Tyra Banks is a pioneer in many facets: She was the first African-American model to appear on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She's a model who has had massive success outside of the industry, having started Bankable Productions and executive producing shows like America's Next Top Model and The Fab in addition to hosting them. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for her talk show Tyra, she's a New York Times bestselling author, she's dabbled in music, she received a certificate from the Executive Education Training Program at Harvard, and she attended a boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America. And yes, she's a proud mother and in a long-term relationship. In short, Tyra challenges herself.
But Tyra is no stranger to the beauty industry, which is why it seemed like a natural, and perhaps long overdue, fit to venture into the cosmetics world. Having started Type F, a beauty and fashion site, several years ago, Tyra was able to spread her tips to her biggest fans as well as the general public. Now, with Tyra Beauty, she's creating both cosmetics and, most recently, skincare products she's proud to use.
"It's important to me because so many people ask me, 'How do you look so young?!'" said Tyra. "It's not because of the makeup that I put on my face; it was because of the habits that I've done. . . . My mom pushed into me exfoliation. For us, it was a washcloth. That was something I grew up with, and I was vigorous with it as I grew older, but as I reached a certain age, I realized the washcloth is not enough."
The products align with her habits but were also made with personal touches. Standout hits include a gentle microdermabrasion stick that removes dead skin and a vitamin-C- and blood-orange-based cleanser — a scent that Tyra has "a lot of personal connections" to — plus a silicone brush head to help melt away makeup dirt and single-use masks made for traveling that promise to "lift, smooth, and illuminate" the skin.
While Tyra is considered a true supermodel and longtime veteran in the industry, the road wasn't easy. She skipped college to model full time after being accepted into several universities. When she reached her late teens, she describes a scene straight out of The Nutty Professor: her body started to change, causing her breasts and bottom to grow. While many love and appreciate her gorgeous curves, at the time, she thought they were a curse.
"I kinda panicked about that because my agency sent me a list of designers that didn't want to hire me anymore," said Tyra. Her mother, after taking her out to get pizza, had Tyra write down the names of publications that would hire her. "She said, 'You write down everybody who likes ass. Big ass! Your ass!'"
It wasn't overnight, but eventually Tyra went on to walk in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Check out the full interview to hear Tyra discuss comparing herself to other powerful women (like Gisele Bündchen) and to learn more about Tyra Beauty skin care, and let us know your favorite part of the interview in the comments.