Television personality, producer, entrepreneur and former model Tyra Banks has a lengthy resume, but is probably best known these days for instructing aspiring models to “smize” (smile with their eyes) on “America’s Next Top Model,” a fashion reality TV series she created and hosts. It’s currently in its 24th season. Her book “Perfect Is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss” will be published in April.
While Ms. Banks mostly travels for work, she describes herself as “a master at tacking on pleasure,” commonly adding on vacation days to weeks of intensive shooting abroad. “America’s Next Top Model” has taken contestants around the world, but her favorite was Morocco. “What I love about Marrakesh is the people, and the earth, and the architecture are like the same color. It’s just that beautiful terracotta color and it just all blends, it’s just beautiful. The whole town is like a makeup base foundation,” she said.
She describes herself as obsessed with hotels, even going so far as to model her own bedroom after a room in the Four Seasons New York. “I used to stay there when I was a Victoria’s Secret model, actually, and I studied that room. I don’t think I took pictures back then, but I talked to the interior designer, and I made it as close to that Four Seasons as possible, including the bathtub that fills up in like 60 seconds.”
Here’s what she can’t travel without.
Her Son’s Toy
“It’s like a little blanket connected to a giraffe head, and I cuddle with that and I get funky with it and I sleep with it, and I put it in my armpit and all that. I have two of them so they’re in rotation, so I travel and get it funky and then I come back and I give it to him, and I’m like ‘That was mommy!’ and he grabs it and smells it. I know that sounds gross, but there’s always one with me and always one with him, and you know, children really connect to their parents’ scent, so I make sure that it’s on me when I’m on the plane and stuff like that. And then when I come home, I just take the one he had and give him that one, so he immediately has mommy’s smell again.”
Ellen DeGeneres Sneakers
“So when I’m traveling, I don’t wear high heel boots anymore. I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, the paparazzi might meet me at the airport when I land so I have to look cute.’ I ain’t got time for cute now, my feet are hurting! So I wear sneakers, but Ellen DeGeneres has the cutest sneakers. And they have animals on them, it’s hard to explain, but they have an etching of a dog or a cat, peeking off the sides of the shoes. They are so cute. It’s a way to have a sneaker, and you know, like a little whimsy and humor with it.”
“I’m now into press-on nails. I used to be into gels and sitting in the chair forever and getting your nails done, but they are so good. They don’t look like they did back in the day. They look like you sat in the chair for an hour and a half. But I have to bring extra nails and glue in my purse for the emergency when you’re putting your bag up in your overhead and a nail pops off. And I was like, ‘I will not be caught out here with a nail missing.’ I’m not a prissy type of girl, but even that can look a little busted, and so, you know, I have them in my purse with the extra glue and I pop ‘em on. You don’t want to get caught out there looking crazy.”
“It’s a blue leather Fendi tote, and I think it’s called the ‘Monster Bag.’ My agent, Nancy, got it for me because it has eyes on it, and when you unzip the zipper on front, the inside is red, so it looks like a mouth. But she calls it a ‘smizing bag,’ because it looks like the eyes are smizing.”