Tyra Banks is a former supermodel turned singer, actress, businesswoman, and TV personality who created and produces the long-running American reality TV series; America’s Next Top Model, as well as a number of other shows.
The California native will go down in history as the first woman of African American origin to be featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and GQ Magazine. She is also a successful author whose novel titled ‘Modelland’ topped the 2011 New York Times Best Seller list.
All her achievements and successes on and off the runway have made her one of the world’s highest-earning models, past or present. Continue reading to find out more about her.
Tyra Banks was born Tyra Lynne Banks on December 4, 1973, in Inglewood, California, as the second child of her parents; Carolyn and Donald Banks. Her mother worked as a medical photographer while her father worked as a computer consultant. Devin is the name of her older brother.
Banks’ parents divorced when she was just six years old. she has, however, insisted that the divorce did not make her feel any less loved by either of her parents. She would usually spend the weekdays with her mother and the weekends with her father. On her birthdays or any other notable day, she got to celebrate it twice with both her parents, a dream of any child of divorce.
She attended John Burroughs Middle School and Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles where she graduated from in 1991. While in high school, at the age of 15, Banks started modeling and by the time she was 17, landed her first modeling contract with the largest modeling agency at the time, Elite Model Management. This came after she had been turned down a number of times by other agencies, with one said to have racially discriminated against her.
Tyra Banks, who at that age had begun to grow into her body, a caramel-skinned tall and curvy beauty whose green eyes could captivate an audience, did her first photo shoot for Seventeen Magazine. After graduating high school, she enrolled at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she planned to get a university degree. She, however, decided to forgo it to pursue a full-time modeling career in Europe. She first moved to Milan and then to Paris where she became a sensation, booking 25 runway shows in the 1991 Paris Fashion Week.
Banks modeled for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Valentino, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, among many others. She also did ad campaigns for them as well as other companies like Nike and Pepsi and appeared on the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.
The fast-rising runway star was reaching unprecedented height but by mid-1990, began to gain some weight which made her lose the desired high-end fashion, supermodel physique. At this time, Banks decided to return to the United States where her new physique was welcomed in the lingerie and swimwear modeling industry.
The move turned out to be a huge pioneering success as Banks became the first African American woman to appear on the cover of GQ, Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and to feature in Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalog. In 1997, she was named ‘Supermodel of the Year’. She has also twice been voted ‘Favorite Supermodel’ at the Teen Choice Awards and has been named among the ’50 Most Beautiful People’ by People Magazine numerous times.
Hit with the bright lights of Hollywood, Banks began an acting career, notably starring alongside Will Smith in ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and in the movie ‘Higher Learning’. She went on to start her own production company, Bankable Productions, which has produced a number of her award-winning shows, including ‘The Tyra Banks Show’, and ‘America’s Next Top Model’. She has also founded a cosmetics line, called TYRA Beauty.
The supermodel turned entertainment mogul has since continued her education, enrolling at Harvard Business School where she completed her special course for CEOs and top executives.
Is Tyra Banks Married? Boyfriend, Husband, Son
Tyra Banks has been very successful in keeping her private life private. Not much is known about the men she has dated apart from Boyz n the Hood director, John Singleton and basketball player, Chris Webber.
She is currently not married but has been in a longterm relationship with Norwegian photographer, Erik Asla, with whom she had a baby boy, York Banks Asla, born in January 2016, through surrogacy.
Quick Facts About Tyra Banks – Height, Body Measurements, Zodiac
Birth Name: Tyra Lynne Banks
Birth Date: December 4, 1973
Place of Birth: Inglewood, California, U.S.
Occupation(s): Model, Television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Height: 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight: 64 kg (141 lbs)
Measurements: 37-24-36 in (94-61-91.5 cm)
Dress Size: 6 (US) or 36 (EU)
Bra Size: 34C
Shoe Size: 9 (US) or 41 (EU) or 6 (UK)
Partner: Erik Asla
Children: 1 (York Banks Asla)