It took Tyra Banks five years to conceive and write her first book, Modelland, and now the tale she describes as “Harry Potter meets America’s Next Top Model” has hit the shelves. The story follows a character named Tookie De La Crème (oh, Tyra!) as she journeys to Modelland, an “exclusive mysterious place on top of a mountain.”
The character is perhaps not-so-coincidentally the same age as Tyra was when she started modeling and is described as having “untamable hair, a large forehead and gawky body.” Sounds like a wild dream that Tyra had of her younger self…complete with the written form of sound effects that aren’t hard to imagine Tyra doing along with the animated facial expressions she’s fond of. Take a look at an excerpt of Chapter 1.
Thousands of girls stampeded to the square all at once. Heels clacked. Dresses swished. Hairdos wobbled. The T-DOD theme song boomed a pulsating beat.
There was one rule and one rule only: a girl must be walking in order to be chosen.
Other than that, there was no prearranged runway on which the girls could walk, so everyone created invisible ones wherever they were standing. Violence was not encouraged nor was it condemned, and some girls' parents insisted on adding martial arts training to their walking lessons in preparation for the big day. T-DOD Square was an every- man- for- himself or, more precisely, an every- girl- for- herself event.
Scores of girls marched down their own stretches of the square, paused, posed for the cameras (real and imaginary), and then turned around. Trains of walking girls intersected with others. One area behind Tookie was so crammed with street vendors, it bottlenecked into a slow, shuffling line. Some walkers had only enough space to take a few steps before they had to stop and turn. Tookie's heart went out to a young girl in a ruffled pink dress who seemed way below the unofficial thirteen- year-old age requirement. She marched in place as if she were on a drill team.
Riiiip. A girl stepped on the train of a walker a few feet from Tookie and tore the fabric right off the dress. Both girls fell forward into a heap. The walkers behind them stepped over their bodies and continued.
Crash. The De La Crème white and cream blow-up tent went down as two brawling girls entered it. Oof. A girl who looked as if she had never walked in heels before stumbled, breaking the tips of both stilettos. Two girls got into a fight at the end of their makeshift catwalk, rolling to the ground. "Kenya, use the Gyaku Zuki move!" her mother screamed. "Reverse- punch the hairy hag! But watch your hair, sweetie!"
What do you think so far? Read the rest of the chapter at Barnes & Noble. And if you’d rather catch Tyra in a more tried and true element, mark your DVR for September 14 for America’s Next Top Model All-Stars. Fourteen fan favorite contestants from previous ANTM cycles will return to claim the title that eluded them all. Nicki Minaj and the Kardashians will make cameos as guest judges.
(Photos: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Courtesy of Delacorte Books)