Tyra Banks Is 'Too Fat' to Model These Days (VIDEO)

Inspiring 7

tyra banksWhen Vogue's 19 international editions pledged to ban models from their pages who "appear to have an eating disorder," in an effort to create healthy backstage working conditions, I wouldn't doubt that there was negative tongue-clucking coming from pockets of the fashion world (cough Karl Lagerfeld). But one fashionista vet has stood up and applauded the move. That would be model, America's Next Top Model host, and all-around kickass businesswoman Tyra Banks.

Tyra has always come off as a major proponent of healthy body image, but it wasn't long ago that she was fighting her own battle with her curves. In response to the Vogue news, she wrote an open letter on The Daily Beast addressed to other models, explaining how her own kicking that neat and tidy, "skinny" box to the curb ultimately lead to her success.

Tyra writes:

In my early 20s I was a size four. But then I started to get curvy. My agency gave my mom a list of designers that didn't want to book me in their fashion shows anymore. In order to continue working, I would've had to fight Mother Nature and get used to depriving myself of nutrition.

Worse yet, Tyra admits she was living in a different world at the time, in which the average model's size was a four or a six. She says that if she was just starting to model at age 17 now, she "would've been considered too heavy" because "today you are expected to be a size zero." And she explains that it's the fashion industry's fault, because there's a standardized sample size, and many models are just doing whatever they can (i.e. starve themselves) to keep working. Bad news. 

I've always heard that, too, and thought, well, then someone from the inside needs to make a change, or we'll continue to see these emaciated women everywhere, wreaking havoc on women's self-image. And that's why Vogue's move is even more groundbreaking. They are the industry, and finally, it seems like they've opened their eyes to something Tyra learned so long ago. That her body didn't have to be pin-thin for her to be beautiful or a winner in her field.

As she details in her open letter:

[My mom and I] sat in a tiny pizzeria in Milan and strategized about how to turn my curves into a curveball. In a way, it was my decision not to starve myself that turned me into a supermodel, and later on, a businesswoman.

So inspirational. Sounds like Tyra really practices what she preaches, having served as a mentor and a liaison for young models battling the fashion industry to balance their livelihood with their lives. With hope, she and Vogue can start a real trend. If so, it's not just models who will benefit -- we all will.

Here's more on Tyra's open letter ...


How do you feel about Vogue's decision and Tyra's reflections? Do you think the fashion industry is doing us all a favor by banning anorexic models?

Image via David Shankbone/Flickr

weight loss, body image, models


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linzemae linzemae

Yikes, she looks crazy in that pic!

jonellg jonellg

Well if she really want to change thigs she can STOP casting size 0's on her modeling show. What a hypocrite, I like her but damn.

Miche... Michelephant

I've seen several seasons where she tells contestants to either gain more weight or lose it. She just phrases it nicely by saying that a girls body needs to be softer or more lean. The only reason she got away with not losing weight was because she had been in the business for 5 years by the time she got curvy. She had the connections and the experience to say screw the rules.

Betty Zam

I was going to compliment Tyra, but after reading your comments, WTH?!

She is saying she beat the system, but she's helping to keep it the same way!

nonmember avatar Kate

I think Vogues statements are nothing but lip service. They won't hire models that "appear" to have an eating disorder?! THEY ALL DO!! Every one of them "appear" to have an eating disorder and if in real life the model doesn't she is photoshopped down to where she does.

I think what Tyra said, "My agency gave my mom a list of designers that didn't want to book me in their fashion shows anymore" is the big emaciated elephant in the room here. It's the designers that want the models to be little more than walking hangers with a face. It's the designers that magazines want to make happy in their pages.

It's a nice idea, a good start, but it's slapping a bandaid on the real deeper problem. If you follow the blame trail back it leads to the designers. They make the tiny sizes that encourage the the tiny sized models that are featured in the magazines that are further photoshopped down to unattainable perfection that filters into the everyday persons idea twisting the image of what women should look like.

jessi... jessicasmom1

I think she is beautiful  in her own skin  I do not think the tiny sized models , photo shopped pieces of no good pictures.

Reali... RealityCheckNow

We've been talking about girls' "self esteem" crisis for decades now.  Certainly since I was a kid so to blame girls' lack of self esteem on unrealistic models seems stupid.  I went to modeling school and did local/regional modeling as a teen and was also told that I needed to lose 10 lbs to continue and I said no.  My mother certainly didn't want me to feel like I needed to lose weight and I think that we always want to find reasons for our weaknesses by blaming other people.  It would not have been the "industry's" fault if I had low self esteem, it would have been mine for letting other people dictate what was of value.  No one teaches values anymore, like work hard, be accomplished and feel good about what you do.  That is how you build self esteem for anyone, boys or girls.

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