April 2012

Tyra BanksTyra Banks is a recipient of the 2012 Matrix award and much more. In her own words, "My roles have evolved from supermodel to TV creator, philanthropist, motivational speaker and media mogul and most recently to best-selling author. I'm a work-in-progress and still evolving." 

Proudest moments "It's when I meet a young girl who tells me that something I said or did inspired her to love herself more. I tell young girls, 'Don't believe the hype.' And by that, I mean, don't fall for images you see in the media of women who are 'perfect.' Guess what? They are not. Don't give in to the pressure to look or act like anyone else."

On looks "I'm in the business of redefining exactly what we consider 'looks.' Early in my career, some people told me I was too skinny. And then, as I got older, I was told my body had become too curvy. People will always have opinions about what's considered attractive." 

Listen up "The pressure to have a massive track record of accomplishments can be immense. But it's okay to change things midstream, as long as you listen to your authentic voice — and not your tone-deaf one."

Seed planted "When I was younger, I wanted to work in television and film production. The thought of being a model hadn't even dawned on me: That was a seed other people planted in my head."

Communication matters "It's important that I understand how my various roles impact women. I constantly reexamine my brand and messaging. What's the social impact of my message in the lives of everyday girls? This is a responsibility I don't take lightly."  

Mistaken identity "I have tons of New York stories. Recently, I was walking down the street, and a guy said to me, 'Oh my God, you're Vanessa Williams.' I just smiled and started singing 'Save the Best for Last.' "

 As told to Michelle Lodge