Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks


12/4/1973, Los Angeles, California

Birth Name

Tyra Lynne Banks


  • The cast of America's Next Top Model Cyc...
  • The cast of America's Next Top Model Cyc...
  • ANTM is back for Cycle 12!
  • Tyra Banks poses for Cycle 12.
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Tyra Banks grew up in Inglewood, California. Her parents are Carolyn London (a photographer) and Don Banks. Her parents divorced when she was six years old and she regards her mum as her best friend.
She began her television career as an actress with recurring roles in Themore


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Tyra was left embarrassed after strapping in to a lie-detector machine on an episode of her chat show. Asked if she was jealous of Oprah Winfrey, she said no, but was called out by the machine.

    • One of Tyra Bank's celebrity fans is actress Eliska Amor who says she considers Tyra a role model for inspiring healthy body image and confidence.

    • Tyra Banks has a difficulty saying the word "frighteningly".

    • According to Namco, Christie Monteiro's (a Tekken character) look is based on Tyra Banks.

    • Tyra's favorite television shows include Heroes, Will & Grace, and Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

    • Tyra admires Oprah, Jay Leno, Isiah Thomas, and Cindy Crawford.

    • Tyra is allergic to dogs but she still likes Beagles.

    • Tyra calls herself "The Queen Of Cheap".

    • Tyra has a fear of dolphins.

    • Tyra has a brother who is currently in the military.

    • Tyra's favorite sports are basketball and tennis but her main hobby is boxing.

    • In 2003 Tyra established her very own company called Bankable Productions.

    • Tyra has a love for children, animals and the environment.

    • At the age of 20, Tyra was the first black woman be signed by a cosmetic company.

    • Tyra signed with Elite Model Management her senior year of high school.

    • Tyra was accepted at UCLA and USC.

    • Tyra's friends used to call her "The Black Widow" because she used to break up with men she was dating before they would break up with her.

    • Tyra does not drink alcohol.

    • Tyra is 5'10" tall and she takes a size 9 (US) shoe.

    • Her final cruise down the catwalk was the Victoria's Secret show, that aired Dec. 6. She "retired" wearing a red lace bra and underwear with a belt made of military-style medallions, kicking up her high heels with Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell at her side.

    • - Tyra ranked #95 in Forbes' 'Celebrity 100 Power Ranking' (2005).
      - Tyra ranked #34 in Ask Men's '99 Most Desirable Women' (2005).
      - Tyra ranked #38 in FHM-Germany's '100 Sexiest Women' (2005).
      - Tyra ranked #89 in FHM-South Africa's '100 Sexiest Women' (2005).
      - Tyra was chosen as one of People Magazine's annual '100 Most Beautiful People in the World' in May 2007.
      - Tyra made People Magazine's '50 Most Beautiful' list twice.
      - Tyra ranked #2 by readers of Black Men Magazine for 'The 10 Sexiest Women of the Year' (2000).
      - Tyra is ranked #53 in the '100 Hottest Brunettes of AIM' (2009).

    • Tyra's nickname is BBQ.

    • Tyra appears in George Michael's music video "Too Funky."

    • Tyra briefly appears in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video. She's in the part of the video with the morphing faces; when she appears, she sticks out her tongue and makes a silly face.

    • She deferred college and spent the majority of '92 modeling in Paris for the likes of Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Yves St. Laurent and Oscar de la Renta.

    • When she was eleven, she grew four inches and lost 30 pounds.

    • Her brother Devin's ex-wife and children appeared on an episode of "America's Next Top Model" when the models are in Japan.

    • In 2005, she revealed on The Tyra Banks Show that her measurements are 34-28-40.

    • Tyra paid $30,000 of her own money to finance the music video for her song "Shake Ya Body," which appeared on her show America's Next Top Model (2003).

    • Tyra and fellow supermodel - Naomi Campbell reconciled on her talk show (November 2005).

    • Tyra claims that her career was difficult in part because of a rivalry with another black top model, Naomi Campbell. Banks has said that Campbell, who was more famous, would get her thrown off of fashion shows.

    • Says her body is so sexy, her role as supermodel is to be less erotic. But Banks vows she'll never show all her skin.

    • People used to tease her about her forehead, saying it was so big it could be a five-head.

    • She was a "Youth Correspondent" for The Oprah Winfrey Show, and there was speculation that Oprah was training Tyra to eventually take over the show.

    • Oprah Winfrey helped Tyra start her talk show, The Tyra Banks Show which premiered in September 2005.

    • Tyra's eye colour is greenish brown.

    • Tyra's first music video for her first single "Shake Ya Body" premiered February 24, 2004 on America's Next Top Model. The single and her debut album both proved to be unsuccessful.

    • Tyra has appeared in many TV commercials for Victoria's Secrets between 1996 and 1999.

    • Tyra has appeared in may print ads and TV commercials for Cover Girl between 1994 and 1999.

  • Quotes

    • Tyra Banks: Always act like you're the prettiest girl in the room, even if you don't feel like it at the moment. And when you're going out, make sure all your friends in the group look and feel hot too! You'll be Team Hotness -- and as you walk in, all eyes will be on you.

    • Tyra Banks: (to ET on choosing models on ANTM) I always try to go for different looks, I try to not make girls look like girls from the previous season. We have some really high fashion-looking girls this year.

    • Tyra Banks: (to ET on pushing for plus sized models) I have been pushing to have two plus-sized models on since season six, I got tired of having one girl in that house who didn't have anyone to identify with. I also wanted to be racially diverse so that everyone could look at these girls and identify with them. We finally got these two strong, plus-sized girls this season.

    • Tyra Banks: (to ET on the 'rag mags') It wasn't so much the picture, (that appeared in the tabloids), it was the negative comments. If it was just the picture and it went away, I'd be like, 'Ha ha. Whatever.' To call that ugly, so many girls are seeing that and I needed to let them know that's not ugly.

    • Tyra Banks: (about being thirty pounds heavier than in 1997 when she first made it as a swimsuit model) I still feel hot, but every day is different. It's when I put on the jeans that used to fit a year ago and don't fit now and give me a muffin top, that's when I say "Damn!"

    • Tyra Banks: (after unflattering photos of her in a swimsuit circulated on the Internet with headlines such as "Tyra Porkchop" and "Tyra Banks Is Fat") It was such a strange meanness and rejoicing that people had when thinking that was what my body looked like. It was really hurtful to me.

    • Tyra Banks: (about the harsh criticism she recieved from the news media after becoming thirty pounds heavier) I get so much mail from young girls who say, "I look up to you, you're not as skinny as everyone else, I think you're beautiful. So when they say that my body is "ugly" and "disgusting", what does that make those girls feel like?

    • Tyra Banks: (on Janice Dickinson) She is an amazing woman, a handful, but still amazing, and gives the best sound bites in the world. But we mutually decided that she should start doing other things.

    • Tyra Banks: I think it's important for young women to understand my flaws.

    • Tyra Banks: (on cycle 6) What I love about this group is that no one looks like anyone else. They all photograph strikingly.

    • Tyra Banks: Black women have always been these vixens, these animalistic erotic women. Why can't we just be the sexy American girl next door?

    • Tyra Banks: I don't believe in putting a young child to work in the fashion industry. If you can't get a job in McDonalds you have no business on the runway.

    • Tyra Banks: Black women are proud of their bodies. Black men love big butts.

    • Tyra Banks: (about smoking) I took a puff when I was six. It filled my lungs and felt disgusting. I haven't done it since. Something like 98 percent of models smoke, but I hate it.

    • Tyra Banks: A smart model is a good model.

    • Tyra Banks: Black women have always been these vixens, these animalistic erotic women. Why can't we just be the sexy American girl next door?

    • Tyra Banks: I've had my heart broken one too many times.

    • Tyra Banks: I'm very happy to be a sex symbol.

    • Tyra Banks: Believe it or not, I just really know how to pose well. It took me five years to learn what my best angles are.

    • Tyra Banks: America's Next Top Model is shooting its sixth season. I created a template, and I don't have to baby-sit it anymore. The talk show, I have to be devoted to that. I'm proud of it, but it's not exactly what I want it to be -- yet.

    • Tyra Banks: I love the confidence that makeup gives me.

    • Tyra Banks: I liked college guys but they could tell I was just a skinny girl.

    • Tyra Banks: I don't know what to do with my arms. It just makes me feel weird and I feel like people are looking at me and that makes me nervous.

    • Tyra Banks: Black women don't have the same body image problems as white women. They are proud of their bodies. Black men love big butts.

    • Tyra Banks: Because my hands are rough and wrinkley, they are my least favourite feature. An ex-boyfriend used to call them 'Freddy Kreuger' fingers.

    • Tyra Banks: I am totally against plastic surgery. A lot of people think I have breast implants because I have the biggest boobs in the business. But I was a 34C when I was 17...They stay up when I wear a push-up bra. But if people could see me when I come home and take off my bra, how could they think these are fake?

    • Tyra Banks: I haven't seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre. I haven't seen anything. I don't really care.

    • Tyra Banks: I'm not ugly, but my beauty is a total creation.

    • Tyra Banks: Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It's about accepting all of yourself. You've got to learn to accept the fool in you as well as the part that's got it goin' on.

    • Tyra Banks: Working out shouldn't be a chore so I always have to be having fun in order to get in shape, or else I'd blow up!

    • Tyra Banks: I guess being in the model world I should watch what I eat, oops! I don't do that. I love to dig into some home made BBQ'd ribs, good ol' fried chicken, ice cream and tons of fast food. I love french fries and still believe that the sole purpose of french fries is to allow us to scoop up puddle of ketchup, yum! Okay, how do I stay in shape? C'mon, I grew up with a bratty older brother; I play lots of sports.

    • Tyra Banks: My television talkshow is a great hit so far, and I hope to fill the shoes of Oprah when she decides to leave, which I hope isn't anytime soon.

    • Tyra Banks: Oprah is my girl, and she is one of my biggest role models. She has taught me a lot about life and what is really worth it.

    • Tyra Banks: I'm currently promoting a line of greeting cards for "Children + Families", an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected kids. The cards, "Cards From The Heart by Tyra's Kidsuccess Kids", were created by children ages eight through nine in an after-school reading and arts program.

    • Tyra Banks: I founded a foundation called the "TZONE Foundation" in 1999. It is a highly praised leadership and life skills development program for primarily disadvantaged teen girls in the Los Angeles area. Our mission is to provide a fun and supportive program that reinforces core values and support. We challenge teen girls to resist negative social pressures and enhance their self-empowerment (we try to inspire girls to be confident leaders in their community).

    • Tyra Banks: When I was growing up I was tall and skinny and always felt awkward around the other kids, they were always so short! I was constantly teased by my loving brother and my classmates and I'll tell you that I ran home in tears to my mother after what the kids would say sometimes.

    • Tyra Banks: Every agency that turned me down told me that my face wasn't "photogenic" enough for them but then Elite agency gave me a chance, and I was only seventeen.

    • Tyra Banks: I played a small role as a supermodel in the British television movie Inferno, and had a few appearance's in Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and boy was it a trip working with Will! I remember it was hard to get through a scene with him without laughing until I cried. But my first real movie came in John Singleton's Higher Learning where I played Omar Epp's (yum) track-running girlfriend. Surprisingly I got great reviews from critics, although it was a small role (apparently, I bought intensity to the screen).

    • Tyra Banks: The rumors of me dating Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox and Mark Messier aren't true. Those guys are great, but nothing ever went on between us.

    • Tyra Banks: It kinda of upsets me a little bit when models say, "I don't believe in plastic surgery. I was born like this." B***h, you hit the genetic lottery.

    • Tyra Banks: Stare forward and act like you're p**sed off.

    • Tyra Banks: I'm a perfectionist, Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's OK if there are flaws here and there.

    • Tyra Banks: I love going to the movies. I keep a list in my purse of what I want to see. (she pulls out a list of more than 25 titles ranging from "Good Night, and Good Luck" to "The Constant Gardener") I try to see movies whenever I can. I saw "Flightplan" and "Capote" from this list.

    • Tyra Banks: I love TV, too. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Commander in Chief." I so want Geena Davis on my show. She was a model, and now she's president of the United States!

    • Tyra Banks: I wanted to be the girl next door like Cindy Crawford, but I am a black model and that meant I broke down a lot of doors. When I look at young black models today, I hope they can just walk through the doors like everyone else.

    • Tyra Banks: I live in an apartment. I gave my mom my house in L.A. It's a beautiful Spanish house. I lived there a year, but it felt empty. I wasn't scared, but I like nooks and small spaces. It helps me focus.

    • Tyra Banks: Well, I don't think of myself as a diva. I'm too dorky! Look at my shoes. (Points to the aforementioned sneakers.) I always look like this. I don't always want to be "working." I don't want to have to put on that "thing" -- I call it "the thing" when I have to do my hair, put on the lashes, get dressed up. When I go out for potato chips, I just want to go out looking like myself, which means you will see bad pictures of me. There probably are some out there right now, but it's just part of the life.

    • Tyra Banks: I have an invested interest in all the girls. I take Adrianne's struggles to bed with me at night. Adrianne's problem was that she went to Europe to try to make it and nobody knew who she was there. So it was like starting over. But after a girl leaves the show it's really up to her to be aggressive and try to succeed. - On Adrianne Curry's complaints that she did not receive what was promised her as the winner of "America's Next Top Model".