005, TZONE transformed from a camp into a public charity, the Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation.