She is more than just a person; she is a brand. When she was six, her parents got divorced. As a child, she described herself as a "tall beanpole freak." Tyra later went to John Burroughs Middle School and Immaculate Heart High School.
Tyra started modeling when she was fifteen. She traveled the world, walking in fashion shows for designers such as Chanel, Valentino, and Fendi, among others. Tyra Banks appeared on many covers, including Elle, Vogue, and she was the first African-American model on the covers of QG, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and the Victoria's Secret catalogue. From 1997 to 2005, Tyra Banks was a Victoria's Secret Angel. In 1998, Tyra said, "I'm not ugly, but my beauty is a total creation."
But that is merely the beginning of Tyra Banks' empire. She has been an actress, with roles on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Felicity," "Higher Learning," "Gossip Girl," "Love Stinks" and "Coyote Ugly," to name a few. She told People, "When people know me as a model, they back off. They have trouble relating the image they see in the magazines. But when they recognize me from television, they relate to me as this chill-out girl."
Tyra Banks is a producer, having formed her own production company ("Bankable Productions") and she launched and hosted the highly successful show "America's Next Top Model," which is also franchised throughout the world.
Tyra Banks was also a television talk show host with own her show. She notably launched a "So What" campaign to promote positive body image and won an Emmy for telling critics on daytime TV to "kiss my fat ass!" The show ran from 2005 to 2010. She also launched her own fashion and beauty website "typeF.com."
Tyra has written books, too, both fiction "Modelland," and non-fiction, "Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out." She even recorded her own music single, "Shake Ya Body," which premiered on UPN in 2004. On top of all that, she's been in variety of music videos for such singers as Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Mobb Deep, George Michael and Lionel Richie.
In 2006, Time magazine named her one of the Most Influential People in the World.
In 2008, Tyra Banks shared, "I feel so full when I'm at work but so empty when I come home."
Basically, if there is a media outlet, Tyra Banks has been in it at some point or other. As if all these accomplishments weren't enough, Tyra Banks enrolled in a nine-week long program at Harvard Business School's extension school and passed the Executive Education Training Program, earning a certificate in 2012.
Tyra Banks also created the Tyra Banks Scholarship for African-American girls to give them the opportunity to attend Immaculate Heart High School.
Tyra Banks lives in Los Angeles, California.