The television personality, producer, entrepreneur and former model Tyra Banks has a long résumé but is probably best known for instructing aspiring models to “smize” (smile with their eyes) on “America’s Next Top Model,” a reality TV series she created and hosts. Her book “Perfect Is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss” will be published in April.
While Banks mostly travels for work, she describes herself as “a master at tacking on pleasure,” commonly adding on vacation days to weeks of intensive shooting abroad. “America’s Next Top Model” has taken contestants around the world, and her favorite was Morocco. “What I love about Marrakech is the people and the earth and the architecture are like the same color. It’s just that beautiful terra cotta color, and it just all blends. The whole town is like a makeup base foundation,” she said.
She describes herself as hotel-obsessed, going so far as to model her own bedroom after a room in the Four Seasons New York. “I used to stay there when I was a Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t think I took pictures back then, but I talked to the interior designer, and I made it as close to that Four Seasons as possible.”
Here’s what she can’t travel without.
“I’m obsessed with Dylan’s Candy Bar, and so I travel with the candy lips because sometimes I get a little motion sick when the plane is taking off or landing, or if I’m on my darn phone in the car. For some reason sugar kind of pulls me out of my motion sickness.”
Ellen DeGeneres sneakers
“When I’m traveling, I don’t wear high-heel boots anymore. I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, the paparazzi might meet me at the airport when I land so I have to look cute.’ I ain’t got time for cute now. My feet are hurting! So I wear sneakers, but Ellen DeGeneres has the cutest sneakers. And they have animals on them. It’s hard to explain, but they have an etching of a dog or a cat, peeking off the sides of the shoes. They are so cute. It’s a way to have a sneaker, and, you know, like a little whimsy and humor with it.”
Her son’s toy
“It’s like a little blanket connected to a giraffe head, and I cuddle with that and I sleep with it. I have two of them so they’re in rotation, so I travel and get it funky and then I come back and I give it to him, and I’m like, ‘That was Mommy!’ and he grabs it and smells it. I know that sounds gross, but there’s always one with me and always one with him, and children really connect to their parents’ scent, so I make sure that it’s on me when I’m on the plane. And then when I come home, I just take the one he had and give him that one, so he immediately has Mommy’s smell again.”
“I’m now into press-on nails. I used to be into gels and sitting in the chair forever and getting your nails done, but they are so good. They don’t look like they did back in the day. They look like you sat in the chair for an hour and a half. But I have to bring extra nails and glue in my purse for the emergency when you’re putting your bag up in your overhead and a nail pops off. I’m not a prissy type of girl, but even that can look a little busted, and so, you know, I have them in my purse with the extra glue and I pop ’em on. You don’t want to get caught out there looking crazy.”
“It’s a blue Fendi tote, and I think it’s called the ‘Monster Bag.’ My agent got it for me because it has eyes on it, and when you unzip the zipper, the inside is red, so it looks like a mouth. She calls it a ‘smizing bag,’ because it looks like the eyes are smizing.”