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Tyra Banks Biography

Tyra Banks


Name: Tyra Banks
Profession: Actress, Producer
Birth Date: December 4, 1973
Height: 5' 10"

Tyra Banks grew up in Inglewood, Calif. Her parents divorced when she was six, but her family, including her one brother Devin, remained close.

Banks first started modeling while she was in the 11th grade at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. Her modeling career started in Europe and she soon evolved into a world-renowned supermodel who quickly became a pioneer in the industry.

In the fashion industry, Banks became known for breaking down barriers with her extensive list of "firsts." Over the course of her distinguished career, she became the first African-American model to grace the covers of GQ and the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She was also featured on the cover of the famed Victoria's Secret catalog, an honor she received countless times. She received numerous awards within the fashion industry, including the prestigious Michael Award for "Supermodel of the Year," the modeling industry equivalent of an Oscar, as well as two Teen Choice Awards for "Favorite Supermodel."

Banks previously had a five-year contract with Cover Girl cosmetics and enjoyed a long-term contract with Victoria's Secret, celebrating her 10th anniversary with the company in 2005. After a successful and illustrious modeling career, Banks made the decision to leave the modeling world and expand her ventures in entertainment. In a 2005 TV special commemorating Banks's official retirement from the runway, an incredible 10 million viewers watched as Victoria's Secret paid tribute to the groundbreaking model.

In 2003, Banks became a major force in television when she created, executive produced, and hosted the tremendously successful "America's Next Top Model." The reality series would also become a hit internationally, with the American edition appearing in more than 100 countries and an additional 20 countries adapting their own version.

Two years later, with the launch of her syndicated daily talk show "The Tyra Banks Show," Banks became one of the few women to be seen regularly on both daytime and primetime television. After premiering on Sept. 12, 2005, the talk show quickly became one of the most popular new daytime programs on the air.

In 2003, Banks created Bankable Productions as a subsidiary of her parent company, Bankable Enterprises. The production company develops television shows and feature films that are off-the-charts entertaining, uplifting and have wide appeal across various demographics. Bankable Productions focuses on content that features strong female characters, telling their stories with intelligence, sophistication and of course, the wit and humor synonymous with the Tyra Banks name.

In 2008, Entertainment Weekly titled their cover story and feature, "America's Next Top Mogul." In a primetime telecast in 2007, Banks was saluted as a trailblazer and received a BET Honors award for her work in media alongside Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons and other notables. That same year, Banks was placed in Time magazine's "Most Influential People in the World" report for the second year in a row. In 2006, Forbes profiled Banks on their highly anticipated "Celebrity 100" report.

As an icon in the international, cultural, and entertainment communities, Banks has broken down barriers to become one of the most admired and watched individuals in media today.