What's one thing that we can all agree on? Tyra Banks isn't a woman who lacks confidence. However, even I was a little surprised when she announced to the huge crowd assembled at her "Modelland" book signing that she wanted to leave a legacy like Walt Disney's.
"I want to leave a legacy like Walt Disney. I used to go to Disneyland when I was little and I didn't know he was a person," Banks said without any sense of irony. Although the point she was trying to make was that she wanted her company and its message to young girls to live on long after she was gone, one couldn't help but smile.
“It's difficult to be taken serious for anything because I'm thought of as a model, so when I said I wanted to create this television show, people were like, 'You are a model you can't be a producer,'" Banks told me. "Then 'Top Model' was successful and they were like, 'We always knew that was going to be a hit, Tyra. That was fantastic, we always knew that.' Then I said I would love to do a talk show. 'You can't do a talk show, you only produced a show about models.' Then that was successful -- we won two Emmys. And they go, 'We always knew you had that in you.' Cut to me being a writer. Everyone is going, 'Tyra? Author? This model can write?'"
Banks' first novel, "Modelland," was initially rejected by several publishing houses. She was also repeatedly asked to change the story or her lead character, but she said no until she finally found a publisher who said yes.
"There was a lot of rejection. ... We went to all of the publishing houses and so many of them wanted me to change the story. One was like, 'This is fabulous ... we love everything about Modelland ... can you just take away the magic and change the lead's name to Tyra and it becomes behind the scenes of 'Top model?'” Banks said before signing books for the biggest crowd I have ever seen attend a book signing.
Look who is getting the last laugh now!
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