Tyra Banks was sent home from her first day with lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret because the stylist didn’t know what do with her African/American hair.
The 44-year-old catwalk legend was the first African/American model to land a contract with the lingerie giant and become an Angel.
But the opportunity was almost snatched from her because on her first day the stylist couldn’t work with her natural hair and she walked for bosses looking far from her best.
However, Tyra took matters into her own hands for a second audition and got her hair styled before she tried out again.
Speaking to W magazine, she revealed: “I was sent home the first day because the hairdresser didn’t know what to do with my African American hair, so it looked crazy. Then a year later, I finally begged my agent to get them to give me another chance, and I had my hairdresser come to my apartment in Union Square and wash, blow-dry, and flat-iron my hair. And then I wrapped it and put a scarf on until the next day, when I was on my way to Victoria’s Secret and stepped out of a cab and whooshed it off my head, walked in, got my makeup done, didn’t let the hair people touch me, went to the bathroom, redid my face, put on extra lip gloss, and walked on that set.”
After landing a contract with Victoria’s Secret in 1997, Tyra went on to become one of the company’s most successful models and was given the honour of wearing the Fantasy Bra in the annual show in her first year and again in 2004.
Tyra believes her time with Victoria’s Secret was so successful because she was prepared to smash the status quo and push herself within the company.
She said: “I’m the first black woman to have a contract, to be an Angel, to wear a Fantasy Bra – all of these different things, because I stopped silently suffering. And I do have to take my hat off to Victoria’s Secret, because that was the last time I ever had to do that. I talked to them and said, ‘Look, my hair is different, I need somebody who can do my hair.’ After that, they hired people who could do my hair for 10 years.”