Want to know about Tyra's trailblazing modelling career, her humanitarian heart, and her laid back and natural style?
Read on to find out about Tyra's triumphs, childhood tales and makeup tips, and see some of the many shots from her Cover Girl shoots!
Before the Big Time
Tyra grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by a supportive group of family and friends. Even though Tyra's parents divorced when she was six, she remembers thinking that she had "double the presents, double the love." The only worry she had back then was how to escape the "sheer torture" her older brother, Devin, dished out. They're best friends now, but Tyra laughingly recalls how he used to steal food from her, make fun of her clumsiness, and generally make life stressful. Hey, that's what big brothers are for, right?
When Tyra was 11 years old, she lost nearly 20 pounds in a three-month time span and grew three inches. She was so skinny she says even her teachers were worried. Those days are over! Tyra's toned body has earned her accolades the world over.
Never Give Up
Picture this: Four modeling agencies turned Tyra down before the fifth signed her to do only runway shows because they didn't feel that the camera liked her face. Hard to believe, huh? Tyra, discouraged but determined, decided to stick it out. "I truly believe the secret to my longevity has been not giving in to the words 'no' or 'can't'," she writes in her book, Tyra's Beauty Inside and Out.
Tyra the Trailblazer
Tyra's career has been marked by many historical accomplishments:
- The first African-American woman and the first model to be featured on the cover of GQ magazine (1996)
- Winner of the 1997 "Supermodel of the Year " Michael Award
- The first African-American model to score the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue (1997)
- She has twice been named one of People magazines "50 Most Beautiful People in the World"
- The first African-American model to sign an exclusive contract with Victoria's Secret (1998)
- Her 1997 Tyra Banks calendar became an instant top seller
- Made People magazine's "10 Best Dressed List" of 1998
- The third African-American model with a major cosmetic contract when she signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Cover Girl (1993)
In 1992, she established the Tyra Banks Scholarship for young African-American girls to attend her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. She's also the spokesperson for a New York City-based program, The Center for Children and Families. In 1997, Tyra received the Children's Friendship Award for her work with the Starlight Children's Foundation. There's no doubt: This woman is golden, inside and out!
Off the Runway
"When I'm not working, my style is extremely relaxed. I wear very natural makeup and sport my uniform of jeans, T-shirt and flip flops."
Tyra's Top Shots
Cover Girl Tyra Banks has appeared on hundreds and hundreds of fashion magazine covers. And for good reason. Her natural appeal and beautiful allure have made her one of the world's top models. And the camera just adores her! Some of her Cover Girl shots are on view right here.
Tyra's Makeup Must-Haves
Tyra never leaves the house without blush, mascara, and tons of lip gloss. "Cover Girl LipSlicks lip gloss in A Lot Of Shine, Hint Of Pink, or Hint Of Bronze is my favorite. Professional Advanced Mascara is also one of the staple items in my makeup bag." Her beauty secret? "A smidgen of Vaseline on cheekbones gives you great glow!"
Tyra's Favorite Tips from the Pros
- Makeup artists have taught her to think of makeup in terms of situation and mood. Now she adjusts her look so that it is appropriate for the time of day and season, or how she feels at the moment.
- Tyra's learned "the importance of fine-tuning. That is, paying a little more attention to make sure makeup is perfect, which makes a difference between an OK face and a great face."
- Makeup does not have to always be about beauty, but can and should sometimes be fun and creative, incorporating texture and color to create various looks."
Close to Her Heart
With the publication of her new book, Tyra's Beauty Inside and Out, she not only writes about beauty, fashion, health and fitness, but also gives her readers important insights into life by sharing personal stories. Speaking very frankly about her experiences with modeling, sex, relationships and self-esteem, this ambitious role model is able to speak directly to young girls, and she hopes, positively affect their lives.