Tyra Banks says her Top Model “character” “is not who I am in real life”

Tyra Banks says that the person we see on Top Model is not really her. Instead, on her reality series, she’s “more of a character. That is not who I am in real life,” she tells Zap2it.

“People who come to my talk show laugh, because they say they watch ‘Top Model,’ and that’s who they thought I was, but it’s a reality-show character.” To prove to us that she’s actually a character, Tyra refers to herself in the third person and continues, “She’s almost a caricature of herself. There’s a certain voice that I use when I say, ‘I have five photos in my hand.’ It’s really funny.”

She adds that the way she gives advice is unlike how she’d do it in real life; instead, it just makes good television to crush the hopes and dreams of emaciated girls while she’s in character. “I would never give modeling advice in the tone that I give it to the girls, but it’s just something that works for the show,” she said. “The advice is the same that I would give, but I would just give it differently in real life.”

On a related note, Tyra says that, on her talk show, she has to trick her audience into caring about that day’s subject matter. “My audience is women 18-34, so I have to give them what they want and spoon-feed them with sugar the things they might not be that excited about, give it to them in a way that they don’t know they’re being fed a little medicine,” she says.

Tyra Banks is a model of hard work if not the genuine article [Zap2it]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.