There’s nothing new about the name Tyra Banks. Presumably, many people know the famed supermodel, whose roots go back to tough financial times in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles. Yet, like so many African-Americans–before and after her–who have overcome The United State’s perpetual racial and economic barriers, many people also know her journey to and through success. For instance, Tyra’s entry into modeling could have been derailed had she given into statements about there not being much need for her ethnic type in the modeling world at that time (the early 90’s), or there was no need for another black woman at one particular agency since they already had one.
The ethnic statements proved farcical considering Tyra’s subsequent and recurrent successes. She acquired a contract with the world’s largest modeling agency (Elite Model Management) that sent her off to Paris to do high-fashion catwalk modeling. There, she booked twenty-five shows in one year. That was unprecedented considering she was new to the industry. Ironically, with respect to the ethnic debasement Tyra received, she became the first African-American woman to be featured on the cover of GQ Magazine and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Another coveted agreement came her way as she landed an 8-year Victoria’s Secret deal, and in 2003, her hit show, America’s Next Top Model, debuted with international success and is still in production. Moreover, The Tyra Banks Show aired for 5 years beginning in September 2005 and thrust her further into the spotlight. She has received Emmys, landed additional major magazine covers, received beauty product endorsements, appeared on the big and small screen, and acquired music deals. The honors for Banks are quite impressive and quite extensive.
In the interest of making the transition, like many celebrities before her, to businessperson/celebrity, Bankable Enterprises was launched in 2003. This venture is the foundation of an aggregate of business interests that consist of Bankable Productions (an independent film and television production company), Bankable Digital (a multi-book deal w/Delacorte Press), and Bankable Studios (a collaboration w/Warner Bros.). Perhaps in justifiable recognition of seeing herself as more than a person with multiple and enormous talents who has done many things, Tyra conceivably reached a moment of acknowledgement of who she is–a brand and business. In 2008, she enrolled in a 3-year Executive Education Owner/President Management extension program at Harvard Business School because, as she told CBS News, “In order for my company to grow and be the best, and to reach these women, and to serve them, I needed the best. So, I went to the best.”
If all that were not enough, Tyra’s business empire keeps growing. She has recently announced the release of her latest venture. The supermodel-business-mogul has entered the over $2.5 billion international beauty market with the release of TYRA beauty. Tyra disclosed her brand of products (ranging from $24-$78) on the online shopping program, HSN’s Beauty Report. Included in the line is smize–a term coined by Tyra, which means to smile with your eyes. The smize collection is a cosmetic line made particularly for the eyes. Other eye products are TY over in-stick concealers, eye shadows, and there is also a lip color collection. Tyra is also reported to have told People magazine, “Without makeup, I would have never been a supermodel.”
Prior to the announcement of TYRA, Tyra’s estimated net worth has been consistently reported as being between $86 and $100 million, according to numerous sources that report celebrity net worth.
Blog By Terita Smith