Tyra Banks may have been the first Black woman to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but her accomplishments actually came to fruition after she was body-shamed in the fashion industry.
Banks, who attended Variety’s inaugural Path to Paritywomen’s summit this week, explained her unconventional path to becoming a supermodel and eventually becoming a mogul. Banks shared with Variety’s managing editor Cynthia Littleton how she was initially rejected from modeling industry because of her brown skin and curvy figure.
She further explained as her body developed and she was going through puberty, she was shunned from working with some high-end fashion designers. Banks’ mother then encouraged her to make a list of designers who did work with curvy models. Banks recalled her mom telling her, “’l’ll be damned if my daughter has to starve for this industry.’”
After making the list which included Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated, Banks took the list to her agent at the time and eventually saw her visualized dreams manifest into reality.
Banks further shared, “Me being a boss came from pain. Being told no you can’t. I’m going to fight for brown skin… My pain turned me into a boss.”
Watch a video below of Banks sharing how her mom truly helped push her to success: