Victoria's Secret Angel
Caymanian fashion model Selita Ebanks is known for her work with the lingerie giant Victoria's Secret and as one of Victoria's Secret Angels, along with supermodels like Adriana Lima and Marisa Miller. In November 2007, she and the rest of Victoria's Secret Angels received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ebanks also has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (2007 and 2008) and worked for high-profile fashion labels such as Levi's, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and DKNY.
Ebanks has branched out to acting. In 2006, she appeared in a few episodes of the Jennifer Lopez-produced series “South Beach” and in a single episode of the comedy series “Still Standing.”
Ebanks was named one of People Magazine's “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 2007. She ranked No. 12 on Forbes' “Top 15 Earning Models” list of 2008. Also in 2008, she was voted one of Maxim's “Hot 100 Women.”
Ebanks helped establish the Stardom Youth Foundation in the Cayman Islands, which is a mentoring program that helps motivate, educate and support young people in reaching their goals. In New York, she is active in Free Arts, a program that supports young people. She also works with the Seamen's Society of Staten Island. When asked what motivated her to get involved in community service and mentoring, Ebanks said, “I've always been that person that wants to change the world. My father's always telling me, ‘Sel, you're gonna go broke. You can't save everyone.’ My whole thing is then I can contribute my part. Growing up in The Cayman Islands, even growing up in general, I think there were times when we didn't have anything and my mother would go to these organizations and charities and they would provide for us, whether it was food or Christmas presents. Now as an adult, I look back and I'm like, ‘If it wasn't for those programs and those charities and those churches, then our Christmases wouldn't have been Christmas.’ I'm not saying my life is hard. I'm just saying it wasn't hard because of these organizations. I think that's where it started, my whole thing of wanting to give back. It does have an impact and it can change someone's life and you can change someone's life; the impact that just giving someone a pair of shoes will have on their life.”
Ebanks began dating actor/comedian Nick Cannon (born on October 8, 1980) in late January 2007 and they became engaged on May 7, 2007. However, in October 2007, the couple broke up. Ebanks has also been romantically linked to Saskatchewan Roughriders football player Tad Kornegay, tennis player James Blake, New York Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora and rapper Kanye West. She also once dated her former manager, Marc Chamberli.
In 2008, Ebanks underwent plastic surgery to narrow and shorten the tip of her nose.
Childhood and Family:
Selita Ebanks was born on February 15, 1983, in George Town, Cayman Islands. Her father is Jamaican and her mother is a native of the Cayman Islands. She grew up in a big family that included seven brothers whom influenced young Selita to play various sports like tennis, basketball and football. Her family was so poor that she and her many siblings lived in a small shack. She frequently did not have shoes to wear to Georgetown Primary School. Despite the poverty, her family tirelessly encouraged her to develop herself through extra-curricular activities.
With the intention of studying law, Selita moved to the United States and settled in Staten Island, New York. She was a bright student in high school and won several awards and contests for her writing skills. She was accepted into Spelman College, Columbia University, and New York University, but put her education on hold after she entered the modeling world.
Selita Ebanks was spotted by a modeling scout of Elite Model Management at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey when she was 17 years old. Ironically, six months prior to the discovery, the Ford Modeling Agency declined her with the reason being that she did not have “it”.
First working for commercials and catalogs, she quickly appeared in a number of major publications, including Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Nylon, and graced the cover of Trace magazine. She also did ad campaigns for prestigious fashion labels like Ralph Lauren, Levi's and Tommy Hilfiger, and for clients such as Maybelline Cosmetics and Sprite.
Represented by the New York-based Women Models, Ebanks scored a big breakthrough when she singed a contract with Victoria's Secret in 2005. This led to her famous appearance alongside veteran models Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks at the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Tyra Banks, who retired as a Victoria's Secret Angel, passed the Victoria's Secret torch to Ebanks on a November 2005 broadcast of “The Tyra Banks Show.” Asked if she has replaced Tyra Banks, Selita stated, “I think it was a coincidence. She was going out and I was coming in. I think it all just happened at the right time. Tyra's amazing. She said on her talk show that she was passing the torch down, and that was a bit overwhelming! I was like, ‘Excuse me. Don't say that! You're Tyra Banks!’ Those are some pretty big shoes. It's amazing and it's an honor. Sometimes people, they do the similarity thing. She's Tyra Banks and I'm Selita Ebanks. This whole thing has just been a coincidence. It's crazy.”
Since 2005, Ebanks, who previously worked for the Ipex Bra line of Victoria's Secret, has been a spokesmodel for Victoria's Secret and regularly appears in their shows and public relation appearances.
With her new found fame, Ebanks tried to pursue other opportunities. In January 2006, she landed a guest spot in the forth season of the comedy series “Still Standing,” starring Mark Addy and Jami Gertz. She also had a small role in the first few episodes of UPN's surf series “South Beach.” Outside acting, Ebanks has also recorded some music.
On November 26, 2007, Ebanks made a special guest appearance on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” called “The Yips.” Also appearing on the episode were fellow Victoria's Secret supermodels Miranda Kerr, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Marisa Miller and Heidi Klum. Also that year, she made her debut appearance on Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue, making her one of few women of color to grace the cover of such a popular publication.
On December 3, 2008, Ebanks appeared in “Victoria's Secret Fashion Show,” her forth televised show since becoming their spokeswoman.