From the Runaway…to the Banks Part II by Chrystina Wyatt

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Tyra Banks is also a woman of “firsts.”  At the age of 24, she was the first African American woman to grace the covers of GQ as well as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.  This was a pivotal moment in her career. One year later she was the first African American woman on the Victoria’s Secret catalog.  Her successes landed her endorsement contracts with Cover Girl and Victoria’s Secret.  Another great achievement includes her 1997 Michael Award for Supermodel of the Year.

While modeling, Tyra was bit by the acting bug and appeared on movies including Higher Learning, Love & Basketball, and Coyote Ugly, as well as the popular 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  This exposure helped open a new venture for Tyra, television. In 2003, Tyra created the show America’s Next Top Model.  This show was a competition for aspiring models and in the end one winner was selected as “America’s Next Top Model.”  America’s Next Top Model was the UPN network’s highest rated show during its first six seasons.  The show made a switch to the CW television network in 2006.  While working with her show America’s Next Top Model, Tyra continued to branch out. The Tyra Show emerged on the television scene in 2005.  I personally loved her shows as she continued to promote positive self body image and inspire women to embrace their looks. “I want power. The power to make change,” said Banks as her reason for making the switch from modeling to television.

Banks is still very active in entertainment today.  She continues to develop and produce shows, including America’s Next Top Model and newer project Stylista, has written two books and has even graduated from the Harvard Business School at 38 years old.  She also continues to give back to the community with a scholarship to help young black women attend her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles and founded TZONE.  The TZONE Foundation is devoted to helping teenage girls foster their independence and self-esteem. She has cultivated her name and image is worth approximately $90 million. Tyra Banks is not only an inspiration to African American community but also to many aspiring models and women of all sizes.


“I’m competitive with myself. I always try to push past my own borders.”

Tyra Banks



A+E Television Networks, LLC. (n.a.). (n.d.). Tyra Banks biography. Retrieved August 7, 2012 from

AETN UK. (n.a.). (n.d.). TYRA BANKS BIOGRAPHY. Retrieved August 7, 2012 from

AETN UK. (n.a.). 24 February 2012. TYRA BANKS SHOWS OFF BRAINS AS WELL AS BEAUTY. Retrieved from (n.a.). (n.d.). Tyra Banks Net Worth. Retrieved August 7, 2012 from


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