Long before she became the host of America’s Next Top Model, Banks, 42, was rejected by six modeling agencies in Los Angeles. Frustrated, she decided to travel overseas in search of a job while she was still a teenager.
“I got to Paris, and it was very difficult,” the model recounted during an appearance on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan on Friday, October 14. “I did really well really fast, but then the industry was saying, ‘Oh, look out, Naomi Campbell, here comes Tyra Banks! So Naomi Campbell, sit your butt down. This younger one is coming to take your place.'”
“It wasn’t fair to Naomi. … To this day, I’m very scared of her,” Banks continued of her 46-year-old former rival. “I don’t want to go too deep into the past, but it was very difficult — like some of the lowest times in my life — dealing with that. I don’t condone her actions and her response, but I understand where it comes from because the world is saying, ‘You’re not going to have your spot. We’re going to take your money, we’re going to take your fame. Go sit down, there’s somebody else.'”
The fellow beauties eventually made amends (14 years later!) when Campbell famously appeared on The Tyra Banks Show to discuss their drama. “I cried like a baby,” Banks recalled on Skavlan.
“I asked her why [she reacted so harshly],” the TV personality continued. “She kept saying it never happened, and then there was a commercial break and she came back and said, ‘You know what, I’m sorry.’ To hear that apology meant the world to me. She has no idea what it did for me. It did a lot. Thank you, Naomi.”
Banks is now a household name and has been ranked one of Time magazine’s most influential people a number of times. Earlier this year, the former FABLife host revealed that she and boyfriend Erik Asla welcomed a baby boy named York via surrogate.
Campbell, meanwhile, is still a successful supermodel and actress. Last year, she starred on Fox’s Empire and FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel.
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