She’s been an angel, Will Smith’s girlfriend (on the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”) and a champion for young women everywhere. But in December Tyra Banks gave up her most famous role: that of supermodel. She bid farewell to the runway on the Tyra Banks Show and sent up her Victoria’s Secret angel wings to that big catwalk in the sky. On said episode, she had a few weepy moments as her mother paid her a brief tribute and she showed clips of herself workin’ it in a number of fashion shows, a skill she admits to have learned from drag queens. However, it isn’t really an end for the modeling legend; it’s more of a beginning. She’s parlayed her stardom into on-screen success by executive producing “America’s Next Top Model” and more recently by having her own talk show. Modeling is one of the few careers from which one can “retire” at the ripe old age of 32. The industry is notorious for not being terribly kind to older women (that is, over age 25) as well as being still hampered by archaic notions of beauty and continued lack of diversity. Although Miss Tyra has made no bones about her struggles, particularly as a Black supermodel, she left on top and with a note of optimism: her success on the catwalk will make it easier for Black women who aspire to be models in the future. Now that’s what I call super.
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