Entrepreneur Tyra Banks had a lot to to say in an exchange with The Wall Street Journal reporter Lee Hawkins that was inspired in part around Banks’ Modelland theme park, opening in Santa Monica this year.
Banks discussed the types of businesses she invests in and her role teaching branding Stanford University, but also dug into her early years as a model.
The exchange is receiving a lot of attention for Bank’s analysis of her relationship with 49-year-old supermodel Naomi Campbell, who on numerous occasions Banks has accused of attempting to sabotage her career.
In response to the interviewer’s description of Campbell as a rival, Banks pushed back and explained, “It wasn’t a rivalry. I’m very sensitive to that word because rivalry is with two equals to me, whereas one was very dominant; she was a supermodel and I was just some new girl that got on a plane from Paris and was studying fashion in magazines at a fashion library.”
Describing her first season in Paris as a 17-year-old she said, “I had a very painful early days in Paris as much as I was booking every single fashion show people didn’t know I was going home and crying my eyes out because the woman I was looking up to seemed like she didn’t want me to be there and was doing everything in her power to make me go away. And I didn’t understand that as a young girl.”
The 45-year-old multi-millionaire went on to explain that Campbell was only reacting to a racist industry that only had space for a single black model.
Explaining her longevity in the game, Banks attributed her success to always approaching the job as a business. She went on to list Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum as women who are beautiful but more importantly are “kick ass business women.” She noted, “We’re a trifecta of models that have really taken it somewhere else.”
Check out the interview below along with Banks’ infamous 2012 interview on her talk show.