The 10,000-square-foot venture, which lets everyone discover their inner model, debuted at the Santa Monica Place shopping mall on Friday when it opened its doors to the public. The project is named for Banks’ book “ModelLand,” a young adult novel published in 2010 that is based on her life.
“For so long, I’ve been describing ModelLand as an immersive experience. In our final night of rehearsals, someone told me they felt it was beyond an immersive experience; that it was interactive and that they had no idea how much the show is truly about the guests that come,” Banks said in an email. “But it didn’t start this way. Years ago it was much more story-driven, a narrative about fictitious characters. But because our opening was stalled due to COVID-19 challenges, we had time to reevaluate the creative and tweak it to make the guest the star.”
Originally, the project was to have encompassed 21,000 square feet, but that was downsized after the delay.
ModelLand, which sells adult general pass tickets for $35 and VIP access entrances for $225, creates a fantasy version of the modeling world through interactive entertainment, curated retail and user-generated content that can be shared.
The experience leads visitors to pose in various rooms, starting in the runway room and winding through spaces called the model school, the wig room, the bedroom and the dance studio. Posing Professionals are available to share industry tips and tricks on how to strike a glamorous pose or discover their best selfie angle.
Banks, who was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times and was a Victoria’s Secret model from 2003 to 2015, worked on the project for 13 years before it finally debuted.
During that time, she also launched the reality TV show “America’s Next Top Model,” which debuted in 2003 and ran for several seasons.