Tyra Banks (Getty)
Tyra Banks (Getty). Former supermodel turned media mogul Tyra Banks is taking a stand against the images of stick-thin models that are splashed across the pages of fashion magazines and glorified on the runways of New York and Milan.
In response to a recent pledge by 19 Vogue editors to no longer hire models with visible signs of an eating disorder, Tyra Banks wrote an open letter to The Daily Beast and appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday to talk about her own experiences in the modeling industry and about the pressures facing young women who currently work within the industry.
"When I started modeling, I used to see models who seemed unhealthy backstage at fashion shows," she wrote in her letter to The Daily Beast. "They appeared to be abusing their bodies to maintain a certain weight. These girls were booked over and over again for countless fashion shows and photo shoots. I’m sure many of you today have witnessed this, or even live it. Now, real progress is finally on the horizon. Vogue is stepping up, doing the right thing, and protecting that girl."
The America's Next Top Model creator/host also revealed that, after working as a runway model for years, designers and agencies no longer wanted to hire her when she began to develop curves in her early 20s. Instead of starving herself or quitting the industry altogether, Banks sat down with her mother and crafted a new career strategy that involved flaunting her shape rather than trying to fight against it. That choice eventually led her down the path of becoming a Victoria's Secret angel and a Sports Illustrated cover girl.
Banks actively works to promote this idea of unique, personal beauty on America's Next Top Model and in her own mentoring work with other young models. "I’ve been using the word 'flawsome' a lot. It’s you + your flaws + awesome = Flawsome. I have a big forehead, and I got made fun of all time. When I was a little girl, they used to call me “five-head.” I’ve been teased my whole life, but I continue to rock it with pride," she also wrote.
Tyra concluded her open letter with the hope that others within the fashion industry would be inspired by the admirable step that Vogue has taken to try and curb eating disorders in young models. "Vogue has the power to make and break—whether it’s fashion trends, designers, models, and yes, even industry practices. Their bold stance means that others will follow."
Check out the Good Morning America video to hear Tyra Banks chat with host Lara Spencer about this topic that is very near and dear to her heart.
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