What Really Started Tyra Banks And Naomi Campbell's Feud

Supermodels Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell have built legacies in the fashion world that have opened doors for other Black women in the industry. Campbell's catwalk is legendary, and she's served as the face of high-fashion campaigns since the 1990s. Tyra Banks became the first Black woman to appear solo on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and she launched America's Next Top Model, which ran for 24 seasons. Both women are industry leaders who paved the way for other female models, entertainers, and entrepreneurs — but not without some drama along the way.

When asked about her feud with Campbell, Banks was blunt with The Wall Street Journal in 2019. "It wasn't a rivalry," she said. "And I'm very sensitive to that word because a rivalry is with two equals to me, where one was very dominant. 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." Banks said those "early days in Paris" were "painful" because Campbell bullied her.

"People didn't know I was going home at night crying my eyes out because a woman 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," said Banks. But why?

You're about to find out.

Tyra Banks says the industry pits models against each other

In her 2019 interview with The Wall Street Journal, former Victoria's Secret model Tyra Banks reflected on her feud with supermodel Naomi Campbell. Banks explained what the industry was like for two Black women growing up in the modeling realm.

"I didn't understand that as a young girl, like why is she doing this? This is so evil. This is so awful," said Banks, who alleges Campbell bullied her on shoots. "The adult me understands that she was reacting to an industry that was all about a token. When I came on the scene, 'Naomi look out, there's another Black girl that's going to take your spot.'"

Banks was alluding to fashions' elite pitting the two against each other by convincing Campbell that Banks was out to take her spot on top. In 2016, Banks told Norwegian/Swedish talk show Skavlan (per People) that people would essentially say: "'Oh, look out Naomi Campbell, here comes Tyra Banks! So Naomi Campbell, sit your butt down.'"

Naomi Cambell says 'she's proud to know' Tyra Banks

Nearly three decades have passed since those tense early days between Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, but Banks admits she is still "very scared" of Campbell. Banks told the Norwegian/Swedish talk show Skavlan that working alongside Campbell was "very difficult — like some of the lowest times of my life..." (via People).

Campbell, however, tried to put the past to rest during an episode of Watch What Happens Live in 2013. Speaking to host Andy Cohen, Campbell focused on her eventual friendship with Banks. "It does irk me that two women of color have to be pitted against each other," she said (via Harper's Bazaar). "You can have more than one woman of color in a fashion show. Unfortunately, back then, you could only have one so the other felt ... put out."

Campbell added, "I'm very proud of Tyra and what she's done with America's Next Top Model. I'm proud to know her."

How Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks ended the feud

How do two competing supermodels make-up after years of being pitted against one another? According to Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, it takes a good long talk.

Although they may have spent their teens and early twenties feuding backstage on designer shoots and at runway shows, the models got together in 2005 for a sit-down on The Tyra Banks Show to finally settle their differences once and for all.

In the episode (via People), Banks told viewers, "one of the biggest wishes that I've ever had has come true. I had a conversation with Naomi Campbell." Banks said she had "made peace with Naomi Campbell" because "sisterhood is so important" to her. The America's Next Top Model creator continued (via E! News), "I got a lot of answers and it has started my healing from all of the devastating rumors and gossip and rivalry and pain that I've experienced. I've started to heal and I think Naomi has, too."