13 Shocking Revelations From Tyra Banks’ New Book “Perfect Is Boring”

For a long time now, Tyra Banks has used her platform as a TV personality and international supermodel to empower other women. She’s long preached the idea of owning and accepting our flaws and to not be afraid to step outside the norm. While we’re all relying on Tyra for our own inspiration, turns out she’s just like us. She’s channeling it all from her mother, Carolyn London! Tyra Banks and her mother, Carolyn London recently teamed up to write the book “Perfect is Boring.” Within this book, Tyra and her mother share their personal stories, including all the struggles and successes, but in a way that offers advice and inspiration to readers. Check out these 13 revelations from “Perfect is Boring”…

13. Never Thought She’d be a Model

Being an international supermodel today was never the career Tyra dreamt of as a little girl. She dreamed of going off to college. She toured campuses, met with professors, and when she finally chose her path, Loyola Marymount University, she went on an orientation tour with her dad and bought out the whole student store. Tyra was enrolled and set to study film and television when she got an unexpected phone call from a modeling agent in Paris. She was at a fork in the road. She could go to school as planned or take this once in a lifetime opportunity to go model in Paris. She ultimately decided to defer her admission for a year and go to Paris. Of course, that one year of modeling turned into a lifelong career.

Tyra Banks Instagram

12. Awkward Phase

In the book, Tyra recalls a time when she was not only picked on because of her looks (her crush referred to her as an ‘ugly ass monster’) but many people were concerned about her health! “In those three months, I grew three inches and lost thirty pounds, and I didn’t look like anybody’s beauty queen. I looked like a newborn giraffe still not sure what to do with its long-ass legs,” she wrote. She was so thin that many people thought she had an eating disorder, but no doctor could figure out what was wrong to diagnose her. Finally, one doctor asked for some old photographs, and that solved it. It was clear in a picture of her father from his childhood that he had the exact same body as Tyra — long and skinny. The doctor reassured them it was just a phase and she’d grow out of it, which she eventually did.

Courtesy Tyra Banks via ABC

11. How She Began Modeling

Tyra never saw herself as a model, especially not during those awkward pre-puberty years. It all started when her mom, who worked as a medical photographer, began shooting fashion on the side to help other girls build up their portfolio. Once Tyra reached her teenage years, she really grew into herself, quite literally. She was graced with an extremely tall, slim figure, and of course, a beautiful face. After receiving a few nudges from other people, Tyra agreed to give the modeling thing a try in order to save up money for college. She began doing photo shoots with her mother all over the city so they could both build up their portfolios. As it turns out, Tyra was a natural!

Tyra Banks Instagram

10. She Was Told She Wouldn’t Make It

There’s no denying Tyra Banks is one of the most successful supermodels of all time, but just like anyone else, she was once told she would never make it. She had all the makings of a successful model. She was tall, beautiful, skinny, and hardworking, but it didn’t take long for her metabolism to catch up to her. While her mother and family applauded her new healthy figure, her agents and the rest of the fashion industry were not happy. They wanted girls who were starving. Designers would blatantly refuse to work with her and even her own agent told her that “her moment was over.” Instead of quitting right then and there, Tyra and her mother decided to leave the high fashion industry behind and focus on those who would work with her, like Victoria Secret and Sports Illustrated.

Tyra Banks Instagram

9. Being a Black Model

Tyra Banks has broken down so many barriers in the modeling industry. She was the first black model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, first black girl to ever be on the cover of the Victoria Secret (VS) catalog, first VS swimsuit edition cover girl, original Angel, first black Angel, first black model with VS contract, and first black model to wear the VS Fantasy Bra…not just once, but also twice! Despite all of this, there was a time early on in her career when the odds were stacked against her. From the beginning of her career, she was told that “black models don’t have a chance in this industry,” let alone even the cover of a magazine. In fact, she was turned down by several agencies, one of which told her “they already had a black model,” before she finally signed to LA Models. Of course, all of those naysayers ate their words because not long after she went to Paris for her first season and booked an unheard of twenty-five fashion shows and two magazine covers.

Tyra Banks Instagram

8. She Has an Older Brother

Many people might not know this, but Tyra Banks has an older brother. He’s six years older than Tyra and has a different father. Carolyn met Tyra’s father when she was in high school, but their relationship didn’t last. They eventually broke up and he went off to the air force. While they were broken up, she met another navy man who was much older than her. She ended up getting pregnant when she was only 17-years-old and had her first child, Tyra’s older brother, Devin, also known as ‘Dubbie.’ He has three masters degrees and recently retired as a major after 28 years in the United States Air Force.

Courtesy Tyra Banks via ABC

7. Her First Kiss

Tyra’s usually pretty quiet when it comes to her love life, but she did share some details from the early, early days, like her first kiss! It wasn’t exactly romantic. She was at the movies with a boy named Christian Bravo when he began throwing down the moves. He had taken her hand and placed it on his crotch, but she immediately yanked it back. She was clearly not on the same page as him, but regardless he leaned over and kissed her. She wrote, “He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, and it felt like a snail flicking my lips, flopping around all gooey and slimy. I pulled back, and tried to play it cool. ‘You know, Chris,’ I said. ‘I really don’t like kissing that way.'” Afterward, she practically ran away from him. As they walked through the mall and away from the theatre, she walked nearly five stores ahead of him, quickly said bye, and never talked to him again.

Tyra Banks Instagram

6. The First Time She Did “It”

In addition to sharing her first kiss, Tyra also shared the story of how she lost her virginity! She was just about to graduate high school and had been dating a guy named Nicholas. Her mother did not like him at all, but that only seemed to make Tyra like him even more! “One night, we had gone to the movies and were making out afterward. After about thirty minutes of kisses that felt like heaven bathed in whipped cream (my fave dessert topping), he said those eight little words. But I didn’t jump up. I didn’t scream…He didn’t catch me off guard. I was prepared. But really, I wasn’t — sex was nothing like the movies. It was painful and awkward, and after, I cried!” she wrote.

Tyra Banks Instagram

5. Coyote Ugly

Many fans of Tyra Banks know she had a small role in the film Coyote Ugly as Zoe. Filming had wrapped up and she’d gone off to start a new venture, running an all-girls camp TZONE, when she got a call from them that they needed to film one more scene with all the bartenders dancing together. She agreed to go back and film the scene as long as no one at the camp even noticed she was gone. They sent a helicopter to pick her up and flew her back to L.A. to film this one short scene. As a side note, Tyra also mentioned that she’d only agreed to be on the Coyote Ugly poster because Jerry Bruckheimer had promised her she could be the lead in one of his other movies. Seventeen years later, she’s still waiting to hear from him!

(c) Buena Vista Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

4. Girls Girl

Tyra prides herself on being a ‘girl’s girl,’ and said she doesn’t understand when women say, “I don’t trust girls; I can’t stand girls” because there are many wonderful females out there who are great girlfriends, i.e. like her personal bestie and idol, Cindy Crawford. She goes into a recent encounter she’d had with another woman in Hollywood. She went to dinner with “Ms. WhoShallRemainNameless,” who was the wife of a well-known person. They’d both been told by other people that they would get along really well, so they hung out, and lo and behold — they got along fantastically! Tyra said she’d walked out of the restaurant afterward thinking she’d just met her new best friend. Afterward, she had tried texting and calling her, but never heard back. Finally, she asked one of their mutual friends who said: “It’s just that, after you guys had dinner, she said, ‘There is not that much coolness and niceness in the world. I don’t trust nice girls like Tyra. At least with a b-tch, I can see what’s coming.'” What we’d give to know who this nameless person was!

Donato Sardella/WireImage

3. She Had a Nose Job

Let’s face it, Tyra Banks is flawless. But even she has her own insecurities. In “Perfect is Boring,” she admits she tweaked her nose. “I had a Pinocchio nose: It just kept growing. Though instead of growing long, it continued to grow left and right in the area between my eyes. And that spot felt itchy all the time….Besides the itching, I didn’t have any issue with my nose, but when I started modeling, someone else did,” she wrote. A makeup artist once pointed out the fact that her nose seemed to be growing. It all stemmed from an accident when she was little. She fell hard on her face while her aunt was babysitting her. She had probably broken her nose, but her mother never took her to the hospital. Years later she got a consult from a doctor who confirmed that her nose was a bit askew and the itching was most likely from its abnormal direction of growth, but there was no medical need to fix it. She went and tweaked it anyway, not because she had to, but because she wanted to.


2. She Auditioned to be a Disney Character

In the last chapter of “Perfect is Boring,” Tyra and her mother talk about how Tyra was obsessed with Disneyland when she was a little girl. Now, this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary, but she was so in love with Disney even into adulthood that she actually auditioned to be Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. She had a great audition which led to a callback. And she made it pretty far until they eventually asked her to sing. She went home and practiced as much as she could, but she couldn’t get it right. She even had her friend, big time producer and artist Kenneth Edmonds, a.k.a. Babyface, write her a song to sing for them, but still, it didn’t sound right. After working with her vocal coach, she eventually got a good recording of her singing the Disney song “Colors of the Wind” and sent it to Disney. “Then I got the phone call of phone calls. It was down to me and two other voices — both of whom were singers. One was a very famous singer from American Idol and a Dreamgirl. The other was also a Dreamgirl. Two Dreamgirls. Real Singers. Dammit. But still, I was hopeful — those girls could sing, but what if they couldn’t ribbit? I practically came out of the womb wearing mouse ears — I was born to play this role,” she wrote. She eventually got the phone call, but it wasn’t the one she wanted. The role went to Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose.

Tyra Banks Instagram

1. She Tried to Build a Music Career

Tyra Banks is definitely a jack of a lot of trades, but not all. She’d mastered the whole modeling thing, did a little bit of acting, and become a TV personality on her own show ANTM, so the next big thing she wanted was a singing career. Once she set her sights on something she did everything in her power to make it happened. There’s no doubt she tried really, really hard to make it work, but sadly it just wasn’t going anywhere. She sang on a Kobe Bryant song (which flopped), met with big producers like Pharrell and David Foster, but choked when she had to sing in front of them, and she even shot a music video for the song “Shake Ya Body” which debuted on Top Model cycle 2. Despite all of this, she still couldn’t break into the music industry or successfully release a single. She had a vocal coach and went through three music managers until finally her third manager convinced her to set her sights on something that was not only more attainable but more in line with where she wanted her career to go. She immediately decided to ditch her dream of becoming a singer and set her sights on becoming a talk show host. She hosted The Tyra Banks Show for five seasons from 2005 to 2010.

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection
Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!