Tyra Banks is an American television personality, businesswoman, author, actress, and former model. She is very popular for modeling for Victoria’s Secrets and Sports Illustrated as much as she is admired for co-hosting the well-known American talent show competition, “America’s Got Talent”.
Banks was only 15 and still in high school when she started hunting for modeling contracts. After a year of being rejected and ridiculed by a number of agencies, she landed a deal with the famous Elite Model Management, and that marked the beginning of her rise to stardom as well as the massive wealth she would come to accumulate in the years that followed.
The Ex-Model’s Started Earning Big When She Was 18
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. During her senior year at Immaculate Heart High School, Tyra’s height looked less awkward as her body had developed to complement her height. Thus, she began modeling.
Joining Elite Model Management, Tyra subsequently made her runway debut in 1991 at the age of 18; this was at the Paris Fashion Week where she was booked in a whopping 25 shows, the highest ever for a beginner. Though the specifics of what she earned from the shows were never made public, anyone could tell Tyra would be smiling to the bank at the end of it all. Also, it is logical to assert that this laid a foundation for her to grow her net worth. 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; accumulating more wealth in the process.
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 catalog.
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 endeavors.
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 modeling in 2005 but has remained relevant in showbiz and has continued to grow her wealth.
Acting and TV Shows Skyrocketed Tyra Banks’ Earning Power
In addition to her modeling gigs, Tyra ventured into Hollywood in the early 1990s and it saw her net worth touch the skies. She made her TV debut in the fourth season of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” wherein she appeared for 7 episodes. Her film debut was in the 1995 drama “Higher Learning” which featured an ensemble cast. In the early 2000s, Tyra Banks starred in a number of movies including “Love & Basketball”, “Coyote Ugly”, “Halloween: Resurrection” as well as the television movie “Life-Size” alongside Lindsay Lohan. In later years, she has only 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 the show cost $61,315, making it the highest for the network. After airing for 22 seasons, the show was canceled 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 the 2008 movie “The Clique”. It was in 2017 that she replaced Nick Cannon as the host of America’s Got Talent. What she was paid remains unknown to the public but it is said that Nick earned $70,000 per episode of the show, so it is logical to conclude that Banks’ salary was around that figure.
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Businesses and Other Endeavors that Contributed to Her $100 Million Net Worth
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.
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 modeling gigs to earning even more as a media personality hosting and creating shows via her Bankable Production company. All these added to her net worth which is estimated at over $100 million as of 2020.
The former model is prudent with her wealth and public-spirited. She owns a charity organization called 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. In all, there is no doubt that Tyra’s career has been rewarding; can the same be said of her love life?
Tyra Banks Has Never Been Married
For many people, the closest the ex-model has come to having a marital life was her relationship with Erik Asla. Tyra Banks started dating the 6’3″ tall Norwegian photographer 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 modeling 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 mutual grounds.
The duo has a son named York Banks Asla, whom they co-parent. Erik himself has two other children, both girls, from a previous relationship. Tyra Banks had her child on January 27, 2016. York was born via a surrogate mother after Tyra failed to come through despite rigorous fertility treatments and IVF.
York, as of this writing, is Banks’ only child.
She Has Quite a Long List of Failed Relationships
Before Erik Asla became a significant person in her life, Tyra Banks had a good number of lovers. But like what she had with Erik, the relationships failed for reasons that are best known to the people involved, Below is a list of the people the ex-model dated before the famous photographer.
The American executive known as the owner of Utendahl Group had a long-term relationship with Tyra Banks that made people regard them as life partners even though they never got married. What they had lasted from 2007 to 2011 and in between Erik Asla and Utendahl, Banks reportedly dated Rob Evans and Brian J. White.
Much isn’t known about Giancarlo apart from the fact that he is a basketball player who dated Tyra from 2005 to 2006. The relationship ended before people could understand what was going on between them.
Like Giancarlo, Chris Webber is also a basketball player, and he dated Banks from 2001 to 2004. Their relationship was a very public one with many hoping they would end up together as man and wife. This didn’t happen as they parted ways in 2004 with Chris getting married to Erika Dates.
He died on the 28th of April 2019 but will be remembered for a long time as an actor, producer, film director, and screenwriter that dated Tyra Banks from 1993 to 1996. The same year their relationship came to an end, John Daniel Singleton got married to Akosua Gyamama Busia, a Ghanian actress. They parted ways the following year but had a daughter together.
As her co-star in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the ex-model is believed to have had a romantic encounter with the famous actor. It is said that they dated for a while just like what Tyra had with Seal, the popular Nigerian-British singer-songwriter sometime in 1996.