×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Strictly Business Podcast: Tyra Banks on Becoming a Boss and Building Her Brand

Tyra Banks remembers the day her mother helped her change the direction of her career.

She was a young model barely out of her teenage years. As she grew into womanhood, she was becoming a little too curvy for the traditional catwalk, particularly when it came to her posterior. Banks had been told by an agent that she would not be hired by top designers or advertisers unless she lost weight.

Banks was distraught and planning to shift to a diet of “one egg white a day.” Her mother’s response? Let’s go out for pizza.

“She took my by the shoulders and she shook me like a rag. She said ‘I will be damned if my daughter starves for this industry,'” Banks recalls. She and her mother, Carolyn London, sat at a restaurant place in Milan, munching away and making a list of potential clients who favored “big ass” on models.

In the latest episode of “Strictly Business,” Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment, Banks recounts her transition from supermodel to super-entrepreneur. Banks made herself a household name as the host and producer of “America’s Next Top Model,” the reality-competition franchise that has been going strong since 2003.

Banks is the epitome of the new breed of media mavens who are brands unto themselves. Banks appeared at Variety’s Path to Parity Summit on June 6 in West Hollywood to offer insights on how she steered her professional growth as a TV star, social media dynamo and retail success story with her Tyra Beauty line of makeup. At present, Banks is focusing on revving up content development activity at her Bankable Productions banner.

Banks also recently began teaching a course on personal branding at Stanford Business School. In 2012, she completed a management training course at Harvard Business School. But her early instincts to become a businesswoman and control her own destiny came from the challenge of clearing high hurdles and finding a way to get around closed doors.

“A lot of my success has really come through pain, and fighting through pain when you feel there’s no hope,” Banks says. “My mama told me that the front door is going to be closed for you because you are a woman, and that door is going to be doubly closed for you because you are a black woman. But there is a window. There is a side door. There is an attic, there’s a cellar, there’s a basement. It doesn’t matter how you get into that house of success, just get in.”

Listen to the full interview with Banks:

Strictly Business is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring comedian/actor/producer Kevin Hart, HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler and producer Colin Callender. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

More Biz

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Stock Takes Hit Amid DirecTV Battle

    Viacom shares have taken a hit in trading Wednesday, a day after the company went public with its brewing battle over a new carriage agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV. Viacom shares were down more than 5% by midday, dropping to $26.05. On Tuesday afternoon, Viacom began warning viewers that its channels may go dark as of [...]

  • Bob Iger arrives at the Oscars,

    Bob Iger: 'Challenging Work of Uniting Our Businesses' Lies Ahead for Disney

    Bob Iger marked the historic occasion of Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox with a lengthy memo to staffers that was candid about the challenges of the massive integration of people and cultures that lies ahead for the media giant. “I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us, that closing [...]

  • EMMA APPLETON as FEEF SYMONDS

    'Traitors' Producer 42 Hires Literary Manager Eugenie Furniss

    Eugenie Furniss is joining London- and Los Angeles-based management and production company 42 as literary manager, it was announced Wednesday. The company’s slate include movie “Ironbark,” a Cold War thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and TV series “Traitors,” a spy thriller coming to Netflix in the U.S. at the end of the month. Furniss joins 42 [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Fox Corp. Pays Disney Sale Dividend, Sets May 9 Investor Meeting

    Fox Corp. has handed over an $8.5 billion check to help Disney offset tax costs related to the 21st Century Fox acquisition. As spelled out in the Disney-21st Century Fox merger agreement, the Murdoch clan’s newly established Fox Corp. was on the hook to pay a special dividend to 21st Century Fox on the latter’s [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Disney Fox mega deal acquisition Illustration

    Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal

    After 15 months of wrangling and planning, Disney has formally sealed the deal on its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger said in a statement on Tuesday [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content