Tyra Banks is an American television personality, businesswoman, author, actress and former model.
She is most popular for modelling for Victoria’s Secrets and Sports Illustrated, and also, for co-hosting American TV series – “America’s Got Talent”.
Tyra Banks’ Bio
Tyra Lynne Banks was born on December 4, 1973, in Inglewood, California. She experienced a rapid increase in height while growing up and often appeared taller than her peers both in middle and high school; she reportedly grew 3 inches when she was 11. However, during her senior year at Immaculate Heart High School, Tyra’s height looked less awkward as her body had developed to complement her height.
In addition to high school education, Tyra did an OPM course at Harvard University between 2011 and 2012.
All through her career and fame so far, Banks has had no record of drug abuse, alcoholism, litigation or incarceration. She lives a moderately decent lifestyle.
She is the second child and only daughter of her parents, Carolyn London and Donald Banks. She came after Carolyn and Banks welcomed her elder brother, Devin Banks. Her mother was a medical photographer while her father was a computer consultant. Tyra Bank’s parents divorced in 1979 when she was only six.
The Begining of Banks’ Modelling Career
At the age of 15, while still in high school, Tyra began modelling and hunting for contracts. After a year of being rejected and ridiculed by a number of agencies, she landed a deal with world’s largest agency, Elite Model Management.
Tyra subsequently made her runway debut in 1991 aged 18 at the Paris Fashion Week where she was booked in a whopping 25 shows, the highest ever for a beginner. She went on to walk the runway for brands like Christian Dior, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Perry Ellis, and a dozen others.
Her breakthrough came in 1996 when she became the first African-American woman to grace the cover of GQ and Sports Illustrated magazines, the latter of which she appeared in two issues. A year later, she signed with Victoria Secrets as one of their Angels and accomplished another feat by becoming the first African-American woman to feature on Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalogue.
Her Angel days with Victoria Secret was extremely successful. According to the lingerie makers, Tyra sold more briefs than any other Angel. For her effort, she was paid $3 million annually from 1997 to 2005 when she hung her wings, bringing the total to about $24 million. For the year 2005, Banks banked an estimated $6 million from all endeavours.
Tyra also had advertisement campaigns with the likes of Cover Girl, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Swatch, Yves Saint Laurent, Pepsi, H&M and more. She officially retired from modelling in 2005.
See Also: 20 Highest Paid Models In The World 2016
Acting and TV Shows
In addition to her modelling gigs, Tyra ventured into Hollywood in the early 1990’s. She made her TV debut in the fourth season of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where she appeared for 7 episodes. She made her film debut in 1995 drama “Higher Learning” which featured an ensemble cast.
In the early 2000’s, Tyra starred in a number of movies including “Love & Basketball”, “Coyote Ugly”, “Halloween: Resurrection” as well as television movie “Life-Size” alongside Lindsay Lohan. In later years, Tyra has instead made cameo appearances.
Despite retiring as a model, Banks earned $18 million between 2005 and 2006 thanks to her new venture into reality TV. Through her Bankable Production company, she created and presented the show “America’s Next Top Model” in 2003. The show which originally aired on UPN became an instant hit, breaking rating records.
It moved to The CW network and continued as the highest-rated show on the network. For the 2011/2012 season, a 30-second advertisement on ANTM cost $61,315 making it the highest for the network.
After airing for 22 seasons, the show was cancelled by CW in 2015 but revived by VH1 in 2016 with Banks remaining as the executive producer. Next Top Model is now a franchise and has at least 40 international editions.
In 2005, Tyra launched her eponymous talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show” which aired successfully on The CW for 5 seasons and received 2 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Informative. By 2007, Tyra was receiving a salary of $3.5 million from the show.
Thanks hugely to the successes of these two shows, Tyra earned about $95 million pretax in the space of 5 years between 2005 and 2010.
She has also co-created other shows like “True Beauty”, “FABLife”, and 2008 movie “The Clique”.
Businesses and Other Endeavors
Banks has also enjoyed significant success as an author. She recounted her experiences as a model in “Modelland”, a young adult novel published in 2010. In 2011, the book topped the NYT bestseller’s list.
She also earns substantially from her own cosmetic beauty brand named Tyra Beauty which she founded in 2014. She became a personal branding guest lecturer at Stanford University in August 2016.
Tyra owns a charity organisation, Tyra Banks TZONE which is geared towards the development of life and leadership skills, as well as Tyra Banks Scholarship, a fund that targets the education of African-American girls at her Alma mater.
Banks Net Worth
From the foregoing, we’ve seen in detail, Banks’ sources of income; how she got her big break in 1996 when she became the first African-American woman to ever grace the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated magazines.
She later moved from banking top dollar from her numerous modelling gigs to earning even more as a media personality hosting and creating shows via her Bankable Production company. Her net worth is estimated at $100 million.
Boyfriend or Husband, Is Tyra Banks Married?
Tyra Banks started dating a 6’3″ tall Norwegian photographer, Erik Asla (born 1965) in 2013. It is said that the two met on set during the shooting of Norway’s version of the “Next Top Model” show. Complementing Tyra’s modelling career, Erik’s photographs have featured in famous magazines like GQ, Allure, Vanity Fair, The New York Magazine, Glamour, Vogue and others.
Tyra and Erik kept their relationship away from the cameras until 2015. They, however, parted ways towards the end of 2017 on a mutual grounds. The duo has a son, York Banks Asla, whom they plan to co-parent. Erik himself has two other children, both girls, from a previous relationship.
Prior to her relationship with Erik Asla, Tyra Banks dated a number of men, most of whom were celebrities. The last among them was John Utendahl, CEO of Utendahl Group who was with her from 2007 to 2011. In a nutshell, Tyra Banks as at the time of this report is not married.
Meet Her Son – Are There Other Kids of Banks?
Tyra Banks had her child, York Banks Asla on January 27, 2016. York was born via a surrogate mother after Tyra failed to come through despite rigorous fertility treatments and IVF.
Aside from her son, York, Tyra Banks has no other child at the moment.