Supermodel and media mogul Tyra Banks recently made a modelling comeback. The 45-year-old recently graced the cover of 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. By coming out of retirement after 22 years, this new win marks a new chapter for her. She says her new modelling brand name represents the boundaries of beauty which are meant to be broken. The mother of one would like to be called BanX.
BanX represents a rebirth. After becoming the first black woman to grace the cover of SI magazine in 1997, she seeks to begin a new chapter in her life.
“Mononyms are exciting in the industry,” she told Sports Illustrated Magazine. “But usually models use their first names, like Iman. I want to flip the script and go by my last name. I’m taking something familiar and making it new. I’m wiser now, and thicker. BanX is me, but she’s also every woman. BanX represents rebirth, and that beauty boundaries only exist to be broken.”
In an Interview with Entertainment Today, she further explained why she chose to change her name. She said,
“I want me coming out of retirement to be bigger than me, and for me to represent women to say, enough of this cookie-cutter thing.
“As much as we’ve progressed with beauty, there’s still a long way to go of opening up the door and redefining what it means. And so that X stands for ‘X what you heard about what beauty means.’ We are making a new rule so that many more people can fit into this beauty box. Let’s bust the box open.”
The new and improved Tyra Banks
Tyra, over the years, transformed and is now bigger than she used to be. While it’s clear that she’s about 23 to 30 pounds heavier, what’s also evident is her confidence in her size. She speaks with Entertainment Today about her journey before the SI Magazine shoot, and a take-home for internet trolls who might decide to body shame her.
On preparing for the shoot:
“I’m in a new phase. You know, I have a new body. I’ll be honest, I do know how to lose weight. I know what to eat, I have one of the best nutritionists in the world, who is my homegirl, and when I have to pull it together to play [her Life-Size character] Eve … I call her and we pull it together. And when I was like, OK, I’m gonna shoot SI again, I was like, ‘OK, I’m gonna pull it together. I’m gonna get my body the same exact size from 22 years ago.’
“And I started it, and I was so focused. Then I went to my mom’s house and there were some Cheetos, and I just had the Cheetos. That was like the gateway in, and I was like, ‘After Cheetos, you have to have an ice cream party!'”
On her choice to not lose weight for the shoot:
“My mom, my son and I went to the grocery store. We had strawberry, coffee ice cream. We had green tea ice cream, chocolate, vanilla — a spread! Three spoons and just kinda played musical ice cream, and that was even deeper. From there, I just lost my mind. So, shooting in the Bahamas? Grits with shrimp every morning, bread and butter, pancakes.
“I don’t know what happened. And I don’t think it was just, ‘I’m losing control!’ I think it was, let me just celebrate what I am now and just be real, because I’m constantly telling people, beauty in all sizes, beauty at all ages. But here I am trying to look like my old self? So, I think subconsciously it was kinda like, ‘Nah. Let’s show ’em what’s up now.’
“I’ve taught modelling for years and years. So, I know how to pose. I know what to do. I know to stick the booty out and push the face up. There’s tricks that I know how to do to look more in shape than I am. But you’ll see the video footage from SI — roll it right now! And you’ll see kinda the jiggle jiggle that I can’t control, ’cause it’s motion camera.”
For haters she says:
“The internet — particularly social media — is the most beautiful thing in the world and the meanest thing in the world. So, I know there’s gonna be people puttin’ pictures next to each other going, ‘Oh, she’s thicker now, she’s this, she’s that, sit your old a** down…’ I know that’s gonna happen, but I didn’t do this for them — actually, I did do it for them. I did do it for them.
“Because the people who are saying that have negativity associated with themselves, with body, with age. The person that is telling somebody to ‘sit your old a** down’ is terrified of ageing. So, actually, I did it for them!”