Tyra Banks has gone from super model to super mogul in a short time. Now, Banks is moving into the world of online fashion with her new website, typeF.com, launching on March 15th. “typeF.com to me is a revolutionary type of fashion site,” Banks tells EW. “It’s all about personalization, whereas a lot of sites and fashion magazines tend to tell you, ‘Okay this is the trend. You need to wear it and if you don’t wear it like this, it’s not good.’ Type F does two things: one is we show you the trends but we show you how to wear it or use it in relation to your body type. It’s all about personalization, personalization, personalization!” Visitors enter all their body details, from the shape of their eyes to the length of their hair, and then are given tips and info that directly relates to their body type. Banks also will be appearing in a weekly web series, Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion, alongside her America’s Next Top Model judge — and Vogue editor — Andre Leon Talley. EW talked to Banks about the new site, her new YA book series, and plans for future ANTM cycles. Plus, we have an exclusive sneak peak of the first Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion installment.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Will you be a major presence on the site? Will you be blogging?
TYRA BANKS: Most definitely. My site right now, tyra.com, is now connected to typeF, so my entire world and my business will be connected to typeF. You will be seeing tips and tricks from me, you will be seeing blogs, you will be seeing recommendations. It’s definitely my world.
It feels like you’re branching out more online?
It’s definitely a strong arm for my company but I wouldn’t say we’re not walking away from television at all. We’re actually going to be bumping up our television production. At the same time, a lot of our company is dedicated to media. I think it would not be responsible to not recognize that people are spending a lot more time online than watching television. So I’m following that trend and creating content for that trend.
Did Andre’s involvement in the webisodes just come through your friendship with Top Model?
Exactly! I actually went to Andre the first season of Top Model years ago and he almost did it but I think reality television back then was like, “What this thing?” and “What’s going on?” So I had to prove myself for him to come back and go, “Okay, I’m ready to do it now.” Yeah, I really got to know him and spend a lot of time off camera with him.
It’s oddly flirty too. You flashed him!
I was like, I have to sit on his lap. It was something I was toying with, and then on the day of the shoot, I came in and I said, “I’m not sitting on a chair next to him. I’ve seen that a million times. I’m sitting on his lap.” After seven webisodes, you can only imagining the cramping in my legs because I was scared to put all my weight on him. So I was like tensing my muscles the whole time and my thigh muscles got cramped up a little bit. It was hours sitting on his lap! [Laughs]
It’s kind of like fashion Santa Claus.
Exactly! [Laughs] It’s very that!
In the video, you two say that a trench coat is a great item to wear if you have to run out to grab a sandwich while naked. Have you ever done that?
I have not. You need to bob and weave throughout that advice. It’s for comedic purposes only, and some if it is true take-home [advice]. It’s up for you to make the right decision. [Laughs]
What’s coming up for you and your company, Bankable?
The first book in my Modelland series comes out in September. It’s total fiction. It’s fantasy. It’s about a modeling academy where the entrance to get into the school is so stringent, so strict in terms of physicality of what you should look like. Four girls make their way into this world. Again, think magic, think models have powers. They’re not called supermodels — I made up a word called “intoxibellas.”
You love making up words!
I can’t help it! So four girls make it into this school that do not have the physicalities whatsoever which is the prerequisite.
That sounds like a show for The CW.
When I first announced it, I had a very big film producer who wanted to get the rights immediately. I was like, let me write the book first. It’s a three-part series.
And you plan on doing more television?
Yeah, definitely. We’re definitely going to start producing television. It was very difficult doing the talk show and Top Model at the same time. My hands were tied a little bit because I didn’t wanna just delegate. It was difficult for me to create.
Will you keep doing more seasons of Top Model?
We will do it as long as people want to watch it.
Well I do, so make it for me!
I will make it just for you. American’s Next Top Tim Model.