Every now and then, the media likes to talk about what a frenetic personality Tyra Banks is, whether she is smizing, chatting about cooking her eggs, or aggressively exposing her own flaws. It can, for the uninitiated, feel intense. So, when we chatted with Tyra Banks at her "Flawsome Ball" (which focused on the fact that flaws are universal and raised money for the Lower East Side Girls Club) we had no idea what to expect. But, boy, were we surprised.
Not only did Tyra Banks exude the grace of a real supermodel, she spent her entire evening chatting with the young girls she was set to support and worked the room like a pro. She spoke passionately about her causes and answered each question with a thoughtful honesty. Not to mention, girl looked good. Ditching her icy boss-lady demeanor in favor for the welcoming, all-encompassing nature of the night, she offered us a refreshingly candid interview. Though we were taken by her general awesomeness, this was Tyra, and she did have to drop some pretty hilarious bombs on us.
So, big change to ANTM next season: We are getting the boys as well as girls. What spurred that idea? Where did it come from?
"So, the male-model idea has been around for five years, and everybody says, 'Tyra you're the boss! We hate you for this! We love you for this!' But they don't know I have a boss. So, I've been having to ask my bosses for five years. I had to keep tweaking the Powerpoint presentations: 'But what about boys like this? But what about boys like that?' So, finally they said yes. I think it has something to do with the 20th anniversary, so this is our 20th cycle coming up. I think they were ready for a bang, and a change."
This is all about empowering women, so given the remarks that have been made during the recent debate, what are your feelings on the quote-on-quote "War on Women" and "binders full of women"?
"I honestly did not see the 'binders' moment, but I did see the first 45 minutes of the debate and then, because I had to wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning, I got a little sleepy. I saw the very ending. So, I only saw the commentary after, unfortunately, and I didn't see his bite. What I did like is that women did kind of come together and made fun of something, which to me, takes the power back and shows how something can be pretty crazy and ridiculous."
I will tell you that when I was announcing the 'boys and girls' of America's Next Top Model I almost tweeted, and I can say this because it's okay for me to say what I almost did but didn't, 'America's Next Top Model: Cycle 20, binders of men and women!' But I didn't."
Can we talk about another supermodel? What do you think of the rise and hype surrounding Kate Upton?
"I love Kate Upton. I love the fact that she's a supermodel. Since when have we had a damn supermodel that's a household name? I thought that was going to be pretty much impossible. So, the fact that she broke through that when most magazine covers and advertising campaigns are actors, singers, and reality stars. More power to her. I hate this whole 'she's curvy' crap. That's what our bodies looked like back in the day, and it's sad that they're calling that curvy and thick. She's just a model, to me, with a gorgeous body."
Halloween time! Do you have a favorite scary movie?
"I am really terrified of Poltergeist — it's an old one. The reason I'm not mentioning any news ones is because I probably haven't seen any scary movie since Poltergeist, 'cause it freaked me the hell out. Poltergeist, Children of the Corn, The Exorcist: All that stuff is bad. Even The Shining is bad. I don't watch scary movies."
Did you have a favorite Halloween costume growing up as a kid?
"My mom is amazing with makeup, and to this day, I know how to do my own makeup because of my mom. She made me a punk rocker and she braided my hair for three days then took the braids out and kept the braids on one side. So, it was almost like a faux-hawk…before Rihanna did it. Honey, this was before Rihanna was born!"
Can you tell us about your new television show Fivehead?
"So, I've had a quite large forehead my entire life, and when I was young, I would always kind of look at it. It wasn't an insecurity but I just noticed it was growing faster. Everybody made fun it, and to this day, I'll see on the Internet people saying 'Forehead is doing a new show.' So, I was like, let me embrace this."
Photo: Henry Lamb/Photowire/BEImages