You've known her as a supermodel, actress, producer, talk show host and author, but now Tyra Banks has merged all of her talents to become one mega businesswoman!
Tyra recently received her diploma from Harvard University’s Executive Education Owner/President Manager Program on Feb. 17th and with the premiere of America's Next Top Model Cycle 18 tonight and her New York Times best seller Modelland out, it's clear that Tyra really is about that life!
GlobalGrind caught up with Tyra to chat about her current accomplishments, future ventures (possible cable network, you never know!) and the whole business of the game.
Tyra was eager to share how her teachings at school incorporated real life business implements, because what better way to learn then through experience.
With her strength and intelligence of the fashion industry, television, women and business all in one, Tyra made sure to note that she has a lot more coming.
So watch out Oprah, Tyra Banks is well on her way!
Check out the exclusive interview below.
Going back to school must have been a bit of a challenge. Did you have any reservations based off former school experiences that you had in high school or middle school?
Tyra Banks: No, I didn’t go to boarding school, so my main thing that I was nervous about was living in dorms, because we lived in dorms at Harvard. I was like, 'Can I stay in a hotel?' (Laughs). It’s mandatory to stay in the dorms and after a week of being in school I understood why. You wake up at the crack of dawn to study with your classmates. It’s pretty intense, so you have to stay in the dorms. Also there’s a bonding that happens with your classmates. There’s tutoring where you help each other, so I actually started adoring my dorm, loving it so much. Before every term I would go to Target and decorate it. I had the flyest dorm. I had the nicest dorm because I would get all of this Target stuff and trick it out beautifully.
Did you share with anyone? Was it a suite or did you have your own place?
I had my own bedroom and we shared living room, kitchen, dining room and study area.
How did it compare to high school for you?
It’s night and day! In high school you’re there because you have to, in college you’re going because you want to. Being in the program that I did; it was all entrepreneur, so over the course of those three years you really get to bond with people and the school doesn’t stop. You’re on campus for a certain amount of time, but there is take away work that you have to do within your business then you come back. It’s ongoing, whereas when you’re in high school, when you go away for the summer you’re not thinking about school at all. We’re learning about our own businesses and how to apply to our own businesses as opposed to just learning theory. So that was really a different way of learning.
Any hints of absolutely new business ventures after you’ve gone to school and learned a few things?
Yeah, the reason why I went to school actually is because in about two years we will be introducing a whole new wonderful business to the world that really celebrates women. Now I have two years to really use my education to make sure that this business is very strong and that it stands for everything that I stand for - that it’s successful and prosperous and that it encourages women to be their best.
Hopefully I can announce it no time soon, in a year or so.
With your new business experience, is there a possibility that we can see a full cable network coming from you soon?
Oh gosh no, not the whole cable network. Do you know how hard it is to program 24 hours of programs a day?!
We have faith in you!
(Laughs). No, I’m not ready for that. I’m definitely not ready for that. Just having a talk show, which was what… 5 hours a week! That wore me down, so I can only imagine having a program 24 hours a day.
So the new season of Top Model premieres tomorrow and there are 7 British former contestants from Britain’s Next Top Model coming to compete with a whole new batch of American girls! Is this a strategy that you're learning in school: how to capture people’s attention with the show in new ways?
I don’t think it’s a strategy from school, maybe it is. You never know what is a sub-conscious lesson from school. But I do understand just television and how it’s important to change and not be predictable. I think even as producers of something we want to inspire our producers who are working on the show and to come up with different things. A year ago I said Top Model will never be the same again; we’ll never just do a normal top model cycle. There’s always going to be a theme because I think themes allow you to push your creativity in a certain direction. When my team pitched the Britain idea, first I was not that excited about it and then the more they talked about it I thought, 'Wow, this could be cool.' Because Americans are obsessed with British culture. It's the one country that we celebrate their rock stars and their actors and their royal regime. I thought, we can do this but we’re going to make it hot, sexy and fun and campy and put that Top Model layer over the whole thing.
ANTM last season received a lot of backlash after your contestant Angelea Preston’s sudden disqualification. Do you think that the new theme and this season will make up for that and people will be just as interested?
In production things happen and unfortunately the whole thing can’t be shared all the time out of respect for people’s privacy.
That’s one thing that’s very important to me. Privacy and protection of my girls and certain different people and production. Sometimes I have to take the heat for that and sometimes I will lay down and take all of that critique to protect somebody else. But no, we didn’t do Britain to try and lure attention somewhere else. This is just our plan to just keep it different every year.
For instance, next cycle we’re casting right now because it’s going to be a college cycle. I was inspired by that, because me being at Harvard and hearing so many girls on my social media and in general saying that they now want to go to college because I’m at Harvard, or they were going to drop out of school and now they’re not, or they never thought they could go to school and now they’re even going to junior college or beauty college or just something to further their education to get to their dreams. Right now we’re actually casting for that cycle and again, it’s not just some Ivy League girl that I’m looking for or some big state school. I’m looking for girls that are any type of continuing education. If you want to go to school to be a chef, if you’re in junior college, just as long as you’re trying to fulfill a dream by using education to get there, we’re looking for you.