Tyra Banks is a wiz at shelling out fashion and beauty advice.
On America’s Next Top Model, she sends wannabe models packing if they don’t look the part. And although Banks has a mean girl reputation on her TV show, in reality she’s much more forgiving. In fact, you can call her a “fierce” advocate of women. Curvy, skinny, black or white, Banks’ message is “to embrace your flaws” instead of “hiding them.” And now the 5’10’’ bombshell is taking her wisdom to new heights with Type F, a new consultation website. “It’s an online community where women can feel safe and beautiful,” Bank says. “Where they can feel special.”It works like this: women create a username and password and then input specifics like “eye and hair color, body shape, personality traits and lifestyle habits.” Banks and her beauty team then offer advice on what works fashion- and otherwise. There’s also a beauty school with online videos that teach you about makeup, skin and hair care. Banks, who is currently enrolled in Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program, is expanding her empire because she feels she has a “responsibility to make women feel comfortable. “A lot of times [the media] will make us feel like we have to look a certain way, but it’s not true.”On the catwalk, the former Victoria’s Secret model wasn’t always confident. “I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. As a teen, I was skinny, then later when I started to model, I gained weight,” she says. “At times I was insecure. Either my butt was too big or too small.” But things that she once thought of as ugly have helped her: “I’ve been told that my large forehead has helped shape my success as a high fashion model.” And years of self-doubt have taught her how to curb those self-esteem woes. “One of the most important things is to search out role models. Find someone in the entertainment industry you can relate to.” And when you look in the mirror, “smile.”“Try to find one thing you’re proud of, that you love about yourself even if it’s something small like the arch of your eyebrow.”And, of course, “love your attributes.” Like Banks says, “We’re all fierce!” Micaela Hood