• Solange McKenzie

Tyra Banks: Smeizing to the Top

Tyra Banks

Young Tyra Banks started her career as a model as a 15 year old while still in High School. She is recognized as one of the few Black models with Supermodel status. When she turned 16 she signed with Elite Model Management and moved to Milan, Italy. During her time in Europe in 1991, Banks was booked by 25 designers to walk during her very first Paris Fashion Week. After she was featured in editorials for countless magazines such as, Vogue, Elle,  Harper's Bazaar, W , Vanity Fair, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue. Banks was such a hot commodity that she has walked for designers like Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Versace and so many more.

Tyra Banks’ Sports Illustrated cover, 1997

In 1993, Tyra Banks became the face of Covergirl Cosmetics launching the brands campaigns and advertising. Also during this time, she moved back to the United States and continued to model commercially. Since then Tyra Banks has received many accolades. In 1997, VH1 awarded her their Supermodel of the Year Award. She is also the the first Black supermodel featured on the covers of Sport Illustrated, GQ and Victoria’s Secret's catalogue.

Tyra Banks as Jackie Aimes in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

In addition to modeling, Tyra Banks had other endeavors. She has appeared in many on screen roles. She has appeared on 90's hit shows like, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and All That. Banks also had roles in movies such as, Higher Learning, Life-Size, and Love and Basketball to name a few. Plus she has also appeared in several music videos for Micheal Jackson, Tina Turner and Lionel Richie among her own music videos for songs Bootyful, and Shake Ya Body. Banks also started her own production company Ty Ty Baby productions, now Bankable Productions, where she produced her own show America's Next Top Model and movie The Clique. She has also authored a few books, Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out, Modelland, and Perfect is Boring. Lastly, Tyra has a couple philanthropic programs; TZONE, which helps to teach leadership and life skills, as well as the Tyra Banks Scholarship, which helps to send girls to her high school Alma Mater.

-Solange McKenzie

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