The existence of notable African-American supermodel could hardly be discerned, yet Tyra Banks has proven herself to earn the title properly alongside Naomi Campbell. Pursuing modeling career at a young age, she built up her own way with determination and persistence, striving to be the world's prominent supermodel of the 90s. In spite of living in glamorous world, she remains as a genuine person who possesses inner beauty within her so that Jim Paratore, president of Television Productions gave his honor and adoration. "Tyra really emerged as a role model for the next generation of young women," He praised, "She has a feel for this generation of women."
Born on December 4, 1973, in Los Angeles, California, Tyra Lynne Banks used to be a tall skinny awkward little girl who often being teased by her older brother, Devin, and her classmates. Taking decision to fix her emaciated body, she made a successful effort to develop her frame in a better shape. Her attempts to be a model then barely ran smoothly since she was rejected by four modeling agencies, claiming she did not possess photogenic look. However, she kept going on and finally was offered to sign up with Elite agency at age 17 even though it meant that she had to give up continuing her study at Loyola Marymount University.
Tyra's first step as an Elite's model was heading to Paris where later she developed her career for a year, becoming a model for major fashion brands such as Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent. After returning to USA, she created sensation by establishing contract with Cover Girl Cosmetics in 1993 since she was the first African-American model to deal with the company. She was also seen in some advertisements, posing for Swatch, Dolce & Gabbana, Nike, Pepsi, and Tommy Hilfiger. Her star shone more brightly in 1994 when People Magazine crowned her as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
In 1996, Tyra's career reached its peak, as she was the first black model to appear on the cover of Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, raising her status as an exclusive supermodel besides making her to reach great fame. This mesmerizing model continued to evoke people's amazement by showing up in Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ) magazine, once more being the first African-American model to be the cover of a magazine, again being mentioned as one of the World's Most Beautiful People by People Magazine of USA. She gained more popularity when Victoria's Secret included her in its catalogue, leading her to achieve Michael Award as Supermodel of the Year in 1997.
During her hectic activities as the world's top supermodel, Tyra has also involved herself in acting. She started from a small role in the British movie-to-TV program, "Inferno" (1992), then took part in a famous comedy series of the 90s, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" together with Will Smith before getting in her first movie, "Higher Learning" (1995). In this particular movie, which was also starred by Jennifer Connelly, she earned good review from the critics, proving that she was not just an ordinary supermodel. Afterwards, she appeared in some well-known movies, among others: "Love Stinks" (1999), "Coyote Ugly" (2000), "Halloween: Resurrection" (2002), and "Eight Crazy Nights" (2002), contributing her voice in the film.
Having achieved her dream while also appearing in screens did not stop Tyra to keep going on. After establishing her own TV production called "Bankable Productions", in 2003 she collaborated with UPN to produce "American Next Top Model", a reality TV show in which the contestants had to compete each other to become a new supermodel. Being one of the judges as well as the host of the show, Tyra received great commercial success as her show has scored high ratings, thus continued the show to its fourth season by the year of 2005. In the same year, she's ready to host a talk show distributed by Warner Bros Domestic Television after signing contract with Telepictures Productions.
Beyond her career in modeling, acting, hosting and producing TV show, Tyra also wrote an autobiographical book entitled "Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out." Furthermore, she turned her attention on music by releasing her first single "Shake Ya Body" which was introduced in the second season of "American Next Top Model." Being in the entertainment industry, however, does not mean she pushes aside the world's matters for she puts her concern to education, children, and environment. She formed Tyra Banks Scholarship in 1994, promoted greeting cards under Children + Families Organization to help abused and neglected children, and took a journey to Costa Rica rainforest to arise the world's attention about endangered ecosystem.
As for her private life, Tyra has had some love relationships with other celebrities like director John Singleton whom she worked with in "Higher Learning" and dated NBA player Chris Webber of Sacramento King for over 3 years. During her spare time, she loves painting, skiing, and rollerblading as well as doing her favorite sports like basketball and tennis to keep her body in shape. Above all, Tyra Banks is indeed an exceptional human being who effectively explores any possibilities to develop her potencies without losing her identity. Hence, her statement of "A smart model is a good model" has really been applied, driving her to be an outstanding supermodel.