Tyra Banks is expanding her empire yet again, with the model-turned-mogul announcing plans to open a new modelling attraction in Santa Monica Place.
The park will be called Modelland, after Banks' 2010 book of the same name, which was a young adult novel based on her life and modeling career. It will be housed in a multi-level 21,000 sq. ft space in an open-air shopping center and will include retail shops, dining destinations, interactive entertainment and more.
Banks told Variety that the project has been in the works for 10 years and is another way of achieving her goal of bringing modeling to the general public.
“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 explained. “But not the exclusive modeling industry. I’m talking about modeling for the masses.”
The public will be able to purchase tickets to the attraction, which will be permanent and is scheduled to open in late 2019. Banks added that she intends for the Santa Monica location to act as a flagship, with plans to open franchise locations in major U.S. cities.
"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," Banks explained. "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. You have to go there, you have to be part of it and you have to interact and focus on yourself. It’s all about you."
"All types of beauty — men and women, young and older — are invited to transform into the dream version of themselves," she added. "When people leave Modelland, we want them to feel overjoyed and empowered."
Banks began her career as a model in the '90s, quickly becoming a household name and one of the highest-paid models in the industry after landing work with Victoria's Secret. She launched the reality show America's Next Top Model in 2003, and the show is still on the air and is one of the longest-running unscripted formats in TV history. In 2005, she premiered her talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, and has acted in numerous television shows and movies.
She also founded her own production company and a cosmetics brand and written multiple book, and in 2016, Banks accepted a spot as a guest lecturer at Stanford University.
"Throughout my career, I’ve broken beauty barriers and have expanded the definition of beauty," Banks said. "I was the first African-American model to be featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the first female model on the cover of GQ and the first black woman on Victoria’s Secret catalogue. With ANTM, I challenged industry standards in size, height and age. And, I’m not done — not even close."
Photo Credit: Getty / Nick Agro