The former supermodel, 43, said it wasn’t hard for her to let go of the show she created, executive-produced and hosted for 22 seasons. Rita Ora replaced Banks as the host and main judge for the most recent cycle 23. “Many years ago, I was stressed with starting new businesses,” she told EW during the Q&A, posted Wednesday, March 8. “I went to [my lawyer], and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m ready to bring someone else in.’ I won’t say the name of that person, but I actually brought a different person to the network, met with them, and said, ‘This is the person I want to take the reins of this show.’ This was cycle 8. It was very early.”
Luckily, someone stepped in and convinced her to stick around. “My lawyer held an intervention of sorts and said, ‘What are you doing? You created this show. It’s starting to get traction around the entire world. I beg of you not to do this,’” she recalled of the 2007 conversation. “But I was so tired. I was like, fine, fine, I’ll just continue. I called [my potential replacement] and said, ‘We’re not going to have you do this for now.’ It’s something that’s been on the tip of my fingers for so long, so it wasn’t necessarily difficult [to let go]. It was actually exciting. I wanted the show to continue; I want to keep it new. With me creating and owning a significant portion of the show, it’s in my best interests to keep it going and to keep it fresh.”
The former Victoria’s Secret Angel now has the freedom to work on other ventures. “I do have a really strong team that is taking the reins on the creative side,” Banks said. “I’m not handholding the brand like I used to. I used to have a problem of being too much of a micromanager … but I had mentors telling me, ‘In order to expand your production company and have new things, you have to delegate.’ You create, and you move on. So that’s where I am right now with the show is more overseeing in general.”
Banks also explained that she’s proud ANTM has “normalized” all types of beauty. “Being black and being curvy made me empathize with people who didn’t fit the cookie cutter. Whether it’s the girl with alabaster skin and red frizzy hair with freckles all over her face to a girl with [season 1 contestant] Ebony’s skin and close-cropped hair and features she didn’t feel were considered beautiful in society,” she said. “I was using them as a vessel to tell millions of girls around the world who looked like them that they were beautiful. This has always been a passion of mine.”
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