The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Tyra Banks to discuss her book, “Modelland.”
The Balancing Act: Well, our next guest on “The Balancing Act” is not shy when it comes to sitting in front of a camera. She has captured the world of entertainment as a renowned model, created the hit series “America’s Next Top Model” and even hosts her own show, “The Tyra Show.” You probably know who I’m talking about by now, but we want to let you know that if that wasn’t enough, she has spent the last few years writing a series of books. She is a media icon and has worked to inspire women and give them a greater sense of self-confidence. I am so happy to welcome to “The Balancing Act” this morning the fabulous Miss Tyra Banks! Good morning, Tyra.
Banks: Thank you, how are you?
The Balancing Act: I am good. It’s so good to talk to you because, you know, when I told people, “guess what, I’m going to be interviewing Tyra Banks,” they said to me, “okay, ask her about her make-up,” because they said your make-up is always so flawless. Do you do it yourself or do you have somebody do it for you?
Banks: I have a make-up artist on “America’s Next Top Model,” but I do my own make-up a lot. I did my own make-up today.
The Balancing Act: You did?
Banks: A hundred percent.
The Balancing Act: Wow! Okay, so can you e-mail me with what you did?
Banks: Oh, yeah. I can totally tell you like products and stuff.
The Balancing Act: Okay, I’m going to look for that e-mail. You look beautiful.
Banks: Thank you.
The Balancing Act: All right, so you know the other thing I hear a lot about you is that, you know, you’re very accomplished and you’ve accomplished so much in your life and you’ve really worked to impact the lives of others. You know, you’ve really an amazing modeling career, you’ve branched off to TV host/producer and now you’ve written your first series of fiction books. Our show is called “The Balancing Act” on lifetime television. How do you, Tyra, balance it all?
Banks: I balance it all first by hiring people that are much more intelligent than I am in certain sectors. I want to be ignorant with whatever their job is and I just use my instinct and gut to take things to the next level with certain sectors of my business. And, then the second thing is focus. So, I got “Modelland” right here and I had to really focus to do this. I couldn’t just like do a little, write a little and in spurts, I had to check out from my company and go away, like on retreats and just live with that computer just with me. I mean there are some hotels that just know me, some cafes, the New York Public Library. I became a fixture trying to finish this book. So to me, it’s about focus, focus, laser focus.
The Balancing Act: I have to tell you I love that—just having that laser focus and then, also, having that team around you. And, you know, just one of the great things about what you’re doing now is, instead of writing just one book, you’ve kind of taken the talent one step further and have written a series. What prompted this idea for a series of books?
Banks: Well, there’s a series that will be coming out but this is the first of the series, so I’ve only written one so far.
The Balancing Act: One, so far. All right, and this one so far is called “Modelland” and what does the name mean and what is the plot of “Modelland”?
Banks: Yes, so “Modelland” is a fun, fantastical, magical, inspirational book. And, it’s about a girl by the name of Tookie de la Crème.
The Balancing Act: Where did that name come from?
Banks: Just crazy, you know, I love making up names and words. I love the sound of Tookie and then de la Crème, actually, as you get to read the book, you’ll understand that there’s something to do with her last name and why it is that way and connected to her mother and things. But yeah, she’s fifteen years old, she’s awkward, she gawky, she’s tall, she’s got one green eye and one brown eye, she’s got crazy hair, she has a huge forehead, like me, so Tookie’s very inspired by my life and my trial and tribulations as a teen as well as a model. At the same time, Tookie is every girl because we’ve all felt insecure, not good enough. I feel like people can project themselves as they’re reading “Modelland.” Tookie finds herself in this school called Modelland which is like the most coveted school to be at in the entire world and Modelland creates super models with super powers. Tookie is like, “Why am I here, I don’t look like any of these people,” and there’s a lot of mystery and secrets as to why she is there and the series charts her whole reign at Modelland, trying to survive there and to prove that she’s good enough.
The Balancing Act: Well, you know, I know something that is so important to you is self-esteem and empowering women and young women to know their self-worth and also their power.
The Balancing Act: And given all that you’re accomplishing and all that you have accomplished now, outside of the modeling world, what would you tell the younger Tyra, you know the one who had been modeling maybe just a year or two and still kind of feeling her way and kind of getting to know herself and maybe going through some of those insecurities?
Banks: Yeah, I would tell the young me, the young me that felt super insecure, that this is a moment in time and that you will come out of this but don’t ever forget this moment because it’s what shapes you. I think the difficult times in our lives, those insecure moments—I think those are what make us a human being and it also makes us empathize for other people. So, had it not gone through that very awkward, very uncomfortable physical stage in my life, I don’t think I would have been able to come to the point where I feel like my life’s passion is to expand the definition of beauty to make girls feel better about themselves and it’s because I was that girl. And, I think she always lives inside of me, so you know, like accomplishments and me doing x, y, z, I think inside I’m still Tookie inside, that there’s something in there that feels like I have to try because that insecure girl is still there.
The Balancing Act: Interesting. You know, I love what you represent and I love what you’re doing. Thank you so much for being here with us this morning and we’re looking forward to reading all of the books in your series.
Banks: Thank you.
The Balancing Act is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at www.thebalancingact.com.