Tyra Banks Is Creating A Model-Themed Amusement Park In California Called ‘Modelland’

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Tyra Banks just announced that she’s creating a model-themed amusement park, and yes, this is real life.

Tyra’s new theme park will be called ModellandIt will reportedly be a 21,000-square-foot space at a shopping center in Santa Monica, California. The park will feature interactive entertainment, restaurants, shops, and more.

Sure, a modeling theme park might seem a little random. But when you consider that Tyra has tried her hand at everything from hosting a talk show to teaching classes at Stanford, an amusement park isn’t entirely out of the blue.

Tyra says the project has been in the works for the past 10 years. It will finally open to the public in late 2019.

“I’m so excited to let the world know about the Modelland attraction and for them to soon experience and step into their light later this year,” Tyra told Variety.

To be clear, Modelland won’t just be a temporary, pop-up attraction. Tyra plans for it to be a permanent flagship amusement park. Her team plans to add more locations in the future, too.

Fingers crossed that this will be like America’s Next Top Model come to life!

Tyra Banks has dipped her toe into many creative industries over the years, and she’s all about going over the top.

Now she may have finally managed to out-Tyra herself by starting a model-themed amusement park called Modelland.

Modelland is set to open in late 2019. The multilevel 21,000-square-foot space has been in the works for “10 very intense years,” Tyra says.

“I’ve always been insanely inspired by attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios and have wanted to bring that spirit of adventure and storytelling to the world of modeling,” she told Variety. “But not the exclusive modeling industry. I’m talking about modeling for the masses.”

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Sunday Funday, but make it fashion!

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She continued, “Modelland is going to be a place where the modeling world meets fantasy, meets entertainment, meets technology, meets retail, meets dining, meets… your fiercest best self you could ever imagine.”

So what will that look like exactly? Tyra can’t quite go into the details just yet.

“Modelland will be a multi-level ticketed attraction, so there will be different ways in which you can experience it,” she said. “There will be a robust retail offering and experiential dining — not your typical restaurant outing. It will be way beyond that. But that’s all I can say about that for now.”


Though she couldn’t answer the question we’re all dying to know — WHAT TYPE OF RIDES WILL THERE BE? — Tyra did wax poetic about her vision for the purpose of Modelland.

“From the beginning, when creating this attraction, I wanted Modelland to go beyond just a place to go to, but to be a place to feel emotion,” she said. “When people leave Modelland, we want them to feel overjoyed and empowered.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve broken beauty barriers and have expanded the definition of beauty,” she explained. “And now I’m not flying solo; I’ve got a strong Modelland headquarters team. Modelland is not just a place to us; it’s a movement. Yes, it’s an attraction and a destination, but above all, it’s the genesis for people with all types of different beauty to feel seen and validated.”

Importantly, the theme park will not just be for models or aspiring models.

Tyra continued, “Modelland will be for everyone. All ages — Gens from X to the Y to the Z, Millennials, all of them! All genders, families, friend groups and beyond. This isn’t just targeted at models, or model-dreamers.”

This is certainly Tyra’s most ambitious business venture yet, and people on social media had mixed reactions to the news.

Some were skeptical or simply confused. Others asserted that the park could, if properly executed, be “iconic.”

I mean, if anyone’s going to successfully start an over-the-top modeling theme park, it would be Tyra!

Tyra may be keeping the park’s details under wraps, but people are already speculating about what type of rides and attractions could possibly be there — and many can’t help but compare it to Tyra’s classic reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model.

“I wanna see a Tiffany ride! With Tyra screaming to me to be QUIET!” one fan wrote in reference to a famous scene from the show.

“I can’t wait for a smize attraction,” another wrote.

For non-ANTM fans, “smize” is a Tyra-invented word that means to “smile with your eyes.” It’s hard to imagine a Modelland without some type of smizing reference.

In any case, we’ll be eagerly awaiting the reports from the park’s first visitors later this year. Eventually — if all goes according to Tyra’s plan — people all over the world will be able to visit Modelland in a city nearby.

“Macerich’s Santa Monica Place will be our inaugural flagship with strategic plans to open in other major cities across the US,” Tyra said proudly. “And we have a robust strategy to expand globally as well. Yes, it is indeed a franchise.”

Great. Who’s buying tickets?