Tyra Banks is opening the doors to a new immersive and model-inspired attraction that encourages anybody and everybody to be their best selves in front of a professional lens, all the while reflecting on the industry that nearly forced her out.
The 46-year-old model, actor and businesswoman has a legacy all her own after walking runways and appearing in campaigns for the most elite fashion brands. But in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, the creator and former host of America’s Next Top Model opened up about some of the major obstacles and discrimination that she faced early on in her career.
“I lost my very first opportunity with Victoria’s Secret,” she reveals. “The hairdresser did not know what to do with my hair. And was spraying water and putting heat and all kinds of stuff, and it was just a frizzy mess. Had no idea what to do with my hair texture. And I get on the set, and they sent me home because my hair looked bad.”
Banks went onto explain the lengths she went to nail her next opportunity with the lingerie brand, when she “begged” her agent to call them again one year later.
“I called my hairdresser the night before, and I said, ‘Can you do my hair?’” she explains. “I wrapped it, slept in that scarf, got in the cab the next morning. Right before I opened the Victoria’s Secret studio door, I took the scarf off and walked in…Cut to 10 years of a contract with them.”
Banks angrily recalled these days in an Instagram TV video earlier this week (above). And as a result of such experiences and obstacles that she faced throughout her career, Banks decided to start the hit reality show America’s Next Top Model, striving to embrace the idea that anybody can be a model. Now, Banks is celebrating that same idea with the opening of ModelLand, a fictitious modeling school.
“When you come to ModelLand, you enter this world that I have created, which is a modeling school. Beauty knows no age and no size, no shape, no shade,” she says. “It is time for everybody to feel beautiful. To look in the mirror and find something, like my mother told me back in the day, to find something that they feel is beautiful.”