Prior to graduating from
Immaculate Heart High School in 1991, she wanted to give modeling a
try. She applied and was accepted at Loyola Marymount University, that
Elite modeling agency gave the 17-year-old, her first modeling job.
Afterwards, she had been rejected many times for modeling assignments,
which led her to drop out of college so quickly.
Within Banks's first week in Paris, other designers were so
entranced by her presence on the runway that she was booked for an
unprecedented 25 shows--a record in the business for a newcomer. She
has done extensive print and/or runway work for fashion/advertising
giants such as Anna Sui, Coors Light, CoverGirl, Badgley Mischka, Bill Blass, Cynthia Rowley, Christian Dior,
Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Gemma Kahng, H&M, Isaac Mizrahi,
Maria Snyder, McDonald's, Michael Kors, Milk, Nicole Miller, Nike,
Inc., Oscar de la Renta, Pepsi, Perry Ellis, Randy Kemper, Richard
Tyler, Rifat Ozbek, Swatch, Todd Oldham, Tommy Hilfiger,
Victoria's Secret, XOXO, and Yves Saint Laurent. She has appeared on
the covers of such magazines as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan,
and Elle. Banks was the first African American woman on the covers of
GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 1997, she received the
Michael Award for Supermodel of the Year. Also in '97, she was chosen
for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog, making her the first
African American to be so honored. Banks retired from modeling in May
2005 to concentrate on her television show. She walked the runway for
the final time at the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. On numerous
occasions, she has been sought after to appear in Playboy magazine;
however, she has turned each request down.
Banks' television career began on the fourth season of The
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which she played lead character Will's
ex-girlfriend Jackie Ames, and made eight appearances throughout the
series. Other screen credits include Felicity, MADtv, Nick Cannon's
Wild 'N Out (in which she was featured as special guest host and team
captain), and The Price Is Right (guest-starring as a Barker's Beauty).
Currently, Banks can be seen on television as the hostess,
head judge, and executive producer of the UPN (now the CW) television
show America's Next Top Model. In addition, she does double duty as the
host of The Tyra Banks Show, a daytime talk show which premiered on
September 12, 2005 and recently began its second season, drawing over
1.9 million viewers an episode. The show features stories about
everyday people mixed in with celebrity interviews, much like the early
format of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Under the slogan "Every woman has a
story...and it happened to Tyra too", Banks promotes her show using
emotional flashbacks to her own childhood and adolescence. Many of the
episodes deal with issues facing women today.
On the big screen, Banks has had minor roles in a few movies.
Her first big screen role came in 1995 when she co-starred in the
critically acclaimed drama Higher Learning. She went on to co-star with
Lindsay Lohan in the Disney film Life-Size, playing a doll named Eve
who comes to life. Other notable roles include 1999's Love Stinks,
2000's Coyote Ugly, and 2002's Halloween: Resurrection.
In personal life she has previously been linked romantically
to musical artist Seal, NBA players Rick Fox and Chris Webber, hockey
player Mark Messier, and director John Singleton. She has said
repeatedly that she has no plans on dating or getting married any time
soon. Currently, she is enjoying the single life and has recently moved
to New York City where she focuses on both of her TV shows.
Alma Couture, CoverGirl, Dolce & Gabbana, Elite chocolate, H&M, Milk, Rifat Ozbek, Swatch skin, Victoria's Secret, X-O-X-O and Yves Saint Laurent
Photo, Max, Harper's Bazaar,
Amica, Anna, Il Venerdi, L'Espresso, Elle, DT, Cosmopolitan, Maxim,
Elle, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Details, Shape, Fitness, Ocean Drive
Bella Freud, Victoria's Secret, Alberta Ferretti, Anna Molinari, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent