Tyra Banks had lots to say this past weekend at Galore’s inaugural Girl Cult Festival, a Gen Z playground for dancing, dialogue and female empowerment. The often outspoken supermodel and "America's Next Top Model" host held nothing back during her keynote speech.
“A lot of times in life we know what we want to do, but we don’t want to know why we want to do it or how we’re going to do it. Sometimes when we only focus on the what it never happens, because everything in life needs to lead with the why,” she explained. “[I had to ask myself] why do I want to create a television show about models? And, my why, goes back to my booty! And my why goes back to my skin [color].”
She told the crowd about an incident that happened when she was 21 [Editor’s Note: Fun fact—she was roommates with Kimora Lee Simmons]! Tyra’s modeling agency gave her mother a list of eight designers who wouldn’t hire her anymore because she was “getting bigger.” Nope, not like more famous (like her mother initially thought) but physically bigger. Say what?!
Mama Banks (a.k.a. Carolyn London) was not having any of that—and over pizza (our kinda girl!) she told Tyra to write down all the modeling clients that “like ass.” Tyra told the crowd, “She said, ‘Write em down, the ones that like ass…. that like your ass, because your ass is getting bigger, and I’ll be damned if my baby starves for this damn industry.’”
Tyra jotted down two heavy hitters: Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated. Neither had featured a women of color yet, but she figured why shortchange herself. Cut to a few years later, and Tyra had not one but two SI covers and a 10-year contract as an angel. Insert our favorite saying: hi, hater!
“There are so many things in life that are in the way, obstacles… somebody telling you that you are not good enough, you can’t do it, it’s not gonna happen, it’s impossible, sit down, shut up, step aside and move over for somebody else,” she said.
“I am here to tell you to tell them to kiss your big, fat ass… your skinny ass… your dimpled ass… your flat ass, your thick ass, cellulite, stretch mark ass… whatever kind of ass you have. You tell them to kiss it!”
(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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