Tyra Banks Says She Was Never Naomi Campbell’s Rival, Blames Tokenism For Brit Beauty’s Mean Girl Mentality

Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell

Source: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for NAACP / Getty

Tyra Banks Talks Investing, “Next Top Model” And Naomi Campbell

Tyra Banks retreads some old territory and new ground in a recent interview that visits both her success as co-creator of “America’s Next Top Model” as well as being tested in her early career by one of her very own inspirations — Naomi Campbell. Watch the interview below. The Naomi part comes in at around the 11 minute mark.

“It wasn’t a rivalry,” Banks told the Wall Street Journal. “And I’m very sensitive to that word because a rivalry is with two equals to me, where one was very dominant. She was a supermodel and I was just some new girl that got on a plane from Paris and was studying fashion in magazines at a fashion library.”

“I had a very painful early days in Paris. As much as I was booking every single fashion show, people didn’t know I was going home at night crying my eyes out because a woman I was looking up to seemed like she just didn’t want me to be there,” Banks said. “And was doing everything in her power to make me go away.”

She continued, “I didn’t understand that as a young girl, like why is she doing this? This is so evil. This is so awful. The adult me understands that she was reacting to an industry that was all about a token. When I came on the scene, ‘Naomi look out, there’s another Black girl that’s going to take your spot.’”

Banks and Campbell famously made their peace back in 2005 on Tyra’s talk show. Tyra seems like she let Naomi kinda off the hook for her personal behavior with that token excuse. Would you do the same? Do you think she should be done talking about this issue or is it her story to tell as many times as she wants?

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