By all standards Tyra Banks' Top Model show is a MEGA-HIT. Can any one scream “Bloody Rich Ms. Tyra” Hello!. Yes, sometimes she could be a lot to take on, but do YOU have a show which has been on-air for over 12seasons with franchises in over 40 countries around the world?, AND......do you also have your own talk-show, boring as it maybe, on national tv? She is annoying but she is BANKING money in the process. Holla! Holla Holla! Her creation America;s Next Top Model, is successful show because its her life. Hence every teenager worldwide wants to the Next Top Model.
''My ankles would shake, and I would bend my knees and stick my lips out,'' Banks tells PEOPLE of her first model walks. But within a week, she accumulates 25 bookings. Model Niki Taylor says, ''She can work a runway like you would not believe.'' Designer Todd Oldman adds, ''She reminds me of an antelope. She was just born with grace.''
In the spring of 1993, Banks meets Boyz N the Hood director John Singleton, 25, through mutual friends, and they start dating. ''Tyra brings out the silly side in me, which no one else is allowed to see,'' Singleton tells PEOPLE. Banks counters, "I like that he's very intelligent but not nerdy."
January 11th 1995 - Banks lands the part of track runner Deja opposite Omar Epps in Higher Learning. "Tyra is good,'' says the film's director and her boyfriend John Singleton, who calms her worries of favoritism by assuring her she wouldn't have the part if she wasn't right. ''She adds a lot of flavor to what could have been a throwaway role.'' She follows up with films Love & Basketball and Coyote Ugly.
In 1996, After splitting up with Singleton in spring, Banks, 22, shows up with pop singer Seal, 33, at the Essence Awards. Their low-key romance ends in October.
In 1998 The model releases her first book, Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out, with her thoughts on self-esteem and step-by-step makeup advice. "It's not the cosmetics, not the swimsuits, not the magazine covers," makeup artist Sam Fine tells PEOPLE. "The beauty of Tyra is her natural side, the child in her." Banks is also upfront about her looks: "I'm not ugly, but my beauty is a total creation."
November 13th of the same year the confident catwalker appears in the first-ever broadcast of the Victoria's Secret show, which makes waves as the lingerie-clad models incite indecency complaints to the FCC. Four years later, Banks will announce her retirement from modeling and make the glitzy event her last runway show.
In May of 2004, Banks releases a hip-hop-flavored music video, "Shake Your Body," which features dancing by contestants from the second season of Top Model. She pays the $30,000 production costs herself, hoping the video leads to a record deal. It gets some airplay on MTV2, but the single never makes it to radio. "That was a dream," she tells Forbes in 2006. "I sounded decent, but you shouldn't ever do something just because you're only decent at it."
In Sepetember of 2005 six years after being a youth correspondent on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Banks, 31, pulls double-duty as host and executive producer of her own talk show. It is on The Tyra Banks Show that she faces rival supermodel Naomi Campbell. "One of the reasons I wanted to do this show is because sisterhood is so important to me," she says during their discussion.
After tabloids and blogs run photos mocking Banks for looking heavier, she tells PEOPLE she's happy with her present figure, which is 30 lbs. heavier than her 2005 pre-retirement weight, in January of 2007. Posing on the cover of PEOPLE, an empowered Banks says, "I still feel hot." Weeks later, with tears in her eyes and rage in her voice, Banks tells critics on her talk show, "Kiss my fat a--!" After launching her "So What" campaign that promotes positive body images, Banks is listed as one of PEOPLE's 100 Most Beautiful.
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