Tyra Banks may just be one of the last people one would feel sorry for in the looks department. But even though the supermodel has managed to conquer both the fashion and television worlds, don't think she's without an appearance sob story of her own.
The "Top Model" host stopped by our offices for a segment of HuffPost Live and discussed how she wasn't always the picture-perfect fashion figure we know today. Like many models before her, Tyra says that it was an awkward path to becoming a statuesque, world-renowned beauty:
When I was 11 years old, I grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in three months. So I went from being a mean bully, cute little chubby little girl to shooting up, [weighing] 98 pounds and just looking sick and frail. I wasn't sick, but people thought there was something wrong with me. I was the brunt of every joke, every bad thing. I hated my reflection in the mirror. I would try to stuff food down my throat to gain weight. Nothing would work. I lived at the hospital with needles in my arms trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
Fortunately for the 38-year-old, she blossomed into a confident adult and was able to parlay her success into a philanthropic venture that gives back to girls that are going through what she went through as a child. Through her TZONE foundation at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, Tyra hopes to empower girls and encourage female entrepreneurship (in pretty swanky offices, if we say so ourselves). She credits her rocky childhood years with inspiring her to do this:
Even though I later gained weight and became a supermodel, that girl always lived inside of me and I know what that felt like. Then to become a supermodel with all of this hair and makeup and glamour... Then I start projecting images that I know make my 11-year-old self insecure, I felt like I had and still have a responsibility to tell the truth and to talk about my pains, my issues. So my passion is girls and self-esteem.
Not such a bad passion for a woman who has everything, huh? Even though she may be the only person in the world who had to gain weight to become a fashion model, she's managed to keep all body types in mind, publicly praising Vogue on their ban of too-skinny models. And now that the changes she implemented for "Top Model" have caused ratings to skyrocket, we suspect she'll have more time to make glam red carpet appearances and help young girls overcome the insecurities she once had.
Watch Tyra discuss revamping "America's Next Top Model" below:
See Tyra Banks' style evolution!
Watch the full segment below:
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