Supermodel, actress, presenter Tyra Banks is known all over the world, but her path to fame has not been cloudless. Caroline London, Tyra’s mom, came to the journalist Sheinel Jones’s “Mom’s Eyes” show and talked about how to grow a catwalk star.
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Becoming a star
In fact, Caroline single-handedly raised two children after the divorce when little Tyra was only 5 years old:
“I raised both of my children, guided by the phrase “Look to the other side”… It’s not where you are now, but where you want to go. Imagine yourself there. “
Caroline recalls that her daughter’s interest in creativity manifested itself very early. If her eldest son Devin is “Inquisitive bookworm”then Tyra has always been a creative person:
“When Tyra was in elementary school, she watched commercials on TV, criticized them, and talked about how they should be filmed better.”
When the girl was bullied at school because of her appearance, called “giraffe” and “ugly duckling”, Caroline tried to help her cope with grievances, focusing on her other characteristics:
“I focused less on her appearance, and more on her abilities and character. We went to bookstores, exhibitions, museums because she really liked it. She even motivated other girls at school to do it. “
Photo sessions became another activity for mom and daughter. Caroline herself worked as a photographer at NASA and often arranged work shots at home, and she also had a friend who worked in the fashion industry. From time to time, she took her growing daughter with her to such photo shoots.
“I am often asked if I was planning a modeling career for Tyra. Of course not. One day she came up to me and said: “Mom, maybe I should think about this kind of work.” And I said, “Okay. Do your research and then tell me what you have learned about this industry. ” Tyra came in about a week and said: “This suits me, I will do it.”
“I will support any of her decisions.”
After Tyra Banks applied to a number of colleges and was admitted to five institutions at once, she suddenly received a call and was invited to fashion shows in Paris.
“I told my daughter that I would support any decision she made, because this is not my life, but hers,” Caroline admits. “But I made a reservation:“ You start working, but you are a product. Therefore, you have to learn. You have to study this business inside and out before you get on a plane to Paris. “
Tyra watched videos of models from the catwalks of different ages and noted:
“You know, Mom, each of them has their own individual and recognizable gait.” I replied, “So we need to work on Tyra’s iconic gait.”
According to Caroline, the first exits of young Tyra Banks led to “Almost instant success” in Paris:
“Everyone seemed to be out of their minds. The press started chasing her and attacking her with questions: “What is your name? Where are you from?”.
To deal with the situation and keep Tyra safe, Caroline London became her manager:
“I was really scared … But I decided to become the manager of my daughter. I really didn’t realize that I was actually in control of her career, I was just taking care of my child. “
Tyra Banks’ career skyrocketed. She became the first black woman to appear on the cover of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and was one of the first black models to sign with Victoria’s Secret.
Caroline London argues that fighting racism is “Most difficult aspect” fashion industry:
“Tyre has been systematically told that magazines with black models are not for sale, that black models do not participate in advertising campaigns, that black models cannot appear on the catwalk in winter clothes. And so it is constantly. But we both have a motto: “Don’t tell me that I can’t do something.” There is always a way. It can be a side door, a back door, a basement door, a tunnel. You will definitely find it. And when you find it, keep moving forward. “
“The president of IMG Models called me and said, ‘Your daughter has been approved for the cover of Sports Illustrate,’ recalls Caroline. – I sat and thought to myself: “She did it.” And I won’t let anyone tell you that magazines with black models on the cover are selling poorly. It was a sense of accomplishment as a mother who put the most out of her child, knowing that she was truly a pioneer in this industry. ”
Tyra Banks continued to take on challenges and try new things in her career, never giving her mother, as a manager, “a break.” Although not everything worked out (Caroline laughingly recalls Tyra’s short singing career), it was a learning process for both mom and daughter.
“Sometimes you have to let the kids fill up the bumps,” Caroline is convinced. “You cannot protect them from everything, because you learn a lot in life from your own mistakes.”
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time”
In 2016, Tyra Banks herself became the mother of her son.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” says Caroline London. – When she finally decided that she wanted a child – and you know, she had difficulties – I went through everything with her. But when she gave birth to York, it changed my life. I’m really happy for her. I wish Tyra had another child, but she said no.
Caroline London ended her conversation with Shayneel Jones with a piece of advice she gave her daughter and other moms:
“Be truthful and honest with your children to build relationships in which they feel comfortable enough to come to you for any reason. I think this is very important. “
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