Tyra Banks’ career as a model has been legendary—both on and off the runway.

But the mogul revealed in a new episode of TV One’s Uncensored, which aired last weekend, that her big break from fashion to films came after she appeared on the June 1993 cover of ESSENCE.

Her big break came when she was scouted by late director John Singleton to appear in his 1995 cult classic Higher Learning.

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Essence magazine reached out to my agent when I was living in Paris and they wanted me to be on the cover,” she detailed on Uncensored.

The ask was a big deal for her at the time because despite gracing fashion magazines in Paris and the world over, ESSENCE was the magazine “on my mom’s counter, her bed, just in the kitchen, just my entire life,” she explained.

That 1993 cover was seen by Singleton’s publicist, who reached out to Banks and said she might be good for his next film.

Soon after, Banks met with the acclaimed director for an audition in Los Angeles where he asked her read some lines from the script.

“So I start reading it, then he reads the guy’s part and he’s like, ‘Dang! You can act…,'” she explained. “And I booked the movie Higher Learning.”

Banks went on to play Deja in the film about the lives of a diverse group of freshman students at a major university.

Higher Learning went onto become a cult classic. It also earned star Laurence Fishburne an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.


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