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     Tyra Banks has enjoyed an amazing and  successful modeling career. 
She
is also one of the most beautiful and influential African American 
women in
the world. Banks was born California in 1973, and named one of the 
world's
most beautiful individuals by People magazine in 1996. Banks 
enjoyed a
carefree childhood despite the divorce of her parents when she was only 
six
years old, and the torments of her older brother Devin. Though it seems
improbable when viewing her today, Tyra Banks was a tall, skinny and 
awkward
adolescent. She often ran home crying to her mother after encountering
vicious and constant teasing from  her brother and classmates. But
everything changed for Banks late in high school. Her frame filled, she
began steadily exercising, and finally decided to become a model.
     Banks pursued her goal with the determination that now marks all 
her
 activities. She was initially rejected by four modeling agencies 
because
they felt her face wasn't photogenic, but Banks was finally signed by 
the
Elite agency at 17. Instead of attending Loyola Marymount College, 
Banks
moved to Paris for a year and modeled for many of fashion's biggest 
names,
including Ralph Lauren and Chanel. She later returned to the States and
continued modeling, steadily working her way up through the ranks. Soon
Banks began to diversify her activities. She landed a small part in the
British television movie Inferno as a supermodel, and then a 
recurring
role on Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air television show.
     Tyra Banks first film role came in John Singleton's Higher
Learning. She played Omar Epps' girl friend, a track athlete. Though 
it
was a small part  critics were impressed by the intensity she brought 
to the
screen. Banks was definitely not just another supermodel pretending to 
be an
actress -- her performance was the real thing. She even trained as a
distance runner as part of her preparation for the film.  When the 
movie was
released, other film offers started rolling in, but Banks chose to 
ignore
them. She concentrated instead on continuing her meteoric rise in the
modeling ranks, appearing on the covers of several magazines. She was 
the
first African-American woman ever featured on the covers of GQ, 
the
Victoria's Secret catalog, and the famous Sports Illustrated
Swimsuit Issue. She also made People's "50 Most Beautiful" list 
twice,
and even wrote a revealing autobiography Tyra's Beauty Inside & 
Out.
Banks also had some high-profile relationships, first with John
Singleton, then with pop singer Seal.
     She was rumored to have dated Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and... 
Mark
Messier? Strangely enough, yes. When Banks grew sick of the constant
scrutiny inherent in celebrity relationships, she returned to her high
school sweetheart, a law  student. But that didn't protect her from 
non-stop
rumors. Banks repeatedly says in interviews that she is looking for a
"Normal Guy", albeit a tall one, as she stands 5'11".  Banks began to 
work
more regularly in Hollywood after taking a small part in Love 
Stinks.
Things began to pick up in 2000. Banks had a supporting role in the 
popular
independent film Love & Basketball, and a starring role in the
made-for-TV Disney movie Life-Size (where she played a doll 
brought to
life by a wish). Then came an important part in Coyote Ugly, 
which put
Banks more prominently into the limelight. She played a wild bartender,
which is quite ironic since she has publicly mentioned several times 
she
doesn't drink alcohol.
    However, despite her occupation, Banks doesn't watch what she eats.
Unlike many other models she has gone on record as often eating 
barbecued
ribs, fried chicken wings, ice cream, and fast-food. During one talk 
show
appearance Banks proclaimed her love for Ketchup packets, and argued 
that
the sole purpose of french fries  was to allow you to scoop up puddles 
of
ketchup. So how does she stay in shape? Banks plays lots of sports,
particularly basketball and tennis, and makes sure she always has fun 
while
exercising.
     The future looks bright for Tyra Banks. She has a hit TV show
America's Next Top Model that's already been renewed for next 
season,
and she's featured in two upcoming movies. On one of them -- Disney's
Honey Thunder Dunk -- she will also serve as a producer. If that
weren't enough, Tyra Banks is one of the richest supermodels in the 
world,
with a personal wealth recently estimated at 8.8 million dollars. She 
loves
to take long walks on the beach and wake up early in the morning. Banks
feels this gives her extra time to think about life and to achieve 
inner
peace. She also enjoys going to the cinema, a rare luxury to 
superstars!

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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