Ingelwood-born Tyra Banks began modeling in eleventh grade, and within two decades, she
Ingelwood-born Tyra Banks began modeling in eleventh grade, and within two decades, she managed to parlay her supermodel status into a veritable media empire! She was a success from the beginning—her first week in Paris, designers were so loving her runway walk that she was was booked for 25 shows (a record for a newbie). Banks went on to do tons of editorial, advertising and runway work for brands like Anna Sui, CoverGirl, Badgley Mischka, Cynthia Rowley, Chanel, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and famously, Victoria’s Secret. She was the first Black model to grace the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue…and in 1997, she received the VH1 award for Supermodel of the Year. That same year, she became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria’s Secret catalog. In ‘05, Tyra retired from modeling to start her television career. "America’s Next Top Model" is now a pop culture mainstay.