Tyra Banks made headlines yesterday with an important ‘open letter to models’ in The Daily Beast, supporting the decision by Vogue to ban models who appear to have an eating disorder.
Most news outlets picked up on Tyra’s admission that she probably would have been too “heavy” to get work if she were starting out in modeling today.
But there’s a more vital message further down in Tyra’s letter: urging mothers to “use their power” to help young girls develop healthy and realistic attitudes about body shapes. We’ve reprinted those remarks below.
Very, very wise words from someone who knows what she’s talking about, uses her celebrity purposefully and, as owner of America’s Next Top Model, is in a position to make a difference.
“To moms everywhere, we need to educate our girls not to fall prey to thinspirational images of beauty.
So where do we start? By being very careful about how we talk about our own bodies in front of our daughters. We can show our daughters diverse images of beautiful women: curvy, tall, short, and everything in-between.
Moms, you are the first and most influential role model in your girl’s life. Use that power. Teach her to love herself and everything that makes her unique.
To young girls everywhere, it’s sad that our bodies go in and out of style, just like fashion trends. One season we’re supposed to be a zero, and the next you’re supposed to be a six. Then you’re supposed to have a six-pack, but wait, now you’re supposed to be juicy … with a booty! It makes us feel crazy. Many of you are saying, “What the heck am i supposed to be?” Exactly who you are right now: that’s who you need to be.
There are so many models out there with bodies that aren’t stick figures. There’s Lara Stone, who has unique features like the gap between her front teeth, and she’s not a stick. And I love Doutzen Kroes and Kate Upton’s bodies. They’re softer than most girls these days. Kate Dillon is a gorgeous plus-size model, or, as I like to call her, “fiercely real.”
I’ve been using the word “flawsome” a lot. It’s you + your flaws + awesome = Flawsome. I have a big forehead, and I got made fun of all time. When I was a little girl, they used to call me “five-head.” I’ve been teased my whole life, but I continue to rock it with pride. Years ago one of my agents told me that my forehead was what got me signed.
Now it’s up to you. Take your “flaw,” and turn it on its (fore)head. And never forget that you are fabulous, you are fierce, you are flawsome.”