After a successful modeling career, and an even more successful television career, Banks is tackling the written word with her book, ''Modelland''

By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated September 02, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Your main character is about the same age as you were when you started modeling. Did you base her on yourself?
There’s a lot of me in Tookie. Tookie is obsessed, obsessed, obsessed with whipped cream, cannot stand chocolate, has a huge forehead, is very insecure in her youth, doubts herself, people stare at her and look through her because she’s invisible, and that’s who I was. All of that was me as a kid.

The girls in Modelland are competing in a big fashion-based competition. It’s not unlike a certain show.
I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being derivative of myself when it comes to America’s Next Top Model. At the same time, of course I’m inspired by Top Model because it’s my baby.

Did it go the other way? Did anything from Modelland inspire Top Model?
The last two episodes of the upcoming cycle actually do have a Modelland theme. I spent so much time — years — by myself at libraries, at my kitchen table, at cafés, writing this book, and it was my story…so to see it acted out by the models was weird.

You’re currently enrolled in Harvard Business School. Who’s more competitive: Harvard business students or Top Model contestants?
That’s a hard one. I say Top Model contestants, because we live together in the dorm at Harvard and we study together, we eat together. It’s competitive, but it’s not like we’re going to the professor saying ”That bitch copied my answer!”

Not as much hair pulling in the Ivy League?
Not as much.

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