What I really like about Tyra Banks though is her willingness to tackle the issue of female body image and the media head on. I was thrilled to see her standing up for herself when some tabloid published some really unflattering photos of her in a swimsuit. Instead of whimpering about how mean that was (which I think it was), she put the same suimsuit back on and showed her audience a) that yeah, she's a little bigger than she was in her modeling days but b) i'd still sell a kidney to look that good in a bathing suit and c) tabloids feed us what they think we want to see, regardless of how true or fair it is.
Not only that, she did an interview with People Magazine where she said yeah, I'm 20 pounds heavier than I was when I was walking the runway for Victoria's Secret but that is a standard that is unrealistic in the real world. You know there is something wrong with the way women's bodies are portrayed in the media when a supermodel can't even maintain it when she begins to live like a normal human being. It was oddly liberating to read a Victoria's Secret Angel admitting that her post-modeling body sometimes gets muffin top in a pair of tight jeans.
I already thought her honesty and confidence were so cool and so brave but then today I read that Tyra is recreating her famous SI Swimsuit Issue cover in this year's edition. And she's doing it with her 20 pounds heavier self.
In the AP Radio interview, Banks said she considered going on a crash diet before the Bahamas shoot to look the same as she did 10 years ago, but then thought better of it.
"I think there's more power in embracing what I am now and showcasing that," she said.
As a normal red-blooded American female, I have of course fallen victim to hating my body at different times of my life. I feel lucky that when I started running consistently, I learned that getting strong and healthy and concentrating on what my body was capable of, I became alot less critical of the imperfections. But it can still be tempting to think that if I had thinner thighs or a flatter stomach, life might be just a little bit better. I am glad to have public figures like Ms. Banks who are willing to throw some cold water on that dream and help us realize that what our mom's told us is actually true-it's what's inside that counts. Give me Tyra with muffin top over Paris with no panties anyday.