The life of Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks was the first black woman to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That’s not the only glass ceiling she broke for black women in the modeling industry.

Life of Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks, Model, TV host and producer, actress, philanthropist. She was born in Inglewood, California on December 4, 1973. Her parents, Don and Carolyn Banks, divorced when she was 6. Banks has spoken publicly about her challenges with puberty. Banks knew she wanted to enter the media fashion industry from a young age. After overcoming her “awkward” phase, at 16 Banks signed a modeling contract with Elite Model Management, one of the largest modeling agencies in the world. In 1991, she booked 25 runway shows at Paris Fashion Week.

In 1993, Banks made her debut as an actress, playing Jackie Ames in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for 7 episodes. She continued runway modeling by signing with Victoria’s Secret. In 1997, she became the first black Victoria’s Secret angel. She also became the first black woman to grace the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated. Banks kept up acting in the 90s, including roles in Coyote Ugly, and Life Size.

In 1999, she founded TZONE to help young girls with body positivity. In 2003, she became the host of America’s Next Top Model. In 2005, she landed her own daytime TV show, The Tyra Banks Show. That same year, she also retired from modeling and dedicated her life to her shows, entrepreneurship and empowering women. The Tyra Banks Show ended in 2010, after winning two Daytime Emmys. In 2011, she enrolled in a special course at Harvard Business School. Three years later, she launched her beauty line. In 2016, Banks had her first child, via a surrogate. In 2017, she became the host of TV entertainment show America’s Got Talent.

After reprising her role as Eve in Life Size 2, in 2019 she made her modeling comeback by appearing again on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 45.