Tyra Banks opens up about her new business venture
Digital Cover HOLA! USA

Tyra Banks opens up about family, life, and her new business venture

The trailblazer is getting ready to build a new business empire, a long-standing dream that is now a reality

Tyra Banks is the ultimate powerhouse. She is a multifaceted talent and force who has widely diversified her career. Banks is a supermodel, producer, Emmy Award-winning talk show host, mother and businesswoman that continues to conquer new challenges.

Only 47 years old, the California native has one of the most impressive resumes in the entertainment and fashion industry. In 1991, Banks debuted at Paris Fashion Week, and later appeared on the covers of many magazines, including Elle and Harper‘s Bazaar. Her success skyrocketed so quickly that she became one of only a few Black models to achieve Supermodel status. After decades of hard work and an unparalleled career, the multidimensional star can truly be described as a trailblazer.

Younger generations might know Banks for being the one who blessed the world with her creation America‘s Next Top Model and introduced audiences to her ‘SMiZE’, a Banks original coinage, meaning to smile with one’s eyes. But Tyra Banks is more than that!

ABC just confirmed that Banks will return as the host of Dancing With The Stars for season 30. This marks Banks‘ second season as host as well as Derek Hough’s second season as a judge.

Those who have been following her 30 year career have witnessed in real-time how she became the first Black woman on the covers of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and GQ. To put it simply, Banks was the first female model to ever grace the cover of GQ. And luckily for us, the now actress and writer is the first American model launching an ice cream company — say what?

The businesswoman is in the early stages of building an ice cream empire, a dream she has had for years, and now it is a reality. SMiZE Cream is a ‘super-premium ice cream.’ The newly launched treat also comes with a “hidden, yummy SMiZE Surprize.”

Curious about Banks’ new creamy, rich, comforting, and unique business venture, we decided to go after the biggest scoop and virtually sit down with her to learn more about her extraordinary life and company. Don’t miss this exclusive chat Tyra Banks had with HOLA! USA.

Tyra Banks Digital Cover HOLA! USA©Hola
Custom made gold sequin evening gown with spikes by Coco Johnsen | Co-producer and Stylist: Ty-Ron Mayes | Photo: Udo Spreitzenbarth

The world is going through a challenging time; therefore, more than ever, it is imperative to ask how are you and your family?

We are trying to be as safe as possible. In many ways, our lives now are our new normal. Getting in the car and ordering takeout food to pick up is now a special outing for our family. We eat in the car as a family together, talk and laugh. That simple act gives us pure joy.

“I’ve always been OBSESSED with ice cream. My great-grandmother used to hand-crank super-rich, homemade vanilla ice cream when I was a little girl.”

Unique, sweet, and exciting things are happening in your career. First, you blessed the world by coining the term “SMiZE,” and very soon, we are going to be able to “eat it.” Tell us about your new company.

I’ve always loved ice cream. Or shall I say, I’ve always been OBSESSED with ice cream. My great-grandmother used to hand-crank super-rich, homemade vanilla ice cream when I was a little girl. It was so smooth and creamy. I remember her using the huge rock salt around the basin and seeing her hands go round and round...spinning and spinning...until she produced the richest ice cream flavor I’ve ever tasted.

Ice cream is a great life memory for you!

When I was in high school, my mom and I would drive to the ice cream shop and order our faves and sit in the car and talk about everything. These memories are precious to me. I wanted to create special happy memories for people. Plus, Oxford journals have reported that ice cream does indeed make us happy! It was found that the Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) which is a part of the brain that plays a big role in emotional processing and decision making. It is activated when eating ice cream. The OFC showed a very positive emotional response when eating ice cream, almost like the brain was being rewarded! Wow, right?!

“I teach branding at Stanford Business School and always tell my students that different is better than better.”

When did you realize you wanted to venture into the ice cream business?

15 years ago I was going to start an ice cream company. I had a strong business plan and a great partner. I decided to focus on my talk show at the time as it was starting the same time. So I put away my ice cream idea safe in a drawer and today...voila!

Your brand emphasizes the “super-premium ice cream”. What did you do differently to take one of life’s little pleasures from ordinary to extraordinary?

Super-premium ice cream is rich and dense. To be considered super-premium, in addition to complying with certain butterfat percentages, the ice cream needs an overrun of less than 50%. Ice cream overrun refers to the amount of air pushed into the ice cream while it is being made. Less air. More delectable. But just super premium was not enough for me. I teach branding at Stanford Business School and always tell my students that different is better than better. So each serving of SMiZE Cream has a hidden, yummy, chunkalicious surprise - we call it the “The SMiZE Surprize”. The SMiZE Surprize is a HUGE Cookie Dough truffle treat hidden in every serving of SMiZE Cream. And it’s covered in gourmet white chocolate! The SMiZE SURPRIZE will update and change overtime. We’ll always keep you guessing. Our tagline is “Dig, Baby, Dig”. That means to dig for that tasty SURPRIZE but also to dig for your goals. An ice cream with a message!

Tyra Banks Digital Cover HOLA! USA©Hola
Tyra Banks in a gold sequin minidress by Carlos Miele| Co-producer and Stylist: Ty-Ron Mayes | Photo: Udo Spreitzenbarth

If Tyra Banks was an ice cream flavor, what would it be and why?

I’d be SMiZE Cream’s “Strawberry BirthYAY! Cake”. I like to mashup things. Words. Ideas. Innovation is everything to me. I also like to celebrate. People. Ideas. New things.

“I have always been about GOAL SETTING & GOAL GETTING. We want to empower our community to dream big and to help them make their dreams come true. From coaching, to public speaking, to business plans and vision boards, we will help them find their way.”
Tyra Banks Digital Cover HOLA! USA©Hola
Custom made gold sequin evening gown with spikes by Coco Johnsen| Co-producer and Stylist: Ty-Ron Mayes | Photo: Udo Spreitzenbarth

We know you always keep yourself busy. How did you juggle being a mom, building SMiZE Cream and running an entertainment empire while hosting Dancing With The Stars?

My family helps. My mom lives with us and her help and love is epic! She’s our rock. I truly understand why so many cultures have extended families all living under one roof. There is power, support and even more love when we are together!

Speaking of DWTS, as an executive producer, could you give us a hint if there would be a Season 30?

I believe that answer is....YES!

Tyra Banks Digital Cover HOLA! USA©Hola
Tyra Banks is golden in this gold sequin minidress by Carlos Miele| Co-producer and Stylist: Ty-Ron Mayes | Photo: Udo Spreitzenbarth

As a creative, you are always thinking of new ways to surprise your fans. Once you officially drop SMiZE Cream, do you have other plans to keep expanding your portfolio?

We at SMiZE Cream have amazing plans for the company and our customers even beyond ice cream. SMiZE Cream is an entertainment company as well and will not just delight your tummies, but will immerse you in limitless ways of surprising fun. And my production company is producing more television and film. Super electrifying programs and projects ahead! Many where you’ll be like, “Wow, Tyra’s producing a show about THAT?! That’s so unexpected. But so exciting!”

Please send a message to the Hispanic, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx communities that love and respect you so much.

We are all in this together. Brown and Black is beyond beautiful. We must continue to remember how extraordinary we are. ¡Yo te quiero mucho!


Credits
Photos: Udo Spreitzenbarth @udophotography
Stylist and Creative Director: Ty-Ron Mayes @stylisttyronmayes
Retouches: Massimo Campana
Makeup: Valente Frazier
Hair: Sher Rae
Manicure: Fleury Rose
Co-producer: Oscar Reyes
Assistant Photo: Cooper Penn
Wardrobe: Coco Johnsen and Carlos Miele
Coordinator: Wendell Figueroa

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