Tyra Banks Gets Real About Her Body Image After Coming Out Of Retirement For New ‘SI’ Cover

by Angela Andaloro

Tyra Banks has been a model since she was a teen. Recently, the 45-year-old returned to modeling, and she’s looking as fierce as ever.

She appears on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue looking every bit the model she did when she first graced the cover years ago. Back then, she was the first African American woman to ever land a solo cover. Of course, a lot has changed between then and now for the icon.

Tyra has taken the world by storm with her many business ventures. She created and hosted her own hit series, America’s Next Top Model. She’s busy at work on the upcoming Modelland attraction.

Tyra even had her own talk show and has written books, including a memoir. She juggles these ventures today on top of being a mother to toddler son York Banks Asla. All of these experiences have redefined Tyra’s idea of what it means to be beautiful and powerful in an industry that depends on it. Now she’s coming back with a fresh perspective.

Tyra Banks has made a return to modeling in a monumental way. She is officially among the oldest women to ever grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue at 45 years old.

Tyra first appeared in the SI Swimsuit issue in 1993. A few years later, she became the first African American woman to ever land a solo cover.

She shared photos to Instagram wearing the same red-and-pink polka dot bikini that she wore on a years-ago cover. In the caption, she opened up about her expectations going into this year’s new shoot.

I thought I needed to drop 30 pounds,” the model admitted. “I thought I had to look the same. Then the ice cream called my name.”

Tyra wasn’t afraid to admit that she had been indulging in her favorite treat: “Yep, all flavors. From Butter Pecan to Matcha to Coffee. I love me some ice cream and I just couldn’t say no to it when I heard it calling. ‘TyTy, Come eat me…’ from my mom’s freezer.”

Tyra’s return to modeling has changed the way she looks at the industry, as she explained.

So, this is me in @si_swimsuit today. Ice Screaming from mountain tops, ‘Screw cookie cutter beauty!'” she wrote.

She acknowledged the need to take good care of yourself, but also acknowledged it as a more nuanced process than many think.

“Yes, we should exercise. Stay healthy. Take our vitamins. But sometimes we can give ourselves permission to work out with a scoop of frozen deliciousness in our hands,” she continued.

Tyra signed the post off as #BanX. It’s her new modeling name to go with her new approach to the industry.

Tyra spoke in depth about the name change in a sit-down with Entertainment Tonight.

“Yeah, Banx with an X. Because I want me coming out of retirement to be bigger than me, and for me to represent women to say, enough of this cookie-cutter thing,” she explained.

Tyra hopes this return isn’t about breaking the rules as much as redefining them.

“As much as we’ve progressed with beauty, there’s still a long way to go of opening up the door and redefining what it means, and so that X stands for ‘X what you heard about what beauty means,'” she proudly said.

Tyra hopes the new rules of beauty will be more accepting and inclusive: “We are making a new rule that so many more people can fit into this beauty box. Let’s bust the box open.”

The world-famous supermodel admits that, like anyone else, she has features she struggles with.

“I’m human,” she noted. “I still don’t love the cellulite on my butt. I still know how to twist and turn even during this photo shoot to make sure you don’t see the dimples on my booty, so I still have that. I just don’t linger there, and I celebrate the things that I’m proud of.”

Tyra hopes that by opening an honest dialogue about flaws and imperfections, people can start to see real bodies and appreciate them for what they are.

“I don’t like that my calves are too skinny,” she said. “I don’t like that. I have flat feet. I don’t like that my hands look 20 years older than my face. You know, there’s just things that I don’t like, but I just don’t dwell there. But I’m also very honest and saying I don’t like it, but it’s not the end of the world.”

This momentous SI cover seems to be just the beginning for the model formerly known as Tyra.

Long live BanX!