Tyra Banks isn’t only gorgeous and down-to-earth, she also knows how to put together one saucy summer reality TV show. When America’s Next Top Model debuted in May, we we’re hooked, but afraid to admit it. There was just something about eight beautiful, young, ego-driven women living, posing and primping together that shamefully captured our attention. But then Entertainment Weekly hailed the series as one of its top picks, and we discovered we weren’t alone in our craving for high-fashion humiliation.
The good news: The show has been renewed for another season.
Banks intrigues us. Not only has she appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and walked the Victoria’s Secret catwalk, she’s also written a book, Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out. So we were thrilled when Miss Tyra (as she’s affectionately called on the show) chatted with us recently to offer some inside scoop, as well as an early passion for plaid.
How America’s Next Top Model came about: “It was my little idea. I was in my house one day and I was thinking, I want to do a show like that! And then I told my old agent of mine and he said it wouldn’t happen. So I just kind of did it on my own. I was like, “OK, if you don’t believe in me, I’ll just do this meeting by myself!” And I did.”
My advice for girls who want to become a model: “Go move in with your best friends for a month. Can you take criticism? If someone tells you something, how do you handle it? Does it make you run home and cry or do you really listen and say, ‘You know, maybe that is something I can improve on.’ ”
My worst modeling flub: “My first fashion show. The designer told me to act like a cat when I got to the end of the runway. So I got to the end of the runway, and I started licking my hands like paws and scratching my hands at the audience and saying, ‘Meeeooowwwww!’ I thought that was what he meant. I came back and he said, ‘No Tyra, not that kind of catlike, you just ruined my show.’ ”
Something that is always in my fridge: “Film. I’m an amateur photographer. Film lasts longer if you keep it cold. My friends laugh at me because I’m really lazy when it comes to groceries. I eat out too much. They’ll be like, ‘I can’t eat this film! Tyra, why do you have film here?’ ”
My favorite junk food: “Coffee flavored Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I used to have a pint every three weeks, but I’ve cut back. I’ll have two scoops every two months now. But I eat other junk, too.”
My all-time fashion disaster: “As a teen in junior high. I had these plaid outfits and I thought I was so sexy. I had pants that were yellow, red and black plaid, a plaid shirt and I wore a red sweater vest over it. Then I wore plaid socks and penny loafer shoes with it. I thought I was sooo cute.”
Favorite beauty product at this moment: “Vaseline for my lips. And I put a little bit around my eyes at night.”
Beauty tip: “Don’t sleep in your makeup. It ages you faster and you get pimples. It is not good. Always wash and moisturize at night, too. No matter how tired you are, just get out of bed and do it.”
Favorite celebrity perk: “Not having to wait in line at Disneyland — getting somebody to take you around the park for the rides.”
If I had to choose a different career I would: “Do something with children, like a become schoolteacher. I love kids.”
My favorite room in my house is: “I call it my Blue Room. It’s a guest-makeup room and everything is periwinkle blue. People say it feels like a fairy-tale room.”
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