18 years old. Backstage at some grand fashion show. In Europe. France? Italy? Can't remember. But what I DO remember is that even though I may look self-assured and confident, there was a lot of pain in my heart. There were roadblocks and people who wanted to halt my success, but the fire in my heart and support of my mother kept me going. If I could talk to my 18-year-old self, I'd tell her that she will grow up and be a voice for all models. For all women. That she will have a responsibility to speak up when she sees things going awry. When she sees women that are sisters having conflict, she must be bold. She must be unafraid. She must speak out. And she must do it today. And I will. Get ready.
Stephanie Seymour started, and possibly ended, the multi-generational supermodel saga of Summer Sixteen: She made some controversial comments about today's biggest models (i.e. Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid) — which then elicited responses from Jenner and Hadid. Seymour has since apologized, and now Tyra Banks, another big name from the '90s, is chiming in. And she wants to make peace between the two groups, once and for all. On Wednesday afternoon, Banks teased that a truth bomb was imminent when she tweeted, "This supermodel war is raging and it's tearing me apart. I wanna quote Rodney King so badly right now." Shortly after that, Banks shared a link to her blog post on the matter, saying it was her "duty to speak up about the model war going on," and that she had a lot of thoughts on the matter. In an essay published to her website, Banks drops the mic about what this supposed war is doing to those in the biz. Banks first explains how her career has involved different types of modeling, and how that makes her the ideal person to settle the issue. "I'm a model that started my career in high fashion, that transitioned to the girl-next-door-sexy supermodel, and then created a modeling reality show that catapulted my career and personal brand further than I could have ever imagined," she writes.
For a bit more background on the various battles in what Banks has deemed a "war," let's start in April, when Rebecca Romijn seemingly took a jab at the likes of Jenner and Hadid by deeming them "social media stars," not real models. Romijn publicly reached out to both women, asking them not to "believe the clickbait." However, her alleged comments could've been the kindling that sparked one party reporter to ask the Stephanie Seymour soundbite-generating question in the first place. More recently, Hadid's mom, Yolanda, chimed in, too. (People StyleWatch has a comprehensive timeline.) Banks directly addresses the original and newer supermodels, encouraging a little "place yourself in another's shoes" action for both parties. "My mom always tells me to imagine things from someone else’s perspective," she explains. Banks underscores that all of them are, in fact, supermodels, and that the recent rift is caused by the older gen being unable to comprehend how making it as a model works in 2016 — specifically, how one attains (and holds on to) fame, and how the new value system placed on models operates. However, it'll likely be the same way for today's It Girls, when the even newer wave arrives: "Yesterday’s 'Trinity' is today’s '#Squad,'" Banks explains. "And what we all must remember is that we are stronger together than apart." She concludes by thanking the new generation for giving her hope that "supermodel-dom" is alive and well, and also asking models of all ages to band together. "The modeling industry is no longer an exclusive, unattainable club that few can access," Banks says, adding that this newfound "democracy" is worth celebrating. She certainly has a point: Over the past few seasons, we've seen fresh faces — and, arguably, more representation, voices, and calls to action — in the modeling world, often thanks to social media. The industry still has quite a way to go in terms of diversity, but hopefully by coming together, as Banks suggests, the Seymours, Romijns, Jenners, and Hadids of the world can use their influence to affect positive change. Or, at the very least, just get along.