Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell both have long-lasting, influential careers that opened doors for many Black and brown girls behind them in the model industry. But there was a point in time when the supermodels didn’t see eye to eye.
Tyra recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss an array of topics and her past feud with Naomi, revealing that she doesn’t even consider it a “rivalry.”
“It wasn’t a rivalry, and I’m very sensitive to that word because a rivalry is with two equals to me, whereas one was very dominant,” Tyra explained, as seen in the video below. “She was a supermodel and I was just some new girl that got on a plane from Paris, and was studying fashion in magazines at a fashion library. I had a very painful early days in Paris. As much as I was booking every single fashion show, people didn’t know I was going home at night crying my eyes out because a woman that I was looking up to seemed like she just didn’t want me to be there, and was doing everything in her power to make me go away.”
She explained that she didn’t understand why Campbell behaved the way she did at the time, but she now understands the industry was pitting them against each other.
The adult me understands that she was reacting to an industry that was all about a token,” she said. “But when I came on the scene — Naomi, look out! There’s a black girl that’s going to take your spot … Only one spot available.”