The Real Reason Tyra Banks Got Fired From Victoria's Secret

Tyra Banks has made herself a household name by hosting and co-creating the hit reality show "America's Next Top Model" for more than a decade. She also added being crowned the new host of ABC's celebrity dancing competition "Dancing With The Stars" in 2020 to her long list of accomplishments — replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews who hosted for 28 seasons, per ET. Although some "DWTS" viewers aren't pleased that Banks, a former Victoria's Secret Angel, has taken over, she does have an impressive career in the entertainment industry that spans several decades, per IMDb — largely making her fit for primetime television.

In 1991, after graduating high school, Banks began to storm the fashion world and landed multiple gigs at her first runway season during Paris Fashion Week, Biography notes. Although her experiences have gotten the supermodel where she is today, Banks has had to overcome some obstacles and discrimination that she faced early on in her career — like when a famous lingerie brand "sent [her] home" shortly after landing her first gig.

An issue with hairstyling cost Banks the gig

When Tyra Banks first broke into the modeling industry in her early 20s, she also broke boundaries and went after what she deserved. The supermodel revealed that early in her career, she was fired from her first modeling job with lingerie brand Victoria's Secret because: "The hairdresser did not know what to do with my hair," per Yahoo!. "[The hairdresser] was spraying water and putting heat and all kinds of stuff, and it was just a frizzy mess. Had no idea what to do with my hair texture. And I get on the set, and they sent me home because my hair looked bad."

After losing an opportunity at Victoria's Secret because of her naturally textured hair, the "America's Next Top Model" host "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." By focusing on her own style and needs, Banks eventually became a boundary-breaking model who opened opportunities that were "crucial so that a door can be opened for others to fit through," per her Instagram.

How Tyra Banks broke boundaries becoming a Victoria's Secret model

Supermodel, producer and actress Tyra Banks was determined to find a way around the discrimination she faced when getting fired from lingerie brand, Victoria's Secret, so she "begged [her] agent" for another shot, according to a 2018 W Magazine interview. "Within a 10 year span starting in 1995, I was the first Black @VictoriasSecret contract model ever. The first Black Victoria's Secret Cover model. The first Black VS model to do so many other groundbreaking things with the brand – as well as other brands," she wrote in a June 2021 Instagram post. 

Banks said everything changed for her career when she "stopped silently suffering" and began to speak up for what she needed, like hairstylists who actually knew how to properly style her hair type, per W Magazine. When she had the opportunity to try out for the popular brand again, the model hired her own hair stylist beforehand, claiming she didn't let the ones hired at Victoria's Secret touch her hair prior to the audition. When she excelled her second time around with her own glam squad, Banks claims it "was the last time" she ever had to hire her own team when working with the bra brand — telling the brands team, "'Look, my hair is different, I need somebody who can do my hair.' After that, they hired people who could do my hair," for her 10 years as an angel.