Tyra Banks may be passing hosting duties of “America’s Next Top Model” to Rita Ora when the show resumes on VH1 in December, but she’s not ready to completely give up modeling competitions. In partnership with the agency L.A. Models, Banks’ brand Tyra Beauty held a model search to find new faces for its 2017 advertising campaign.
“I had this epiphany recently. I started Tyra Beauty and it is doing super well, but, at the same time, I realized that this whole big side of my brand and my passion was being left out and that involves the modeling connection,” said Banks, talking to WWD last week from Las Vegas, where the search concluded during Tyra Beauty’s Fierce Up national sales conference. “I am going to be thinking about wrapping in modeling a lot more to the branding and marketing of Tyra Beauty.”
Around 300 people entered the competition, and 10 bested the rest to secure spots in Tyra Beauty’s upcoming ad campaign. Among the victors are popular beauty digital influencer Jasmine Brown; Alex Phillips, a so-called “Beautytainer” or sales representative for Tyra Beauty; Sarah Pinson, another Beautytainer, and Geovanna Hilton, 2015 Miss Nevada Teen USA. L.A. Models handled the competition casting.
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After Phillips was named as a winner, she broke down in tears. “She said she had a family member who constantly told her she would amount to nothing. She just couldn’t believe that she could be chosen and she’s already a very successful Beautytainer, but getting picked was almost life changing for her,” recounted Banks. “I had to embrace her for a while.”
Banks’ goal for the competition was attracting a diverse array of women, each with a vibrant personality. She said, “I wanted a plethora [of examples] of beauty. I chose plus size. I chose thin. I chose short. I chose tall. Some of the girls are just really hot, sexy, traditionally beautiful girls and that’s beautiful, too. We have a mix.” She continued, “I wasn’t the most beautiful model out there, but my personality helped me to become a well-known model. I want that with my models. I don’t want them to be standing there and not know what to say.”
Certainly, Banks’ relatable, go-getter personality is critical to building Tyra Beauty as well. She divulged the brand is exceeding sales projections and charging ahead with product launches. The most recent launch is the mask Instant Gratification, which is designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and even skin tone in eight minutes.
Banks will be sharing branding insights in May with MBA students at Stanford University when she’s slated to teach a class with Allison Kluger, formerly coordinating producer of “The View” and executive producer of the Global Shopping Network. Around 25 people are expected to take the class.
“I love teaching. On ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ there was a lot of humor and whimsy, but the base of it was teaching the models. I got so much pleasure out of teaching them, and it feels good to see the models I mentored killing it,” said Banks, singling out Nyle DiMarco, who signed to Wilhelmina International and won of the 22nd cycle of “America’s Next Top Model.” He joined her to bring Tyra Beauty’s model search to a close in Las Vegas. “Teaching is in my bones and to be able to do it in the traditional sense is the ultimate.”