When Tyra Banks was 11, doctors misdiagnosed her with a major illness...
Tyra Banks is not one to keep her self-doubt a secret.
When the supermodel and her mother, Carolyn London, launched a programme in 1999 to mentor young girls – the TZONE Foundation – Banks realised the importance of sharing the insecurities she experienced while growing up.
“The summer I turned 11 years old, I lost 13kg. And I had a growth spurt,” Banks, 40, told People in the latest issue. “And it wasn’t even supermodel thin. It was more than that. Some people thought I had an eating disorder.”
“There was nothing I could do to gain weight,” she was quoted as saying. “It was in the 1980s during the Ethiopian famine, and I got a lot of comments.”
She told People that she had to visit the doctor repeatedly. She said she was even misdiagnosed with gigantism.
Gigantism is a condition characterised by excessive growth and height significantly above average
Gradually, as she grew up, she started to gain weight and fill out.
“Who would have thought that the girl who was forced to go to the hospital because she’s so skinny would one day be called too fat?” says Banks. “I know the pain of somebody who’s too thin and the pain of somebody that people say is too big.”
“That 11-year-old girl always lives inside of me,” says Banks, who works with young women on everything from self-esteem to the importance of elocution and entrepreneurship.
She said: “I show them un-retouched photos of myself. They’re like, ‘Whoa.’ But I tell them the truth. I want every girl to find their own beauty.”