Banks sets fantasy book series 'Modelland' at Delacorte
Tyra Banks has set her sights on another job title: America’s Next Top Author.Model-turned-media star has sealed a three-book deal with Delacorte Press, which will publish her young-adult fantasy series “Modelland.” Project reps the first foray into fiction publishing for Banks’ Bankable Enterprises, which produces The CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (with Ken Mok) under its Bankable Prods. arm. In a concept that marries “Top Model” and “Harry Potter,” “Modelland” centers on a teen who manages to get into an exclusive academy for “Intoxibel las” — who are the most exceptional models known to humankind and harbor unknown powers. Once there, she finds herself competing to be accepted as part of that world. Delacorte, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, will launch “Modelland” in summer 2011. Banks said she decided to write the books after giving input and notes on another project. “I then realized that I needed to do this myself,” she said. “I have this notebook I write everything in and started working on titles and breaking down characters. And I kept going and going. I knew I didn’t want it to be some autobiography; I wanted to create a fantastical place.” Banks said the books shouldn’t be considered “chick lit” but will contain messages of empowerment within the fantasy storyline. “I wanted to make the project a little more what my brand is,” she said. “And give (readers) an experience that they haven’t seen when it comes to this modeling world.” Banks said she sees “Modelland” as eventually turning into a feature franchise and has already received interest from studios. “I’m not writing the books as scripts,” she said. “I’m writing true literature, which can then be adapted into film by Bankable.” Delacorte exec editor Wendy Loggia, who edited the book series “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “Fallen,” is onboard to edit Banks. “That it was from an icon like Tyra Banks made it a publishing opportunity like none other,” Loggia said. “Her adventuresome spirit, her sincere desire to empower females of all ages and her unique success in the fashion world are very much present in the story.” Besides “Top Model,” Banks’ TV credits include ABC’s “True Beauty,” as well as CW’s “Stylista” and the daytime gabber “Tyra,” which is ending its run. As she expands her company via the broader Bankable Enterprises name, Banks said she’s heading into the “third stage of my career.” “I went from being a model to creating a production company,” she said. “The third phase is Bankable Enterprises, which is not just TV production, but also film and working to create a beauty Web portal.” Banks said she also has several projects in the works geared toward the tween marketplace.