Tyra Banks On Being Too Fat To Be A Model

Despite some obvious misgivings from certain quarters, one celebrity to show support for Vogue’s ‘Health Initiative’ is supermodel and business woman Tyra Banks.

Tyra Banks - at 17 Banks was "too heavy" to be a model
Tyra Banks - at 17 Banks was "too heavy" to be a model

Models and booking agents at Models Direct are still talking about Vogue‘s ‘Health Initiative’ as the programme reaches its first month in action. The initiative is intended to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the modelling industry but has met with mixed reactions from models and celebrities.

Cindy Crawford and Janice Dickinson are just two former models to have shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm about the proposed changes. Crawford was described in Jezebel last week as appearing ‘kinda ambivalent’ about the brand’s new modelling rules, and, referring to them in a recent interview, Dickinson stated: “I just don’t buy it.”

Despite some obvious misgivings from certain quarters, one celebrity to show support for the initiative is supermodel and business woman Tyra Banks. In an open letter on The Daily Beast she spoke out to other models urging them not to starve themselves in order to become a model or remain in favour with designers who produce particularly tiny samples: “When I started modeling, I used to see models who seemed unhealthy backstage at fashion shows. 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. Perhaps that girl is you!

“People get upset with you if you’re a very thin model. What many don’t know is that a certain sample size has been set by the industry, and you’re doing everything in your power to keep working. At times, I feel there’s an unspoken rule that says, “there’s no such thing as being too thin, as long as you don’t pass out.

“In my early 20s I was a size four. But then I started to get curvy. My agency gave my mom a list of designers that didn’t want to book me in their fashion shows anymore. In order to continue working, I would’ve had to fight Mother Nature and get used to depriving myself of nutrition. As my mom wiped the tears from my face, she said, “Tyra, you know what we’re going to do about this? We’re going to go eat pizza.” We sat in a tiny pizzeria in Milan and strategised about how to turn my curves into a curveball. In a way, it was my decision not to starve myself that turned me into a supermodel, and later on, a businesswoman.”

To emphasise her point Banks added: “If I was just starting to model at 17 in 2012, I could not have had the career that I did. I would’ve been considered too heavy.”

What do you think about Vogue‘s Health Initiative? Is it an empty gesture, or a welcome sign that the modelling industry is changing once and for all?