Biography of Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks is a Top Model, TV sitcom/ movie actress, Victoria Secret Angel, Author, Singer, Coyote Ugly Girl and Talk Show Host. This woman has done it all. This biography of Tyra Banks will attempt to list, using a time-line, most of the important dates in this superwoman’s life by category. (Disclaimer: Tyra is one of my idols, so I will do my best to stay accurate but one of Ms. Banks’ most enduring qualities is her commitment to sisterhood and forgiveness. Please practice the same if you find an error. Also, remember that she has made a lot of appearances, both modeling and otherwise that it would be impossible to list them all.)

December 4th, 1973: Tyra Banks was born in Los Angeles, California. Tyra has talked about her adolescent years, painful like most of us, with the nickname “Olive Oil” because of having the beginnings of a supermodel body: height and skinniness. She has more then once, told of how her Mama, Carolyn London, is her rock that has gotten her through all of the tough times, personal and career wise.

She began her modeling career at the age of 17 with the Elite agency and went on to have too many contracts with agencies all over the world to list.

Tyra Banks’ Music Video Roles:
1991: Her first “video girl” role in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”. She is featured in the sequence of celebrity cameos.

1999: Once again, she answers the call of her musical side in George Michael’s video “Too Funky”.

Tyra Banks’ Television Appearances- Sitcoms and Specials (I am not listing the annual “Victoria Secret Fashion Shows” as she was obviously a part of those):

1993-1994, She has a recurring role as Will’s girlfriend “Jackie Ames “on TV’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

1997: She starred in “Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit ’97” as herself on Television.

1997: Has a recurring role as “Natasha Claybourne” on “New York Undercover”

1999: Guest appearance as “Nicole” on “The Hughleys”.

1999: Tyra stars, as herself, in the special “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection 1995-1999”

2000: Has two guest appearances on “Mad TV” as “Katisha”.

2000: Appears in three episodes of “Felicity” playing “Jane Scott”.

2001: Has a guest role on “Soul Food” as “Nina Joseph”.
2002: “Fashiontrance”

2002: “Cleavage”

2003: “Totally Gay!”

2004: “Sports Illustrated 40th Anniversary Swimsuit Special: American Beauty”.

2004: The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards as a co-presenter.

2004: Appears on the “35th NAACP Image Awards”

2004: Has a guest role as “Roni” in TV’s “All of Us”

2004: Portrays “The Velvelettes Singer” on an episode of “American Dreams”

Tyra Banks’ personal shows “Producers Credits”
2003: Launches her show “America’s Next Top Model” that is still going strong today.

2004: Producer of TV Movie: “Marple: The Body in the Library” based on an Agatha Christie Novel.

2005: Tyra launches her daytime talk show “The Tyra Banks Show” where she has celebrity guests and offers advice about everything under the sun, with the help of her best friend and partner in crime, her Mama.

Tyra Banks’ Movie Roles “Filmography”:
1992: Has a small role as a supermodel in the British television movie “Inferno”.

1995: Plays “Deja”, Omar Epps’ girlfriend, in “Higher Learning”

1997: Has a role in “A Woman Like That”

1998: Tyra stars, in her best role ever (as far as my daughter is concerned), as herself, in “Elmopalooza!”

1999: Has a role on the TV Movie “The Apartment Complex”

1999: Portrays “Holly Garnett” in the movie “Love Stinks”

2000: Plays “Kyra Kessler” in “Love and Basketball”

2000: Portrays “Eve” in Walt Disney’s TV movie “Life-Size”

2000: One of my favorite roles, Tyra Banks plays “Zoe”, the future lawyer and retiring Coyote in “Coyote Ugly”

2002: Plays “Nora Winston” in one of the latest of sequel mania’s that is “Halloween: Resurrection”.

2002: Is the voice of the “Victoria Secret Gown” in Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights”

2004: Has a role in “Larceny”

April 15, 1998: Tyra Banks book “Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out” is first published by “Perennial Currents”.

June 1, 1999: The book “Tyra Banks (Black Americans of Achievement)” written by Pamela Levin is published by “Chelsea House Publications”.

Now we move on to the longest part of Tyra Banks’ biography, her modeling career. She is best known as being a Victoria Secret “Angel” as well as a “Cover Girl”. Obviously, her covers and modeling shoots are too many to list, but I would like to list some of her famous “firsts”:

She was the first African American woman to ever be signed by a cosmetic company “Cover Girl”.

In 1997 she became the first African American woman to be on the cover of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue”.

In 2000, Tyra became the first African-American Woman to be on the covers of both “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” and “GQ” at the same time. She also received the honor of “Woman of the Year-2000” for doing so.

Tyra is also the recipient of the prestigious Michael Award for “Supermodel of the Year,” and the first African American woman to grace the cover of the “Victoria Secret” catalog. She has also held the honor of one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful” twice so far in her lifetime. In 2005 she made the following lists: Ask Men’s 99 Most Desirable Women, FHM-Germany’s 100 Sexiest Women and FHM-South Africa’s 100 Sexiest Women as well as Forbes’ Celebrity 100 Power Ranking.

One of the greatest things that Tyra ever did was in 1999 when she launched “T-Zone”, an annual summer camp that helps change the lives of young girls blossoming into young women every year. More information about this program can be found at: She is also the founder of the company “Bankable Productions”

I am sure that Tyra Banks’ will continue to amaze and surprise the world as she persists in her quest to break down racial and emotional barriers. With her new talk show and the end of the “Victoria Secrets” runway, who knows what America’s African American Princess has in store for us next.

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