Tyra Lynne Banks is a retired American fashion model, television personality, talk show host, producer, author, actress, singer and business woman.
When Banks was 15 years old, she started modeling while attending school in Los Angeles. She was rejected by four modeling agencies before she was signed by L.A. Models and then switched to Elite Model Management at age 16. When she got the opportunity to model in Europe, she moved to Milan. In her first runway season, she was booked in 25 shows at the 1991 Paris Fashion Week. She would later appear on the covers of magazines such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Spanish Vogue. She walked the runways for Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Herve Leger, Valentino, Fendi, Isaac Mizrahi, Armani, Sonia Rykiel, Michael Kors and others. She has featured in advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Swatch, Tommy Hilfiger, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Got Milk?, Pepsi and Nike. In 1993, Banks signed a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, launching advertising campaigns for the cosmetics company. In the mid-1990s, Banks returned to America to do more commercial modeling.
Banks was the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 1997, she received the VH1 award for, "Supermodel of the Year". That same year, she became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog. She was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005. In 2010, Banks re-signed with her former modeling agency IMG Models. She has since started focusing on her film career and hosting her own TV show.
By the early 2000s, Banks was one of the top-earning models in the world. Subsequently she moved onto television and film, known for her roles as Eve in Disney channel's Life-Size, and Zoe in the box office hit Coyote Ugly. Banks first appeared on television on the show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and has since been featured in small roles in romantic film Love & Basketball, horror film Halloween: Resurrection, has appeared in numerous television shows, including Gossip Girl and Glee.
In 2003, Banks created and became the host of the UPN/the CW long-running reality television show America's Next Top Model. Banks was also the co-creator of True Beauty, and was the host of her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, which aired on The CW for five seasons and won two Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Informative. She co-hosted the talk show FABLife.
In 2010, she published a young adult novel titled Modelland, based on her life as a model which topped The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011.
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