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Stuff for the Teen Age

Take me to Modelland: Teen Live with Tyra Banks


TeenLIVE presents Tyra Banks — Tyra's "Modelland" Book Tour: A Fierce Experience!
September 24, 2011

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Leave it to the queen of modeling, Tyra Banks, to get over 300 teens to show off their favorite poses in the middle of the Bartos Forum in the Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. The room was filled with teens arching their backs in their fiercest high fashion poses. Smizing was a must! The group then went on to catalog posing where they had the wind in their hair and fake surprised faces that expressed their model-happiness with a chorus of, “Ahh!” One fan even felt so inclined to jump up there with Tyra and profess her love for the model turned reality star turned mogul turned young adult novelist. Yes, leave it to the amazing Tyra Banks to entrance all those who stand before her and have them hang on to her every word (and pose!)

Modelland, written by Ms. Banks, is the first novel in a young adult fantasy trilogy. The book centers on Tookie De La Crème: the outcast of her school and family. Tookie comes from a world where fashion, consumerism and beauty come first. The dream of almost every girl in Metopia (Tookie’s hometown) is to be chosen by a scout on the Day of Destiny to go to the model academy and gain recognition as a powerful Intoxibella. With a beautiful younger sister and a mother obsessed with vanity Tookie, gawky and not your normal beauty, never would have thought that she would have been chosen to go to Modelland.

Tyra drew inspiration from her own life as a tall, skinny, big foreheaded awkward girl while writing the character. “They say write what you know,” Tyra professed to the crowd. “So I wrote about my life and I just put it into a character named Tookie De La Crème.” Many tough subjects are contained in Modelland that teens may be dealing with today. Although Tyra admits that the book has its campy moments, subjects like body image, cutting, low self-esteem and alcoholism are all mixed into Modelland’s story. Not all sides of modeling are pretty.

It took Tyra five years to write Modelland. Much of her time was spent in the Rose Main Reading Room of the Schwarzman Building where she would delve deep into the world she created and write and write and write. Tyra spent her time at TeenLive talking to the audience about her project, reading a sample of the first chapter of the book and even jumping into the crowd to answer questions. She spoke about her personal highs (creating the world renowned brand of Top Model) and her lows which she admits was her quick stint in music. Tyra Banks was open and candid at TeenLive and is an unstoppable force. She has so much energy that she can capture a crowd with the simple shift of her smize! Tyra invented that you know!

For further fashionable reading:


  • Glamour - Melody Carlson
    Join two sisters in the fifth installment of the “On the Runway” series as they make their way through the toils and drama of the fashion world.
  • A Girl Like Moi - Lisa Barham
    Sixteen-year-old fashionista Imogen is obsessed with the world of high couture. In order to stay in that world she must get job! See if she gets her foot in the door (and the heel) in the first volume of this delightful series.
  • The Celebutantes: On the Avenue - Antonio Pagliarulo
    You would think that life would be easy if you were rich and famous, but maybe not! The New York inspired triplets Lexington, Park and Madison find themselves dealing with paparazzi and all sorts of fashion mysteries in the first book of “The Celebutantes” series.
  • Where I Belong - Gillian Cross
    In order to save her kidnapped brother’s life Khadija must earn the money to set him free by strutting her stuff on the catwalk in London Fashion week. She grapples with fitting in this new and unusual world and wondering who she can trust in this time of hardship.

Style Guides


  • A.L.T.: A Memoir - Andre’ Leon Talley
    You may know him as one of the head judges on America’s Next Top Model, but this man has been all over the world experiencing and influencing fashion. Read about what has inspired and helped him to achieve his position as Editor-at-Large at Vogue and fashionista extraordinaire.
  • Influence - Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen
    Through photos, quotes and writing explore what keeps Olsen Twins’ inspired in their lives of show business and fashion.
  • Coco Chanel - Ann Gaines
    Check out this biography of one of fashion’s most influential Parisian designers.


  • Project Runway
    Are you in or are you out? Talented designers compete to see whose fashion will walk the runway in Bryant Park and win the title as the next great American fashion designer.
  • Zoolander
    Ben Stiller stars as Derek Zoolander - the best male model in the world. All that changes when an archrival swoops in to take his spot on top. Don’t forget to work Derek’s most famous pose: Blue Steel!
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    Making it in the New York can be hard when you get your first journalism job at a high fashion magazine. Of course if you’re Andy Sachs, know nothing about the subject and have a boss that rivals Satan for most evil things can go wrong in an instant. See if Andy has what it takes to fit in with the fashion elite without falling flat on her face in her career and personal life.
  • The September Issue
    Vogue is the number one magazine for high fashion looks and setting trends. Watch this documentary to find out how some of fashion’s most critical eyes create their largest issue of the year.
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic
    Rebecca is a recent college grad who has a serious addiction… to shopping. She has to get a job to get her out of the immense debt she has so fashionably buried herself in. She takes a position at a financial magazine and realizes that faking her way to her next paycheck may be harder than she thought.
  • Gossip Girl
    Although this teen drama focuses on the colorful lives of young socialites in New York City it is their fashion sense that really brightens up the screen. Are you a Blair or a Serena? Watch to find out!


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