Tyra Banks Recalls ‘Evil And Awful’ Conflict With Naomi Campbell In Her Early Modeling Career

They were stunning supermodels at the top of their game.

But for Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell there was no love lost.

Banks has spoken out about her rift with Campbell in her early modeling career. Speaking toThe Wall Street Journal, the America’s Next Top Model creator recalled how the British model “was doing everything in her power to make [her] go away”.

However, Banks wouldn’t refer to Campbell as a rival. But rather that the established supermodel made her feel unwelcome when she first entered the fashion industry.

Tyra Banks Recalls 'Evil And Awful' Conflict With Naomi Campbell In Her Early Modeling Career

“It wasn’t a rivalry,” Banks clarified. “I’m very sensitive to that word because a rivalry is between two equals to me whereas one was very dominant, she was a supermodel, and I was just this new girl that had got on a plane from Paris and was studying fashion and magazines.”

Banks admitted her early days as an up and coming model in Paris were “very painful” due to Campbell.

“As much as I was booking fashion shows, people didn’t know I was going home at night crying my eyes out because the woman I was looking up to seemed like she just didn’t want me to be there and was doing everything in her power to make me go away,” she said.


At the time the mom-of-one believed her idol was “evil” and found the situation “awful.”

But looking back on it as an adult, the Banks now understands that Campbell “was reacting to an industry that was all about a token”.

“And 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,” she went on to say.

“But when I came on the scene – Naomi, look out! There’s a black girl that’s going to take your spot…Only one spot available.”

Banks went on to make an interesting point, explaining that nobody pitted Kate Moss against Christy Turlington when she first emerged on the modeling scene. “They weren’t like, look out, another brunette is on the loose,” Banks said.

In 2005, Banks invited Campbell on her then-talk show, The Tyra Banks Show. The duo spent the entire show discussing their rivalry and the two called a truce. 

In 2013, Campbell praised Banks in an interview with ELLE, telling the publication: “I’m proud of her as a woman of colour. She’s given girls opportunity, and God bless her.”

Written by Christine Haveford

Christine loves all things cinema, and she's been that way ever since she was a little girl. In fact, she is so passionate about cinema that she decided to pursue cinematography as a full-time career, and is now pursuing film studies at the New York Film School. Originally from Florida, she is still exploring the new city, people, places, and the culture, loves the new weather, going ice skating during winters, and spending time with her fellow classmates and friends from college.

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