One-On-One With Tyra Banks

One-On-One With Tyra Banks


Hello, welcome to OStateTV, I’m
Robyn Hearn, and I’m here with the legendary Tyra Banks, who’s
our diversity speaker tonight. Tyra, thank you for
joining us today. Thank you. How are you feeling coming
into OSU as a diversity speaker? Um, I am really excited. When the plane was landing and
I saw this like, beautiful land and, and I actually
got to see the school. I was like, I think that’s the
school, as we were landing, so to like be in it hours
later is pretty amazing. Yeah, we’re a pretty big
school, we’re pretty wide, we have a lot of land. So running back through your
career, you’ve accomplished a lot, especially as
a woman of color. I mean, being on GQ and also a
Sports Illustrated, how was that for you as a woman of
color to do that in your 20s? Um, it was a pretty big deal,
because I was the first black woman to be on the cover of the
sports illustrated swim edition, and the first female model,
not even black but first female model, to be on the cover of GQ. So at the time I was young, and
I didn’t understand just how big it was, but in retrospect, I’m
like ow, that’s done it’s over, and I did that, meaning now, you
know, hopefully more people can be let through those doors. That’s what it’s about. Nice, well speaking of doors,
you’ve opened a lot of doors for young men and women,
especially starring in America’s Next Top
Model in 2003. As a creator and the host and
the producer, how was that for you to create
something so large? Awful. I mean like, stressful. I can remember the very first
season of America’s Next Top Model having a stomachache,
a literal physical stomachache every single day from stress of
having to wear so many hats, and not even just
all of the hats, but just doing something
from scratch. It’s like TV, a new show is
like a business, so it’s like a startup, and there’s just
little tiny things that have to get handled, and I’m literally
stapling things, my partner who helped me develop top model,
he was holding cameras, he’s not a cameraman, he was
holding cameras, so it was everybody was just in it,
and the pain paid off. Of course, I mean we love it,
I grew up watching the show; were you expecting it to
get that popular? I mean, you guys
are in 24 seasons. Yeah, I had no idea. I thought Top Model would have
two seasons, and I, you know, with my young self in TV, I
thought that would have been a huge success. I never in a million years
thought it would have 24 and counting, and I remember
being on the set of Top Model season 4 yelling across the room
to my partner Ken Mok, Ken how many more seasons do you
think we’re going to get to? And he’s like, I
don’t know, eight? I’m like… Totally wrong. Beyond wrong. And on top of all of it, the
seasons we’ve had here, the American version of
America’s Next Top Model airs in a hundred and something
countries, and we, at our height, had 40
international versions; so South Korea’s Next Top Model,
France’s Next Top Model, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Canada,
Mexico, India, I mean the list goes on and on with the
international versions we have as well. Wow, you guys left
a lasting impact on the entire world I guess. So you mentioned about
how you wear a lot of hats. I mean, you’re a supermodel,
you’re a spokeswoman, you won an Emmy Award for the Tyra Show,
and also you’re a mom, so how do you balance all of that
throughout your life? Well, it’s not easy, and
you know, it was always very difficult even before I was
a mom, but now it’s harder and easier at the same time. It’s harder because as a mom,
you have this little munchkin that is there, you know, at the
end of the day when I’m coming home, or sometimes I work form
home and then I close my office. There’s no like, continuing
to do emails; it’s 5:30, it’s me and him, and that’s it. And so that’s a positive thing. On the negative thing, you end
up like with 400 emails after a week, and you’re just like how
am I going to get through this? But then you have this thing
that’s going Mom Me, and then you’re like
screw the 400 emails. You know, and so then I become
this master of like, going through and cherry-picking
emails, or cherry-picking who you have to get back to,
and you realize what’s really a true priority and not. Oh wow, that’ really amazing. So as a diversity speaker,
diversity’s one of those main topic in the world today,
especially in the fashion world. Have you seen the fashion
world change in diversity since your time? Um yes and no. So when I was a high fashion
model, I think there were a significant number of black
models on the runway than there had been in the last
five years, shall I say. However, body diversity
has changed drastically when it comes to ads, when it
comes to women in magazines; you’re seeing what back in the
day used to be called plus size, and I hated that term. Thank god now it’s
changed to curve models, so you’re seeing that now. Now you’re seeing models that
are not necessarily 5’9”, 5’10”, 6’, so things are changing, and
I think a lot of it has to do with instagram and social media
and no longer are the powers that be, you know,
behind companies called Conde Nast and Hearst. It’s like the power has shifted
to the consumer, the power has shifted to influencers and the
power has shifted to everyday people that are
saying what they want. Nice, and now how are you
including like, everyday people? I know you have Tyra Beauty;
is that one of your ways of including everybody? Everyday people? Well, I’ve gone through
this kind of genesis when it comes to modeling. So when I first started
modeling, it was all about me; how many covers can I get, how
many runways can I walk down, how many doors can I knock down,
and then over time, I’m going to talk about this tonight at, on
the stage tonight at the school, it shifted and it became how
many other people can I help, so I started America’s Next
Top Model to really have this diverse motley crew of beauties
that I can show on a national, now international, platform. But at the same time, that has
only been 10 to 15 people per year that can experience that
while millions of people look; and so for the last 10 years,
I’ve been working on something called model land, which is an
attraction where people can go, male, female, young, and old,
can come and experience this fun fashion beauty extravaganza
where you can be a model for a day, you can come and have
food, you can shop, you can see live shows happening,
there’s so much. It’s like, a lot of people
are calling it like Disney of beauty and fashion. I mean, we need that in the
world, especially today; like you said with
Instagram and everything. So speaking of model land, I
guess you could say, you played Eve in Life-Size and Life-Size
2; how was that to take on the role, especially
to get into acting? So when I first did the first
Life-Size movie, it actually was not written for me, there was
actually a very famous Caucasian model that was, sorry not model,
actress; she was very tall but she wasn’t a model,
that was cast for that role. And my manager at the time,
some kind of way, talked me into this last-minute audition. They were like please, we know
you’re about to sign a contract with this famous woman, but
could you please just see Tyra? She’s really funny, she can
really do this; and he was saying she’s really
funny, she can really do this. I was terrified. So I found an acting coach by
the name of Ivana Chubbuck, who is worldwide, famous now in
the acting world, and she coached me into Eve, and she
helped me to get that audition. And so with a lot of her
techniques and stuff, a lot of those Eve-isms
came from her. And then, so the first
life-size was so successful, that they wrote another one and
said okay, here’s the sequel, and I’ll never forget Lindsey
Lohan, who starred with me in Life-Size, she said
yes, she was like yeah I want to do the next one, and I read
the script and I’m like uh, if I’m going to be in this,
I just can’t because I want to be a serious actress and
I’ll just play a drug addict, I need to play a homeless
person, I need to play somebody with angst that has pain
to prove that I can act, so I said no. And my mom, I’ll never
forget, my mom was like this is a huge mistake. This is something
that’s very popular, it’s hard to make a hit. Your fans are saying they want
to see you as Eve, why doesn’t Eve do a scene where she’s being
dramatic so you can show the other side of you,
but you should do this. I said no, then 17 years
later, I did Life-Size 2, so she’s right. Mom’s always right. They’re always right. Yeah, and it was so successful,
Life-Size 2 was more successful than Life-Size one. It past projections by 50% of
what the network thought it was going to do, and we are
in talks for Life-Size 3. Ooooo, I hope that happens,
I would love to see that. Now, you are a role
model to a lot of people. You are a role model to me,
of course; how has that been for you to step into that role
as somebody’s role model? Like, you starting
T-Zone Foundation? Well, for me, I think it’s, I
don’t feel like I’m supposed to be a role model, I don’t think
that people in entertainment have that responsibility, but
I feel that it comes natural to me I think. Like, when I see certain
celebrities acting out and doing crazy stuff and they’re
like but you’re a role model. It’s like no, they actually just
wanted to be a singer, or they wanted to be an actor, or they
wanted to be a model, and people started looking up to them,
but it’s not necessarily their responsibility,
however I think it’s mine. And I don’t know where that
comes from, I don’t know if it comes from having a mother that
has just been like such a strong example for me that I now want
to pay forward and share all the lessons and things
that she’s taught me. I think just naturally, I’m not
attracted to a lot of things, like I don’t really, I don’t
drink alcohol, I don’t party, I’ve never done drugs, so
there’s certain things that I just feel like well this is my
life, and its kind of clean and a little boring on the
personal side, so I think it goes naturally into
the role model thing. So in your life, what would you
say would be one thing that you felt like was one of
your best accomplishments? Um, I think one of my biggest
accomplishments was being on the cover of Sports
Illustrated swim edition. Yeah, and I did it first with
another girl, a blond girl by the name of Valeria Mazza,
and then the next year they put me on by myself. And I had already though that
it was huge even though I was on the cover and sharing t with
somebody else I thought that was huge, so when they put me
on the cover the next year, just 12 months later by myself,
I was like woah, and that moment really transitioned my career. It went from being kind of a
high fashion model to being girl next door and walking down the
street and everybody knowing your name, and little blond kids
and little Asian kids and little black kids and everybody like
wanting an autograph, and I just hadn’t experienced that
before, so it was really nice. Now before I let you go, what
are some points that you’re going to highlight
on your speech? I’m going to talk about a lot
of progress comes from pain and comes from tears, and
that the whole, you know, the word is diversity, but
diversity stems from a human being that has a diverse
sex, that has a diverse color of skin, that has a
diverse texture of hair, that has diverse abilities, but
it starts with the human being, and a lot of that is being told
no, that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never do
that, and I’m here to show them that they can. Well thank you, I can wait to
see your speech, thank you for joining us, and thank
you for watching OStateTV.

3 Replies to “One-On-One With Tyra Banks”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *