Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks, pictured in the arms of her mother, Carolyn London, with brother Devin Banks and a cousin, grew up in Inglewood, Calif., in the 1970s. Becoming a supermodel wasn't a goal, or even a dream, she said. "It wasn't something that I always wanted to do," she told ABC News. "It wasn't like I grew up and looked at magazines and said, 'Oooh, that's so glamorous, I wanna do that.' It found me."
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Early years: Tyra Banks in the late 1970s with mom Carolyn London and a cousin.
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    As a young girl, said Banks, pictured age 11, she struggled with her body image. "I was thin, I was 98 pounds, I was 5 foot 9, I was an inch shorter than I am now," she said. "So that is not just supermodel thin, that's just, like, what's-wrong-with-her thin, and I had very low self-esteem because nothing I could do would make me gain weight."
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks with her friend Robyn in high school in 1989. Banks said another high school friend saw something in her she never saw in herself. "This one girl comes up to me," Banks recalled, "and the first thing she says is, 'Have you ever thought about modeling? You look like you could model.' And I was like, 'Huh?'"
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks at her junior high school graduation with mom Carolyn London and dad Donald Banks.
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks, age 17, at her graduation from Immaculate Heart High School.
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks in 1990 on the New York City subway with her mother, Carolyn London.
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks' early modeling success came with heartbreak. "To go to an agency and for them to say, 'We already have a black girl' -- singular, 'black girl'!!" Banks recalled. "That was weird."
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks, 16, in a photo taken by her mother, Carolyn London. "There was one woman in the agency who said to me, 'I know you are all excited you got your new little pictures in 'Seventeen' magazine and things, but, um, you're not gonna get far in this world because you're black, so you should learn how to type, because the furthest you're gonna get in this agency is being the head receptionist like me,'" Banks recalled. "She said that to me."
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    The supermodel-slash-family girl: Tyra Banks in 2002 with brother Devin Banks, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
    Courtesy Tyra Banks
  • Tyra Banks

    Talk show host, supermodel, and entrepreneur Tyra Banks is adding yet another title her name: author.
    Ida Astute/ABC News
  • Tyra Banks

    In a 2009 interview with "Nightline's" Cynthia McFadden, Banks said she wishes she were more of a diva, if that means being a strong businesswoman and leader. "I wish I was harder, I wish I didn't care so much about being the nice girl all the time because a lot of the time people can take kindness for weakness, so I wish I had a little bit more 'oomph' in me," Banks tells McFadden.
    Ida Astute/ABC News
  • Tyra Banks

    Banks has been famously dubbed "America's Next Top Mogul" by The New York Times, but it's a title she doesn't feel she deserves ... yet. "I think I'm too young to be a mogul, I think I'm too young for that," she said. "When I think about moguls, I think, like, Donald Trump. He owns N.Y.C. practically -- that's a mogul."
    Ida Astute/ABC News
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus