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Tyra Banks: From Model to Mogul While Loving Herself Just the Way She Is

Sep 6, 2008
We love Tyra Banks and not only for having us on her show (although don't get us wrong - that helped!). She is a role model of self awareness and self acceptance and super success for millions of women everywhere. We Googled her. She recently signed a multiyear deal with Warner Brothers, is in production on Stylista - a CW reality show set in a magazine world; is working on a DVD series of books for teens based on the best-selling book, Clique; and an ABC show produced by Aston Kutcher. This girl is workin'!

Tyra also courageously promotes her message of positive body image, fat acceptance and more on her hit The Tyra Banks Show on the WB Network. Her success with Tyra and America's Next Top Model all at the tender age of 33 sends the most important message of all - anyone can be successful if they overcome their own obstacles and forge ahead. Check it out; she earns a fat $23 million dollars per year and is #68 on Forbes Top Celebrity 100!

Tyra is also a success at being in her own skin. When it comes to body types, Tyra has had much to overcome. As a young girl she was very skinny and, in an attempt to become more full figured, she ate junk food. She gained the weight and then went from being called Olive Oyl to being ridiculed as America's Next Top Waddle. An unflattering photo of Tyra showed her having gained ten pounds, weighing in at 160 pounds. Tyra didn't take this sitting on her BFA (Big Fat Ass). Nope, as her typical army-of-one self, she responded to this negative press by saying to the camera, "You can kiss my fat ass!" This aired in March 2007, screaming to the world that she could give a rat's ass about other people's opinions of her luscious booty. She talked about feeling beautiful, hot and sexy in that photo of herself in her swimsuit. She doesn't care! She sees herself as she really is - beautiful at any weight. She made the important point that women everywhere gain and lose weight all the time. We must love ourselves anyway and fight back at anyone who insults us!

Then, just this last June we got to appear on her show as guests to address that same topic with our self help humor book, Embracing Your Big Fat Ass, An Owner's Manual (Atria). The show also featured Carnie Wilson, who also needed to defend herself against recent negative press about her weight gain. The show was brilliant; they had on four other women, two with big asses who loved their big butts and two with colossal cabooses who were miserable about it. As expert authors we gave them advice. We gave kudos to the women that loved their BFAs and had managed to turn them into cottage industries, and words of support to the two unhappy B-FABs (Beautiful Fat Ass Babes). We told the sad girls to accept their body types and then we had them apply streamers to their BFAs and do a fun pole dance. The audience loved it, as did Tyra.

Everyone wants to know, what is Tyra like in person? She's gorgeous and every bit as nice as she appears to be on TV. As soon as we got there, we were whisked off into our personal green room, loaded with sandwiches and chips. Perfect. Our names were on the door to make us feel super special. We had a bit of an entourage with us - boyfriends, literary agents, press agents, etc. and they all decided to cram into our little green room. We had to kick them all out so we could prepare for the show. We ended up only having minutes to review with the producer the order of events that were to occur in our segment before we were whisked into wardrobe (where we got free ironing!). There was simply no time to vomit from nerves so instead we pretended we were calm as cucumbers.

Janette almost had an accident. Then we got led to makeup and hair - or as we called it, Mecca. Tyra's makeup and hair people are brilliant. Laura still does the trick with her hair where she heats it up with a hot iron, then puts a hair pin in it to hold the hair in place until it cools. (This is a great tip gals, the curl lasts forever!) Then, standing backstage waiting to go on all dressed up was a big nerve-racking, to say the least. Janette got to go out first and Tyra slapped her on the ass in the show open. That was definitely an ice breaker even though Laura thought she deserved an ass-slap as well. (That's show biz!) Tyra is a consummate professional. She put us right at ease.

We thank you again, Tyra, for having us on your show. We thank you for speaking out for all of us babes who look less than perfect naked. Martha Stewart, look out, because as the New York Times recently said, Tyra is next! She is busily branding herself, riding the wave of her very own BFA! B-FABs love you, baby. And you can take that...all the way to the Banks!
About the Author
Laura Banks and Janette Barber are the bestselling authors of Embracing Your Big Fat Ass (Atria). They write about positive body-image, weight-acceptance, self-esteem with humor. It's time to love your BFA (Big Fat Ass). Janette is a 6 time Emmy-Award winning producer/writer and Laura is a columnist at Tarot.com. Embracing Your Big Fat Ass .
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