Tyra Banks
Birth Date:
December 4, 1973
Birth Place:
Los Angeles, California, USA
5' 9''
Famous for:
First African American model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrateds swimsuit edition
Actress, Model, Producer, Writer
Claremont McKenna College
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Breakthrough of Banks


Tyra Banks is an African-American supermodel pioneer who has been featured on magazine covers like CQ, Victoria's Secret catalog and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Tyra Banks also has been in the spotlight with appearances in the movies Higher Learning (1995) and Coyote Ugly (2000). Tyra also appeared in Michael Jackson's Black or White and George Michael's Too Funky videos. Advertisement work for companies such as Nike and Swatch can also be found on her resume. With measurements of 34Ż-23Ż-35Ż and standing 5' 10Ż" tall, Tyra is a dark, brown-haired bombshell who sizzles as a sex symbol.

"Black women have always been these vixens, these animalistic erotic women. Why can't we just be the sexy American girl next door?" Tyra Banks on being a sex symbol.

Awarded in People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful" twice, Tyra's name can be linked to celebrities like John Singleton, Seal, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Mark Messier. Though she has tried in the past to cover rumors by reverting back to her high school sweetheart, gossip continues to flow. Even the sport of basketball has linked her with LA Lakers Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox, and WNBA's New York player Teresa Weatherspoon.

In 1994, Tyra Banks set up The Tyra Banks Scholarship which helps African-American girls enroll in her alma mater, the Immaculate Heart High School, and in an all-girls private school in Los Angeles, California. Banks also established T-Zone, a summer camp held yearly for teenage girls to develop sovereignty and confidence. Tyra promotes greeting cards for children and families with an association that supports abused and abandoned children and works in bringing world awareness to issues surrounding Costa Rica's ecosystem.

Cherished Skinny Teen

Childhood and Family

Greenish-brown eyed, brown haired supermodel Tyra Lynne Banks was born on December 4th, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. Although Tyra grew up in an affectionate family, her parents divorced when she was six years old. Tyra had a cheerful and unproblematic girlhood despite the teasing she endured by older brother Devin because of her thin frame and clumsiness as a teenager. Nicknamed Froggy of BBQ, Tyra loves painting, rollerblading and skiing.

Tyra Banks Her Rank


Previously rejected by several modeling agencies that felt Tyra was not camera friendly, Tyra Banks eventually won a contract with Elite Agency at the age of 17. After dropping her studies at Loyola Marymount College, Tyra optimistically flew to Paris to pursue her modeling career. Within a year she was working for such exclusive fashion houses as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Yves St. Laurent and Oscar de la Renta. She also did campaigns for Cover Girl Cosmetics and Victoria Secret. Subsequently, Tyra appeared for Anfernee Hardaway, Nike, Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana.

Moving back to America, Tyra's name and fame had skyrocketed. In addition to magazine layouts Tyra tried her hand at acting. Her cameo role was in the British racy film titled Inferno. Tyra appeared on the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, playing Jackie Ames, Will Smith's girlfriend, and also was seen in the series Felicity. Tyra received her first movie role in John Singleton's Higher Learning (1995), portraying Omar Epps' girlfriend, Deja.

Tyra's work on film brought her to the silver screen in Love Stinks (1999, French Stewart and Bill Bellamy) and also brought a significant role in Jerry Bruckheimer's hit Coyote Ugly (2000).

Tyra appeared in the 2000 independent film Love and Basketball and in the Disney TV movie Life-Size where she played the character of a living doll. Recently Tyra appeared in New York Undercover and will soon play a lead role in a movie she is producing, Disney's Honey Thunder Dunk. Tyra also is the executive producer and creator of UPN's America's Next Top Model.

With private assets equaling 8.8 million dollars, Tyra is one of the planet's wealthiest models. Tyra also wrote the book, Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out, which was published in 1998 by Harper Collins and founded her own company TYInc.

Not bad for a supermodel who loves to eat barbecued ribs, fried chicken wings and ice cream.

"A smart model is a good model." Tyra Banks Looks like Tyra proves her point.


  • People Magazine: 50 Most Beautiful, 1994
  • People Magazine: 50 Most Beautiful, 1996
  • Michael Award: Supermodel of the Year, 1997
  • People Magazine: 10 Best Dressed List, 1998
  • Black Men Magazine: 10 Sexiest Women of the Year, 2000
  • People Magazine: The Most Beautiful Afro-American Woman in The World
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