From the Runway to the Boardroom

Tyra Lynne Banks is a 38-year-old American supermodel who has also become a notable media personality and businesswoman. Banks is currently the host (and creator) of “America’s Next Top Model”, and previously had her own talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show.”

Tyra is a native of California, and began modeling when she was just 15 years old. Elite Model Management hired Banks when she was 16–after she was rejected by six other modeling agencies. She then received an opportunity to model in Milan, so she put off college to pursue her modeling career. In her very first runway season, Tyra Banks was able to book 25 fashion shows at New York Fashion Week in 1991. Over the course of her career, Banks has modeled clothes for famed designers like Valentino, Fendi and Chanel. And, of course, she is well known for gracing Victoria’s Secret runways and catalog covers as a lingerie model from 1997 to 2005.

Tyra Banks was the first African-American woman to be on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated magazines. These are perhaps the biggest accomplishments of her modeling career. While still modeling, Banks also began a film and television career. To those who have followed her TV career, she is likely known as Jackie Ames, the childhood friend of Will Smith on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Banks also co-starred in the 1994 drama “Higher Learning,” where she played a college student. She co-starred with Lindsay Lohan in the Disney movie “Life Size” as a life-sized doll who comes to life and tries to thrive in the real world.

While there hasn’t been much negative press about Banks’ personal life, and she is somewhat private about her dating life, the supermodel did have a serious relationship with John Singleton in the 1990s. Singleton is the movie producer behind such films as “Boyz in the Hood” and “Higher Learning.” She also dated athlete Chris Webber from 2001 to 2004. More recently, Banks has been linked to rapper Drake, and Rob Evans, one of the new judges on “America’s Next Top Model.”

These days, Banks runs Bankable Productions, the production company she began. She is also a contributor for the Vogue Italia website and has recently re-signed with her former modeling agency, IMG Models.