Tyra Banks

  • Birth Name: Tyra Lynne Banks
  • Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Profession: Model, Actor, TV personality
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Top supermodel Tyra Banks was always more than just a pretty face and perfect body. Her résumé boasts stints as an actress, recording artist, author, talk-show host and reality-TV queen. She was signed by Elite modeling agency at 17 and whisked off to Paris, where she was an instant success, booking a record 25 shows. This early triumph was quickly followed by magazine covers and lucrative assignments with the world's leading fashion and makeup companies, including Yves St. Laurent and Dior. Later, Banks became the first black woman to grace the covers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and the Victoria's Secret catalog. But she had more on her mind than modeling. She began acting in music videos, including Michael Jackson's Black or White, and had a recurring role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Supporting TV and movie roles followed, most notably in 1995's Higher Learning, directed by her then-boyfriend John Singleton. But superstardom came in 2003 when Banks created, produced and hosted the reality competition America's Next Top Model. It quickly became a global sensation, with spin-offs in several countries, including Australia, Germany and Italy. In 2005, Banks retired from modeling and launched a daytime talk show that resulted in her first Daytime Emmy win in 2008.

Fast Facts

  • Was turned down by four agencies before signing with Elite Model Management in 1990 and moving to Paris.
  • First acting role was as a supermodel in the 1992 British TV-movie Inferno.
  • Cast as Will Smith's love interest in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993.
  • Published Tyra's Beauty Inside & Out in 1998.
  • Created TZONE, a Southern California camp aimed at building self-esteem in teenage girls, in 1999.
  • Released debut single "Shake Ya Body" in 2004.
  • Completed a certificate course called the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard University in 2012.


  • 2017, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Reality Show Host: Nominee


  • Erik Asla — Significant Other
  • Devin Banks — Brother
  • Donald Banks — Father
  • Carolyn London-Johnson — Mother
  • Clifford Johnson — Stepfather
  • Chris Webber — Ex-significant Other
  • York Banks Asla — Son
  • John Utendahl — Ex-significant Other

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