Friday, March 5, 2021

Tyra Banks On a Mission to Add More Women of Color to Her Creative Team

TIME 100 Summit 2019
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 23: (L-R) Whitney Wolfe Herd, Tyra Banks, Edward Felsenthal, Aileen Lee, and Gayle King attend the TIME 100 Summit 2019 on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for TIME)

*Supermodel-turned-business-mogul Tyra Banks says one of her primary goals as she continues to expand her empire is focusing on diversity by hiring more women of color.

Speaking on a panel at Time 100’s inaugural summit in New York Monday, Banks told the audience that her team “understands it’s important to hire women of color,” most especially with her latest venture, Modelland.

“I have that extra layer that is very specific for my team right now,” she said, noting the important for her to hire female writers of color on her creative team.

She believes for her strategy of inclusion to work, the message also has to come from the most influential companies in the industry.

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“I think it’s about mandates,” she explained. “I think if you have power, that is a platform that just wields so much control, and having the mandate — ‘this is this role, this is a CFO, we will find a woman, we will find a woman of color’ — and being very specific. It’s about being that pointed with it.”

Banks intends to launch Modelland, a 21,000-square-foot theme park of the modeling world, this year at Santa Monica Place shopping mall, according to WWD.

Banks says visitors will get to “be the dream version of themselves” through interactive entertainment and curated retail, the report states.

“It’s my calling to bring modeling to the masses,” she said at the time. “I created ‘Top Model’ to expand the definition of beauty based on my own pain of being told ‘no’ that I couldn’t do something because I’m curvy or I’m black. My empathy for women in general increased through the experience. And now with Modelland, I’m taking it 10 steps forward, giving people the opportunity to engage with the elusive world by opening it up to everyone.”

In related news, Banks has been named the keynote speaker for this year’s Central California Women’s Conference, set to take place on September 17 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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