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In 1979, when Banks was six years old, her parents divorced.Banks attended John Burroughs Middle School and graduated in 1991 from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.While growing up, Banks states she was teased for her appearance and considered an "ugly duckling"; When Banks was 15 years old, she started modeling while attending school in Los Angeles.
She began her career as a model at age 15, and became the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, on which she appeared twice.
She was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.
By the early 2000s, Banks was one of the top-earning models in the world.
Banks began acting on television in 1993 on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and made her film debut in Higher Learning in 1995.
She went on to have major roles such as Eve in Disney Channel's Life-Size and Zoe in the box office hit Coyote Ugly.
She had small roles in romantic film Love & Basketball and horror film Halloween: Resurrection, and also appeared in television series Gossip Girl and Glee.In 2003, Banks created and began presenting the long-running UPN/The CW reality television series America's Next Top Model, which she executive produces and presented for the first twenty-two seasons.Following the original cancellation of the series in October 2015, it was announced Banks would remain as the series' executive producer for the America's Next Top Model, but would no longer be the host.Banks was also the co-creator of True Beauty, and had her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, which aired on The CW for five seasons and won two Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Talk Show Informative.She also co-hosted the talk show FABLife for two months.In 2010, she published a young adult novel titled Modelland, based on her life as a model which topped The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011.