Tyra Banks is fiercer than ever for Paper magazine’s December Issue.
Check out photos from the shoot and excerpts from the interview.
“I stepped away, but social media was calling my name in my sleep, screaming they were pissed off at me that I deserted [the show],” Banks says of fan reactions to her departure. “I needed to bring my butt back, so I did.” Describing her break as having been “sacrilege” to dedicated Top Model fans, Banks says, “One thing I know is from studying business, they say your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. I thought Top Model would be fine without me hosting, but the social media sphere let me know that was not the case.”
But Banks is much more than the show’s cherished host. She’s the mastermind behind numerousANTM-themed Internet memes, whether she meant for it to be that way or not. You can make a drinking game out of how many times the “we were all rooting for you” GIF appears in your social media feed. Type “but make it fashion” into Twitter’s search function and you’ll be greeted with an endless scroll of results. And, of course, there’s the iconic “smize,” which has been hashtagged over 400,000 times on Instagram. While Banks says she simply incorporated her everyday vernacular into the show, there was some exaggeration. “I wouldn’t say I’m being my normal self on Top Model,” she says. “I’m being the crazy version of myself on Top Model sometimes.” Still, she never set out for her lingo to catch on like it has. “Sometimes they stick and I’m like, ‘That was not meant to be.’ ‘Hoe, but make it fashion’ was definitely not meant to be.”