A groundbreaking, international fashion icon, Tyra Banks is known for knocking down barriers with her long list of “firsts.” Over the course of her distinguished career, Tyra became the first African-American model to grace the covers of both GQ, for which she was also named “Woman of the Year – 2000,” and Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, a feat she later repeated, as well as the cover of the famed Victoria’s Secret catalog. The recipient of the prestigious Michael Award for “Supermodel of the Year,” the fashion industry’s equivalent to the Oscar, Tyra subsequently extended her relationship with Victoria’s Secret by signing an exclusive modeling and cosmetics contract with the company. On her tenth anniversary with the company this past fall, 10 million viewers watched as Victoria Secret paid tribute to Tyra in a special send off to commemorate her official retirement from the runway. Additionally, Tyra formerly held a five-year contract with the cosmetics conglomerate, Cover Girl. Tyra was most recently named as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” by Time magazine. Crowned “Supermogul with a Business Model,” Tyra was featured with the likes of past U.S. Presidents, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Condoleezza Rice and George Clooney. Most recently, Forbes magazine devoted a special section to Tyra’s empire building in their annual “Celebrity 100” issue.
Banks’ multi-faceted resume continued to grow when she created and executive produced the hugely successful reality television series 'American's Next Top Model'. The series, produced by Banks’ company, Bankable Productions, in conjunction with 10 by 10 Entertainment, focuses on young women who compete for the chance to become America’s newest young super model. 'Top Model' set viewer ratings records for UPN, becoming the network’s most watched show. The tremendously popular series has continued to garner critical praise through its ninth cycle.
In addition, Banks’ debuted her highly anticipated new talk show “The Tyra Banks Show” in 2005. The five-day-a-week program is specifically targeted to entertain and offer the “Every Woman” insight into the issues facing young women today. “The Tyra Banks Show” is produced by Bankable Prods. and Handprint Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution.
Aside from her busy career, Banks is also known for her dedication to today’s youth. In 1992, she established “The Tyra Banks Scholarship,” a fund that grants African-American girls the opportunity to attend her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls private school in the Los Angeles area. Additionally, Banks expanded her outreach in July 2000 when her self-funded charitable foundation sponsored the first year of TZONE, an annual summer camp experience for teenage girls, designed to enhance independence and self-esteem. After writing Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out (HarperCollins), Banks realized that the trials she overcame as a teen could be used to connect with girls who struggle with self-esteem issues.