September 16th, 2009
11:08 AM ET

Tyra Banks and 'Powerful Women'

Tyra Banks is feeling her power. The former supermodel has been up front about her desire to become a business leader and role model. She's got her talk show during the day, "America's Next Top Model" in prime time, an online magazine and a desire to spread the word whenever possible.

Tyra Banks

On Monday, she kicked off Fortune's "Most Powerful Women Summit" in Aviara, California, co-hosting the first evening of a conference that honored women business leaders from all over the world. (Fortune, like CNN, is a unit of Time Warner.) In a speech, she talked about putting her brain before her much remarked-about body:

"I was in a spa in New York City and a woman was with her 4-year-old daughter. She said, ‘Sweetie, that's Tyra Banks. She used to be a supermodel, and she learned to be smart.’  The woman failed to realize that I had become a supermodel because I played a smart game.

I had a strategy and a clear plan to make it to the top. Just like you mentees here tonight. I didn't learn to be smart - I already was, just like the 12 of you here tonight."

Of course, Banks doesn't ignore what helped get her the TV shows - looks - though with a twist. Last week she showed off her real hair on "Tyra." And on "America's Next Top Model," the season is focusing on women 5-foot-7 or shorter - much shorter than many models nowadays.

What do you think of Tyra Banks? Is she "smart" - or are brains so much window dressing?


soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Megan Ally

    tyra is both beautiful inside and outside, she has great personality*"

    September 29, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Libby Murray

    I often watch the Tyra Banks show late in the afternoon. Great show and great host.'*`

    July 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. VERNADINE TURNER

    TYRA I THINK YOU ARE A ROLL MODEL TO SOME OF OUR YOUNG BLACK GIRLS WHO'S TRYING TO GET INTO THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS. BECAUSE TOBECOME A SUPERMODEL YOU HAVE TO BE SMART TO MAKE IT. I'M A 48YR. OLD SINGALE PARENT WHO AS A DAUGHTER WHO'S TRYING TOBECOME A MODEL, BUT IS LISTING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE'S. AND I DON' THINK THAT IS BEING SMART AT ALL. SO IF ANY THING, I THANK YOU FOR YOUR SHOW SO SHE CAN SEE THAT THE THINGS THAT LOOK EASE, IS NOT ALL TO IT. SMART HAS TO PLAY A ROLL SOME WHERE. SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, AND I THINK YOUR SHOW IS A POWERFUL SHOW THAT COMES FROM BEING SMART.

    September 18, 2009 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. JC Reilly

    She is the ultimate difficult Diva, who surrounds herself with unattractive, nuerotic publicists who try to spin all of the stupid things she says. Just work with her for one day and you see how fast your opinion changes. Although she is beautiful, her extreme entitlement issues make her less attractive. Maybe if she spent less time letting know how fabulous she is, she could make a more positive impact on younger people.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. ginger schubert

    Tyra, You are so beautiful & a such woman to do what you do I
    wish I was as strong as you. You are such a good role model
    for young girls today. Thank You for this and I love your show. If
    you can I would love to talk to you, I am a 64year old woman and
    I don't feel like I have done anything. thank you ginger

    September 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jacqueline

    Smart? No. Egotistical, self-indulged, attention whore? Yes.
    For anyone who has actually endured this annoying narcissists talk show, they would know she is little more than a beautiful moron who cannot stop talking about herself, back in the day when she was a model, and the hardships she has overcome.
    Pathetic.

    September 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve-0

    Would the blogger known as E. Rosseau take another shot at spelling the word INTELLIGENT. Join the INTELLIGENT, SMART women's group you describe.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ArianMac

    Tyra's intelligence encompasses a quality lost on most "beautiful people": wisdom. Ms. Banks has the wisdom to know what to do for herself and when to do it. As for E. Rousseau: Congratulate not Hate!

    September 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. E. Rousseau

    She needs to just "GO AWAY"...Please. She has accomplished nothing! If anyone has watched her show, she comes off as an embarassment to smart intellient women, without Oprah's help she would be a has been model.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brent Pulford

    Nobody should be naive enough to believe that Tyra Banks, on sheer brain power, achieved anything. She's a beautiful woman and our culture creates big opportunities for the physically superior – sports and entertainment being the most obvious arenas.
    On the other hand Tyra Banks isn't the only beautiful woman in the world. Her segue from modeling to entertainment/business is to be admired. But I think it's less about brains in her case than a mature ability to look to and plan for the future. Really what distinguishes her in my mind is the fact that she had a plan and executed it. Commitment and maturity are more the keys to her success than brains.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. frank zalman

    she is brilliant, but unfortunately, she is one in a million...it goes without saying that she is obviously and unashamedly capitalizing in multiple brilliant ways on our society's unsatiable obsession with the female form.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. cotillionaire

    Okay, I can't help but laugh a little at the two posters above me who think Tyra is a "smart women." I only wish they'd thought she was a "geniuses."

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Britney...

    Great Tyra.
    I applaud you for being so, well smart.
    I think that Tyra is a smart women and she knows what she is doing. She showed everyone her real hair because well, she probably wanted to show the world that she is normal as well. She has her bad hair days and she doesnt always look perfect, which i think is a hard thing for celebs these days to show. Tyra is nothing like other supermodels out there and i think tht everyone should look at her as a real model.
    Keep it up Tyra!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tina

    She is a very smart women. She has looks and brains. Her looks would have only gotten her so far. If you don't believe me look at the other super models many of them are not doing anything constructive with their lives after the camera stops.

    September 16, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tyra A Powerful African American Women

    African American Women are Extoic,Beautiful and Smart..keep up the great work Tyra.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  16. QT

    Tyra is indeed smart! If Tyra were not intelligent, her looks wouldn't matter now that she is not a supermodel. I think the fact that she is gorgeous and sweet makes people underestimate her intelligence. However, her looks alone would never have gotten her to where she is now. You go, girl!!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |

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