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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Tyra Banks Speaks Out

Aired January 29, 2007 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYRA BANKS, SUPERMODEL & TV HOST: What does that feel like, to be so scrutinized by your principal, being...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Tyra Banks and "F" word. From supermodel to media mogul, she's living large, some say too large.

Is putting on 30 pounds just too much for a former fashion model?

Now, Tyra takes on the critics and tabloids who have been mocking her and gives us the skinny on the weight gain that's got everybody buzzing.

She'll take your calls and e-mail questions, too.

Tyra Banks for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Starting another night, another week of LARRY KING LIVE.

We welcome Tyra Banks to this program.

She's the host of "The Tyra Banks Show," a syndicated daytime talk show now in its second hit season. It reaches 98 percent of the United States.

She's also a host and executive producer of "America's Next Top Model," the hit TV reality show that kicks off its eighth cycle next month. She's on the cover of the new "People," which we have right here.

How do you feel about the headline? "You Call This Fat?" what -- what started all of this?

BANKS: You know what I think -- I think what started it all is me being in Australia. I was doing a photo shoot in Australia about a month, I guess, ago. And there was some paparazzi that that snapped some photos of me.

And I didn't -- I didn't know that there were going to be these photos that were coming out. But I get back home and I'm getting these messages from people that are telling me like what's up with these pictures? Like, what is that? I just saw you, you know, two weeks ago. What's going on?

So I Googled myself. Actually, I Googled "Tyra fat," Larry. I Googled "Tyra fat" and...

KING: "Tyra fat?"

BANKS: "Tyra fat," yes, because I...

KING: What came up?

BANKS: Because I Googled my normal name first and it, you know, it was just some other stuff. So I Googled "Tyra fat" and actually, that photo didn't even come up. Some photos of me on the Victoria's Secret runway came up, saying that I was fat on that.

And then as I scrolled down, those came up.

KING: Now, Tyra is going to confront your fat tabloid picture on your daytime talk show, I think on Thursday.

BANKS: February 1st.

KING: Right.

Let's take a preview look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

BANKS: As of today's taping, this photo was taken three weeks ago. And just so you know, the day of my panty party, I weighed 150 pounds. But the holidays rolled around and today I weigh 160 pounds. So that is 10 pounds that I have gained, not 40. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, you've gained 10 pounds you say there, not 40?

BANKS: Yes. I've gained 10 pounds since I've retired from modeling, as well, not 30. When everyone is saying that I've gained 30 pounds, I always say that I used to be 30 pounds lighter when I was a "high fashion" model, like modeling in Paris and Milan.

KING: "Vogue" stuff?

BANKS: "Vogue" stuff.

But doing Victoria's Secret, I was always in the 150s.

KING: So your weight fluctuates all the time now?

BANKS: It fluctuates, yes, around 10, 12 pounds.

KING: Were those pictures embarrassing to you?

BANKS: You know, it wasn't that it was embarrassing, because it's -- I don't think it's a reflection of what my body is right now, although I do think one day it will be a reflection of my body, because I like to eat. I'm not obsessed with working out. So it wasn't so much of an embarrassment, it was just like what is that? And it saddened me because I felt there was such a rejoicing. But I think I understand it. For so many years I was this high fashion model and, you know, putting this image out there that's so difficult to live up to.

And so then these pictures come out and it's like oh, wow!, you know, look at her. She's...

KING: Got you.

BANKS: Got you. And it's like no, that's not a reflection of my body. But if it was I'd come out and say yes, you guys, that's me. But for it to not be is the thing that's so crazy. And for them to say, you know, all these negative things, I have a show, "The Tyra Banks Show," with so many girls that -- that are -- that do have that body or that are even heavier than that, you know, look up to me. And they say Tyra, you weigh 30 pounds heavier than those models that are on the runway right now and you make me feel beautiful. I look at your body and I feel beautiful.

So when the tabloids are saying that that's ugly, that's disgusting, that makes me think of my audience.

KING: Why let tabloids bother you?

BANKS: You know what?

KING: They come and they go.

BANKS: They come and they go, But I think that I have a responsibility. I've dedicated this part of -- the first part of my life was about myself.

How many magazine covers can I get? How many fashion shows can I walk down? You know, how many of this, how many of that?

But this next part of my life is not so much about self- gratification. It's about me using this platform that I have, this talk show that I have, to encourage young women.

Larry, I have women crying their eyes out to me, telling me that they want to hurt themselves because of how they look, because they're getting talked about. So I felt like I needed to say something.

KING: But on the tabloid side, to take their side, they took those pictures. They are you.

BANKS: Um-hmm.

KING: It turned into a good story for them.

BANKS: It's a great story for them.

KING: So give them that, right?

BANKS: I think it's a fabulous story, you know? And what I say is that those pictures are the best thing that happened to me...

KING: Why?

BANKS: ... in terms of being a talk show host.

KING: Because?

BANKS: Because when something happens to you it gives you even more chutzpah to talk about something because you feel it. You feel it personally. For instance -- and I think about like mothers that have -- that their children have gone through some type of -- something negative. And then they get on a platform and join an organization and are the spokesperson for that organization because it happened to them.

So this is not me, you know, putting on -- because on my talk show I put on, you know, a 350-pound suit to show the discrimination that obese people have. That suit comes off. People know that that's not me, no matter what I say, you know, me being here now, sitting how I'm sitting, you know, with the body that I've had for the last I don't know how long, no matter what I say, people are still going to believe that photo was me.

And so I feel like I need to talk about that and tell people that even if that was me, that's not ugly. It's not awful. It's not disgusting.

KING: How tall are you?

BANKS: I'm 5'10."

KING: Now, according to "People," your biggest source of figure angst is your bust size.

BANKS: Yes, it is.

KING: Do you have large busts for a fashion model?

BANKS: Yes. Even when I -- when I was a fashion model I was around a -- I feel so strange talking to you about bust size right now.

KING: Why?

BANKS: Because it's like we're talk -- I don't know. It's just -- I don't know. You know, we have this -- we have this paternal thing and we're talking about busts. But...

KING: OK, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BANKS: But when I was a model, I was around a cup -- a C cup. And now I'm a little bit bigger than a D. I don't like to say what it is but I...

KING: Yes, so you would not be a "Vogue" model today, right?

BANKS: No, there's no way I don't think. No.

KING: Why don't they want well-busted women?

BANKS: Well-busted women? Well, you know, when I was a fashion model, a high fashion model -- this was like 15 years ago -- certain designers would bind my breasts down with Ace bandages.

KING: But why? Why is that?

BANKS: Because it didn't fit the clothes. They -- they made clothes that were a certain size and it didn't fit in my chest. But yet and still, they wanted me in their fashion show and they wanted me in the show so bad that they bound my chest.

KING: When you were on the cover of "Sports Illustrated," I think two issues in a row, right?

BANKS: Yes.

KING: What then were you weighing?

BANKS: When I was on "S.I." I might have been around 140 -- and, 140, 145. And the crazy thing was that people, you know, in the high fashion industry were telling me that I was heavy. So I walked on the set of that -- of that shoot and I was thinking that I was heavy. And then I saw the Polaroids, you know, the photographer takes Polaroids that day, and I was like I'm crazy. They're getting into my head.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Doug in South Gate, Michigan: "Why is it you saw nothing wrong with pushing thin is in upon the American public as long as you are, but as soon as you began to put on a few pounds, suddenly fat is where it's at? Isn't this hypocritical?"

BANKS: I have, from day one, been a model that has been very honest. I've been a model that has been heavier, Doug, than the average model. When I was a Victoria's Secret model, I was 30 pounds heavier than those women. The thing is -- and I would talk about it on talk shows all the time.

But the difference back then was I was a fashion model. So all you guys really cared about was my pictures. You didn't care about what came out of my mouth.

So me stating the same thing and having a platform of a talk show and people being more interested in what I have to say, it gets a lot more attention.

I wrote a book, Larry, about eight years ago called "Tyra's Beauty Inside and Out." And I talk about body image and about people saying that I was too big and crying to my mother about being too big and trying to push models that are not super skinny.

"America's Next Top Model," I've tried to have plus size models and girls that are fuller. So this is not something coming out of the blue. People are just listening. KING: Coming up a little later on the show, the skeleton syndrome.

Is young Hollywood getting too thin?

Tyra gives us her take on the new waif look, or should it be called the wafer thin look?

As we go to break, the day Tyra and her studio audience did some undie-cover work.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THEY TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

BANKS: And if we're going to be talking about underwear today, I think we've got to see what we're working with. For example, I've got on some underwear today and I think they make me feel pretty fantastic. In fact, I'm going to show you how fantastic my underwear make me feel.

(TAKES OFF HER OUTER CLOTHING)

BANKS: Everybody, on the count of one, two, three, I want you to lose those under the canopy robes right now.

Freedom them underwear, everybody!

Free them! Free them! Free them!

Because today -- today is a fannie corner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THEY TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

NICOLE RICHIE: It's hot outside. It's summer.

BANKS: No doubt. No doubt.

RICHIE: At every -- every place to go be, like, you obviously eat outside. So if I eat outside, it's I'm eating for the cameras, you know what I mean?

BANKS: Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RICHIE: And it's just like...

BANKS: That's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RICHIE: And it's like no, I'm not eating for the cameras. I live in L.A. and I'm doing what I normally do and just like let me be. Where it really bothers me -- and this happens all the time -- is when I go to the beach, because when I go to the beach...

BANKS: They want you on the swimsuit.

RICHIE: They want me in the swimsuit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is that part of being young and pretty?

BANKS: What, being followed by the paparazzi?

KING: Yes.

BANKS: I think with Nicole's issue it's different. You know, it was her drastic weight change. She had a very big drastic weight change. And I've spoken to "Us Weekly," actually about it. I had them on my talk show, because I kind of confronted them to say why put so much emphasis on this girl and say that she's a fashion icon now, when she's super, super thin and you weren't saying that when she had a more curvy figure?

And that was his response, was that, you know -- I don't know what his response was, but I...

KING: Wait. I'm a little lost.

Isn't -- wouldn't most women desire a curvy figure?

BANKS: You know, I...

KING: Isn't curvy good?

BANKS: You know, the sad thing is I used to speak at colleges. I was on a college lecture circuit. And I spoke at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown and UCLA and various other colleges. And I talked about how the female body goes in and out of fashion, the different types of bodies. In the 50s, it was Marilyn Monroe, you know, curvaceous, size 14.

In the '60s it was Twiggy. You know, she was very, very thin, naturally thin, but very, very thin.

And in the '80s it was more athletic.

And then the '90s was kind of heroin chic.

And then now it's even beyond that. They were calling Kate Moss skinny in the '90s. These girls are way skinnier than her.

KING: How about just Charlize Theron?

BANKS: Gorgeous body.

KING: All right, why can't that be the '60s, '70s and '80s? Why can't everybody just be that -- that be the model?

BANKS: You know what?

That type of body type was the type of body type that was when I was modeling. But people still said that models were too thin.

KING: One other thing on busts.

Did you consider breast reduction surgery?

BANKS: No. You know what? I never considered that because it would leave too much scarring. That's -- and I'm answering you very honestly. That's something I've thought about. I look at young women that, you know, they wear their tank tops in the mall and they don't have to wear a bra and that's absolutely fabulous. I look at that, but I don't want that if it would leave scars.

KING: Did people then think you had false...

BANKS: Oh, yes.

KING: They did?

BANKS: People thought I had false breasts for a long time. And I -- I underwent this kind of live ultrasound by a plastic surgeon on my talk show to prove that that was not the case.

KING: Are you afraid of plastic surgery?

BANKS: No, I'm not afraid of plastic surgery and I'm not against it. And sometimes I get angry when models say that there's against plastic surgery, because I feel like you won a genetic lottery, girl, and you might have even done something yourself, and here you are telling people that they shouldn't do that?

I feel like everybody should make a choice and, you know, if they want to do that, that's fine. It doesn't -- I'm so not against it.

KING: You started when you were 15?

BANKS: Fifteen years old.

KING: What was your break?

BANKS: My big break -- I mean I had different big -- I had different breaks. I got accepted to five colleges for film and television production. I wanted to produce. And at the last minute, this modeling agent, this scout, saw -- in Paris...

KING: Out here? You grew up in L.A.?

BANKS: Uh-huh. And I was modeling locally, just little stuff here and there. And this modeling scout saw some pictures of me in L.A. and she convinced me to put school off for a year and come to Paris. So that was my first big break.

KING: And you were what age when you went to Paris?

BANKS: I was 17. I had just graduated from high school.

KING: What did your parents think?

BANKS: My mom was extremely supportive. She said if this is what you want to do, then you have to make sure you study it. I studied so much about the fashion industry. I studied designers. I studied all the different walks that every model had. I knew how to walk for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, because I studied.

And I went over to Paris and I booked around 25 fashion shows my very first season, and that hasn't been repeated since.

And my dad had another -- my dad was not supportive of this at all -- at all. He wanted me to go to school. He had already paid for Loyola Marymount University. He was ready for me to go.

KING: Did he come to accept it?

BANKS: He came to accept it when the covers started getting sent home.

KING: Did you get them very early?

BANKS: My first job was a cover in Paris, actually. My very first job was a cover of a magazine called "Vente An," which means 20 years in French.

KING: What did you like about standing there all day?

BANKS: Modeling?

You know what?

KING: It seems boring.

BANKS: You know what?

I did not like posing for photos. It wasn't...

KING: You don't?

BANKS: No. But -- so I didn't like modeling. I liked having modeled. So liked the finished product. I did not like creating the product. But what I did like was the runway, because I felt like I was a big ham and I can just pounce on the runway.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of Tyra Banks right after these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THEY TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

BANKS: Whenever I pick up a magazine, they are talking about your weight. RICHIE: Right.

BANKS: They're showing certain pictures. They're just really, really scrutinizing your weight.

What does that feel like, to be so scrutinized by your physical being?

RICHIE: It's horrible. It's horrible. Especially when you're trying to do something about it and you have just so many eyes watching you and people talking about you and -- and, you know, like we don't go around and call people fat, you know, that are overweight. We don't call people, you know, overweight and point at them and laugh at them.

So I don't know why it's OK to do it to people that are too thin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THEY TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

BANKS: How do you deal with your girls -- they're 15 and 16 right now...

MARIA SHRIVER: Right.

BANKS: ... and they're dealing with all the body changes and this peer pressure and the self-esteem issues?

SHRIVER: I tell them to loosen their jeans.

BANKS: You do?

SHRIVER: Yes, I do, actually, because I said that that's a real woman, you know? That's not somebody who weighs 80 pounds. That's not somebody who's trying to be somebody she's not. That's somebody, you know, who's happy with themselves and who's doing something that she wants to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A good point, isn't it?

BANKS: That was a very big compliment coming from Maria Shriver.

KING: Yes, it was.

BANKS: Oh my goodness.

KING: Tyra, Tyra, we sent our cameras out to the streets this past weekend.

BANKS: You did? KING: And, boy, were people anxious to talk to Tyra.

Here are a couple of things they wanted to know.

BANKS: Wow!

KING: Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tyra, I want to know how you feel about your new image and how it's going to affect women from here on out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Tyra, I've just got a question for you.

How can I get thin and gorgeous like you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Tyra. I just wanted to not ask you a question, but just compliment you on your success and you're still beautiful no matter what anyone says.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: OK.

New image.

BANKS: Yes.

KING: What did you mean by that?

BANKS: I don't know if she -- I think she meant talk show image, transitioning from a model to a talk show host and being like one of the voices of my generation, as opposed to just like a body and a face. I think that's what she might be talking about.

KING: How -- all right.

How does it feel?

BANKS: You know, it feels very -- it feels good because this is a message that I've had for a long time. That's what the first e- mail, I think his name was Doug, he said, you know, you're just all of a sudden saying this. And this is something that I've always said, but now people are listening and people care.

And I've always had a passion for young girls. I have an organization called TZone. And it supports young girls and self- esteem with body image relationships, you know?

So it just feels really good now that people are listening to the message.

KING: Have people, in view of this current controversy -- if that's the right word -- come to your defense? BANKS: Yes. I am getting a lot of e-mails. There's a lot of celebrities that I don't know how they got my e-mail. I guess, you know, people like go well, here's her e-mail address, send her something. There's one celebrity -- I won't say her name. She's very famous. And she said that she's always been scared to say how much she weighs.

And now that I said on "People" magazine that I weigh 161 pounds right now, she said that just has liberated her because she feel fine when she looks in the mirror, but the number on the scale kills her. And she says now she feels free and OK to talk about her number.

KING: Why are we so weight crazy?

BANKS: I don't know. I don't know. I've never been so concerned about the number. If I was concerned about what the numbers said on the scale, I would have gone crazy.

I heard you speaking earlier, was it to Paula Zahn, talking about -- you said, you know, I don't look like I'm 161 pounds. But this is what 161 pounds looks like when you're 5'10," you know?

And it's OK. It's OK.

KING: Yes, I know.

But why are people so concerned about it?

BANKS: I -- I think we're still obsessed. And you...

KING: Top-sessed.

BANKS: And you want to talk about hypocritical, you know? Like I think it's so sad that there's these actresses and people out there and you're saying they're so skinny, they're so skinny, they're so skinny and then the -- but you're -- but at the same time, they're calling them the fashion icons. And they weren't fashion icons when they were thicker, but they are now when they're thinner.

Or to -- also, to attack people that have gained weight or -- you know, I just, it's -- like, I think it's really sick.

KING: Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, you know her?

BANKS: Yes.

KING: Has jumped into the controversy over super thin models. She suggests one of the problems is that some of these girls don't have a strong family base to support them.

Do you agree?

BANKS: When it comes to anorexic models?

KING: Yes. BANKS: I think, you know, Gisele has her -- her point. But I think there's a whole -- it's a lot deeper. You know, anorexic is a disease. Bulimia is a disease. It's not just a disorder.

KING: Did you ever fall into it?

BANKS: No, I never have. I never ever have. And to Gel's -- to Gisele's point, it's because of my mother.

KING: So she's on point then?

BANKS: Yes. When the agencies told me that I needed -- I was 123 pounds, Larry. And the agencies told me that I needed to be 10 pounds lighter. So 5'10" and 113 pounds. And I went to -- my mom told me that the agency said that to her. And I said ma, what are we going to do?

And she took my hands and she said, "You know what we're going to do, Tyra? We're going to go order pizza right now."

That is the person that was my rock and kept me focused.

So I do think that's part of it.

Another part is the fashion industry. You know, and this -- I'm not going to attack them. It's an industry that made me the woman that I am today, you know, in terms of my success.

But at the same time, when they're hiring the skinniest, skinniest girl out there, the girl next to her is going oh my gosh, I'm five pounds lighter -- heavier than her, or 10 pounds heavier than her, she's booking more shows than me.

So what do I do to eat, to feed my family, to, you know, so...

KING: So then you lost jobs because you were curvy, right?

BANKS: I started to lose jobs because I was curvy and changed my career and decided to do, you know, Victoria's Secret and more Cover Girl and "Sports Illustrated" and be the girl next door. I did Pepsi commercials and things that...

KING: It was great that you could make that transition.

BANKS: I -- yes, most girls can't.

KING: An e-mail question from Gayle in Syracuse, New York: "Does Tyra do any type of exercise?"

BANKS: I go back and forth with exercise. That's why my weight goes between 148 and 162. Right now I'm around -- I'm around 161. I'm not doing any cardio. I probably lost about three or four pounds in the last couple of weeks because I just started pilates again. But pilates doesn't really make you lose weight. Maybe you shed a little bit, but you've got to get on the treadmill to lose weight. KING: Now, how do you deal with those who say well, in view of what you're currently doing, you shouldn't be advising aspiring young models?

BANKS: That is the biggest -- that is my biggest yin and yang pull that I go to bed with every single night because I created "America's Next Top Model" because I feel so fortunate. I feel so...

KING: It's a reality show?

BANKS: Yes, it's a reality show. Yes, my reality show, "America's Next Top Model." I feel so fortunate to have had a career and to live in Los Angeles, California and have access to best agencies in the world.

And I wanted to be able to give young girls that dream, because it's an amazing dream and I had the power to give them that dream.

But at the same time, a lot of the girls on the show are very thin. And so that is my -- the crux that lives inside of me that I go to bed at night and I'm like, I want to give this dream, but at the same time, it's creating insecurities.

So what I do is I have plus size girls on the show or have curvier girls on the show. And I even take it even beyond body image and I have girls that are not the typical beauty, you know? Not just the typical pretty girl. She might be odd looking, interesting looking, to make that young girl at home see some type of reflection in himself.

Because contrary to popular belief, the most successful models aren't the prettiest girls in the world.

KING: Aren't there some work for overweight women, to show overweight kind of dresses for size 16s?

BANKS: You mean overweight or full-figured?

There's a difference.

KING: Full-figured. Full-figured.

BANKS: Get it right, Larry.

It's not overweight.

KING: OK. Full-figured.

BANKS: Full-figured. Yes, there is work for full-figured.

KING: That's a market, isn't it?

BANKS: Yes. And we have full-figured girls on Top Model. In fact, I have been wanting to do this for so long, for cycle eight, which starts on February 28th, we're actually going to have two plus size models on Top Model. KING: How about women over 40?

BANKS: There's a market for that, too. That's called the mature market.

KING: Ahead in our second half, Tyra's undercover work in a fat suit. An emotional experience for her. She'll talk about it after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THEY TYRA BANKS SHOW," COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS)

BANKS: OK, I'm going to read a statement and if you agree with this statement, I want you to move all the way over to the side of the audience with the "agree" sign.

All right, the first statement is: "I constantly refer to myself as fat. I constantly refer to myself as fat."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I look in the mirror I cry and I see ugliness and fat. And in high school I used to cut myself. I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She calls himself ugly. She cuts herself and constantly is comparing herself to like Britney Spears' -- body, hair, looks and whatnot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Tyra Banks. We will be going to phone calls and more e-mails. You dressed up in a fat suit and we will show a clip of that. Why?

BANKS: I did that because one day I was sitting around a table of some friends of mine. And my friends represented the colors of the rainbow. I mean I had all different races. We were talking about all kinds of stuff and the subject turned to obese people. And one of my friends said when I see them eat, I just want to vomit. I think it's disgusting. And everybody starting piping in started agreeing with it.

I said I want you guys to stop. My talk show opened up my guys to the world and everything. So I said, you guys, stop. Look, you guys are all different races. If somebody says something about Asian or Latin or black person, you guys would be arguing and fighting and beating each other down verbally, I was like, but you all joined forces with this whole overweight thing. And I was like, this might be the last thing that is OK to like slander and do these type of slurs. And I was like, I'm going to do a show about this. I didn't know what I was going to do but that conversation is it what started it. And then we decided to just take it a step further and go inside the world.

KING: Let's watch Tyra undercover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANKS: Looks like me but I can not really feel it.

Three hours later as the final touches were being done, my production team gathered the gear for the experience. With a hidden camera in my glasses and undercover cameraman, I was ready to hit the streets.

As soon as I stepped off the bus, I saw three people turn and laugh right in my face. I was stunned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What did you learn?

BANKS: I learned, I didn't know people were so nasty and so ugly. I know that people can say things behind your back. I've heard it. When I was a young girl, I was a mean girl. I used to talk about people. But I did not know it could be so blatant. That in your face, people laughed and pointed to me as soon as I stepped off that bus or I went on a date with a guy, and I said, as you can imagine, I kind of have some trouble dating. And he goes, oh, I don't have to imagine. I have eyes.

Stuff like that. I was like, I had no idea. And this experiment was not -- because some people were pitching me, go to a movie theater and try to sit in the seat and see - Like, what does that have to do in anything? Like, what, I'm trying to prove the ugliness of people not the difficulty of being overweight physically but the ugliness of people.

KING: Let's talk calls for Tyra. Ontario, Canada. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Tyra.

BANKS: Hi.

CALLER: I have a six-year-old taught who thinks she's fat. And I'm just wondering with your show "America's Next Top Model" how you can help change that perception in society?

BANKS: You know what, your daughter calling herself fat is the reason why I do my talk show. It is because that pains me so much. It's why I started my organization called T-Zone because of young girls.

And but she's probably too young to watch my talk show and she probably watches "America's Next Top Model" more. And I want you to tell her to watch -- and I don't mean to tell you if I'm plugging but "America's Next Top Model Cycle Eight" starts February 28. And I want you to sit her down in front of that TV. Because there are two beautiful full-figured models on the show. It's not like a token like we just throw in one just because I have been fighting for two girls for so long and finally got my way.

I think she is going to feel a lot more beautiful when she sees that. I think it's so important that young girls see some type of reflection of themselves, whether she's overweight or not, but to see something being called beautiful. Like a little black girl to see black girls on TV and see that's called beautiful, Asian, Latin, full figured, whatever it is. That's what starts changing little girl's minds.

KING: Have you had producer put pressure on you about weight, television producers?

BANKS: I wouldn't say pressure but I have had some executives at my talk show say that if I were to gain weight, they think I would be more relatable. I have had that but not pressure but they are like Tyra, we prefer if you're thicker because it makes you not as ...

KING: Paparazzi not bother you? Or are you too identifiable?

BANKS: I don't get bothered by the paparazzi. I'm very lucky. They don't really follow me. I think because I don't party or do anything. So there's no story except for on a beach in Australia, I guess.

KING: Ladysmith, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Tyra, I was just wondering, I know you have a lot of connections in the entertainment business and I have always had it in the back of my head to make a film about girls who need to see that there are more girls in this world full figured. I was wondering if you ever thought about making a film about it to get more teenage girls?

BANKS: A film about raising the awareness of full figured beauty?

CALLER: Making it so that -- anorexic, being that thin is not cool. It isn't realistic.

BANKS: I have not thought about doing a movie about that. Movies take so long to do.

KING: It would make a good television special.

BANKS: A good television special. But the thing is with my talk show, we cover that all the time. So I do 185 shows per year on my talk show and a big percentage of that is dedicated to exactly what you're talking about. So I'm lucky enough to have that platform for that message to get out there.

KING: E-mail question from Patty in Herndon, Virginia - "What advice can you give parents whose teenage daughters are bombarded by the 'Hollywood Line' that you must be big busted and bone thin to look beautiful. My daughter is 5'3, weighs a 110. I think she's the perfect weight. She's convinced she's fat."

BANKS: Five-three and 110 and convinced she's fat. I feel like, you know, sometimes I'm like -- I'm so happy I don't have a daughter right now. Because I don't even know if the words that I would say to my own daughter would get through to her. Because sometimes, you know, we don't listen to our moms and we think our moms are just like saying stuff to us. But I will look in the camera and tell your daughter right now, 5'3" and 110 pounds that's very small.

And it's so hard to not look at the magazines. The magazines with the very skinny actresses. Those girls don't look healthy. I don't know if they are healthy or not but they do not look healthy. And 5'3" and 110 is a beautiful weight. It's kind of still on the small side to me. And don't let that not tell you that that's beautiful.

Suzanne Depass (ph), she has a great history with Berry Gordy (ph) and great businesses now. I was sitting with her at dinner the other night. And she was talking about -- I don't remember the quote exactly and I will get it at a break because I want to read this quote. But she talked about like your body and yourself esteem is like a boat. And there's all of this water around you but in order to stay mentally healthy, you have to make sure that water does not get inside of your boat.

And that's what I'm trying to do right now with young girls. I'm trying to say, there's all of this stuff telling you you're not good enough. There are people telling me I'm America's not top waddle. They have been saying this to me since I'm 23 in modeling. That I'm too big, that I'm too big. But I have to keep the water out of my head so I can be strong enough for young girls that are feeling the pressures of that.

KING: Coming up -- the difference between nighttime Tyra and daytime Tyra. She will explain. And we will talk about her interview with Janet Jackson, too. Stick around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANKS: What are you insecure about when you look in the mirror and you take your clothes off and you go, oof ...

JANET JACKSON, SINGER: Oh, a friend asked me once to do an exercise and look in the mirror and find something you like about yourself. So I looked in the mirror and I immediately started crying.

BANKS: Really?

JACKSON: Yeah, because there was nothing I liked about myself. I kept trying. Finally was able to actually just look at myself in the mirror without, you know, having any kind of emotional tremor. And I realize I like the sway of my back and my smile.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANKS: Why do you think you look in the mirror and cry? Everyone looks at you and thinks that you're so beautiful.

JACKSON: I never - well, thank you, never found myself attractive.

BANKS: Why do you think that is?

JACKSON: I don't know. I really don't know. I just never found myself attractive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You like her?

BANKS: I love Janet Jackson.

KING: Good girl.

BANKS: And it's funny. Because I have seen her do a lot of interviews but I had not seen the side of her when she did my show. I asked her 20 questions she's never been asked, just crazy questions, and she answered all of them, with like, Tyra girl, what are you saying? You know the Janet Jackson that talks really soft but she went out of that comfort zone.

KING: What's nighttime Tyra, daytime Tyra?

BANKS: Oh, my gosh. There's two different ones.

KING:: Who is here now?

BANKS: Daytime. Just, you know, whatever. But nighttime Tyra is character. She looks like this and she says, that picture is not fierce. Your eyes look dead. Who the hell is that? No, that's something I created. It's a television show, "America's Next Top Model" was the nighttime girl. The critique coming out of my mouth is from my heart and all of my experience being in the fashion industry for almost 18 years.

KING: That's daytime.

BANKS: That's nighttime. That's the girl like this, nighttime, "America's Next Top Model" Larry, you're still in the running.

KING: Daytime?

BANKS: Daytime I'm just myself. "America's Next Top Model" I'm consistently sucking my stomach in. Daytime I'm running around the stage, my stomach is sticking out and I'm talking about flatulence and eating and all kinds of crazy stuff.

KING: Flatulence?

BANKS: Yeah.

KING: You said something interesting during the break.

BANKS: What did I say?

KING: That you, nighttime and daytime Tyra, you have trouble getting dates.

BANKS: I do have trouble getting dates. It's hard.

KING: Because?

BANKS: I don't know.

KING: Do you intimidate guys.

BANKS: I went on this date with this one guy, they are calling you a mogul and stuff, I read how much money you make, damn. I'm like, I'm just a girl. I'm really just a girl. If I take off this hair weave and eyelashes, will you not be intimidated.

And I went on one date with a guy, we had such good chemistry. He was like you're so cool. Oh my God, I feel like I have known you forever, this is crazy. Never called me back. Never called me back. I hear later he thinks that I'm just too -- my image or success is too much. And I'm like, I'm just a girl.

I remember that movie, what is that movie "Notting Hill" with Julia Roberts, I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love me.

KING: You would think, the world would think they are in line for you.

BANKS: I wish I had a line. Where is the line? Line up outside -- no.

KING: Barry, Ontario, next call from Barry, Ontario, for lonely Tyra. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Good evening, Tyra. I have a question for you. You have been a model for a long time and you know the pressures. Do you feel that beauty pageant contestants feel the same pressure, especially what's happened with Miss USA?

BANKS: Do beauty pageant contestants feel the same about body image.

KING: Pressure, just the same pressure.

BANKS: Just the pressure. I think beauty pageant contestants, they might even feel a little bit more pressure than models.

KING: You ever entered one?

BANKS: Oh gosh no. I never have. I probably would be good at it but I never was interested in, never attracted to that at all.

KING: Must be a lot of pressure to walk down that think.

BANKS: I just think they have to smile, they have to have the certain answer. It's like a certain thing, where a model can walk into work with a tank top on and be like, where is the set, put on hair and makeup and go boom and they go back and do whatever. It's very different.

KING: Our guest is Tyra Banks. Anderson cooper is in the city of San Antonio, Texas, tonight. They are dedicating an extraordinary new facility and we will check with him right after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Anderson Cooper will host AC 360. The traveling man is in San Antone tonight. It was a marvelous dedication today. I got a tip about the advanced look at that with the special we did on Fisher homes, associated with that, homes for people who are the relatives of returning veterans. What is it like, Anderson?

COOPER: Larry, it was an incredible day here. They opened up two of those Fisher houses here as wells the center of the Intrepid here, the Brook Army Medical Center. It is a state of the art brand- new facility to help troops recover from amputations and burns and other injuries. At its dedication where presidential hopefuls Senator Hillary Clinton and John McCain. I spoke at length one-on-one with both of them. You are going to hear what they have to say about the war in Iraq, the Bush administration, and brave American troops serving overseas.

We will also speak with some of the troops who have come home and are now on the road to recovery. It is a 360 special you will not forget. The toughest battle, healing heroes, that is what we are calling it. All of that and more, Larry, just ahead on 360.

KING: That will be extraordinary. Anderson Cooper, AC 360 at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We had our cameras as we said early, we showed you some of the people on the street. Here are some more with questions and comments about Tyra Banks. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Tyra, we are just trying to find out what is your next move for your career? Will you stay in talk shows? Are you going to move into movies, what is the next move?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or stay at home and have babies, hey!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do I look?

Tyra, I was wondering if you're ever going to make a modeling, maybe "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit or anything like that? Because I'd kind of like to see you again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Tyra, I'm just wondering, how do you have time to do anything? Every time I see you, you're on TV with your talk show and with your top model. So I'm wondering how you have a life rather than work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: OK. Let's break it down. Any career moves still to come? BANKS: Yeah, I do. I have a lot of things in the works. Bankable Productions is my production company and we have a sitcom in the works. We have a one-hour show in the works. We have a live show in the works. The bankable --

KING: You're entrepreneurial?

BANKS: Yeah, very much so. Bankable mantra is things fantasy- based and also empowering to women as well as fantasy, too, and entertaining.

KING: Will you produce things you're not on?

BANKS: Most definitely. That's what most of my projects are. Like the girl said, if I did everything, I would be going crazy.

KING: Ever want to go back to modeling?

BANKS: Gosh, no. I do not want to go back to modeling. There's things that I play around here or there on "America's Next Top Model," there is a shot of me that pops up every judging that I do, so that's my little thing. That's enough.

KING: What if a company came by and said, we would like you to be our Maybelline lipstick girl?

BANKS: They have -- not Maybelline, I'm saying. I'm just saying I get offered all of that stuff.

KING: Would you return?

BANKS: Yeah, I'm not so interested in being an endorser now, Larry. I want to own the companies that I work with. I don't want to work for someone else.

KING: But you do remember the days when you would you have jumped at it?

BANKS: I had a Cover Girl contract. I think I was the second black woman ever to have a Cover Girl - to have a cosmetics contract. I jumped at that bit I feel like now I want to create companies and hire young girls to be in them, not for me to be in it.

KING: How do you find time was the other question, the two of them.

BANKS: How do I find time? Last year I didn't have any weekends. All of my works were 24/7 and it was to get this talk show off the ground and continue "Top Model's" success. But now I have weekends. I sleep in. All day yesterday -- the day before yesterday, I worked yesterday. Was that Saturday? I laid in the bed until 2:00 p.m. And went to the movies with my mama and saw two movies.

KING: No date, Saturday night, Tyra Banks.

BANKS: With my mom. Isn't that sad? That is really sad. But I'm dating. I have dates.

KING: You're open to date.

BANKS: It's just guys don't ask me out. Can I give you my Suzanne Depass quote that I found in my little ...

KING: Yeah, sure.

BANKS: I keep this little journal in my purse. I think everybody should keep these types of things in your purse, it's things to do, things that I hear that inspire me and at that dinner Suzanne Depass told me "All the water in the world cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside."

And she didn't know I was going through all of this tabloid hell or maybe she did. And she was very gracious at the dinner table and she didn't bring it up. But she was speaking to my spirit and my soul. I was like, I'm doing everything to make sure that that water does not get inside so I can say strong for young women.

KING: An e-mail from Jason, Pembroke Pines, Florida. "At what point in your career did you realize that modeling would not last forever?"

BANKS: I was around 18 years old.

KING: Really?

BANKS: Yeah. A couple of years in my career when I realized that there was going to be an end to this and I started preparing for the end at the beginning. I would be backstage at fashion shows looking around and saying, OK, she was real hot last season and now she's only in two fashion shows in Paris.

This one was hot but now she's insecure because her phone is not ringing. I was like -- I talked to my mom, mom, I got to do something else. So I did an interview when was 18 years old in Milan, Italy. And they said what do you want to do after modeling? And I was like, I'm going to have my own talk show and I meant it and I planned for this. I always tell young kids, people think I just popped up and did a talk show and that popped up. But it was a plan.

KING: You knew where you were going. We will be back with our remaining moments with Tyra Banks right after this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back. We have one more email from Mbutu in Lagos, Nigeria ...

BANKS: Wow.

KING: It's not so much a question as an offer. "Why is Tyra worried about her weight? I would marry her as my queen."

BANKS: Thank you, Mbutu! I'm not worried about my weight at all. I'm worried about young girls and what the negative connotation of those pictures out there are saying. I'm not worried about my weight. I know what I look like Mbutu. I'm 161 and I feel fine and wonderful. Thank you, though!

KING: Go get them, Mbutu.

BANKS: The one thing I want to tell you, Larry, about -- People are like, why am I speaking out about these pictures. I always tell the truth about any type of lie. The truth about any type of lie. There are pictures of me that are retouched where I look like a Barbie. And I will go on my talk show, I have gone on other shows and remove the retouching and say this is what my booty really looks like and this is what my dark sickles and this is what I look like without a hair weave. So I'm just doing it the other way.

KING: And this Thursday on your show you are going to discuss all of this?

BANKS: February 1, yes.

KING: Supermodel Naomi Campbell. You and she have had some issues. You talked about them on her show.

BANKS: On my show.

KING: What do you think about her recent anger management.

BANKS: I'm proud of Naomi for going through anger management. I'm really, really proud of her for doing that.

KING: What issues do you have with her?

BANKS: Oh, I don't have any issues. In the past there were some issues. The industry was touting us as me being the new model and telling her to step aside because I was the new black model. And she had a strong reaction to that. As well she should. I think her reaction was a little strong. But if someone is telling you, Larry King, move over, there's a new one coming, and you have got to go, you would be offended about that. But I think she just took it a little too far.

KING: There were not black models until fairly recent history, right? This is a new phenomenon?

BANKS: During my time, there were more than there are now, but there were not a lot, no. No.

KING: It was just as hard in the modeling world as it was in every over world for the black woman?

BANKS: Yes ...

KING: Except for "Ebony" or "Jet."

BANKS: But the difference in the modeling world they can tell you to your face, your skin does not look good with my clothes or I don't want black girls this season or I don't want you or I want to pay you less. They say those types of things.

KING: They do?

BANKS: Yeah. And it's not illegal. Yeah.

KING: How did you cope with the pressures of that modeling? It's a very, very competitive field.

BANKS: Yeah, it was very competitive. I had a strong family. I -- I had interest outside of the modeling. I didn't mix my business with pleasure. I might have went, in 18 years I might have gone to three fashion parties. I stayed just far away from it. A lot it was intimidated and scared. People talking like this and telling you you are fabulous. That's in the real. That is like some caricature people. I'm scared of them and I just stayed away and it kept me sane.

KING: What was Paris like for an 18-year-old?

BANKS: I was 17 and it was terrifying. It was very lonely. I was doing really well but I didn't know I was doing well and my agency was telling me that I was doing just like all of the other girls. So I would come home to my roommate, who was a model, and I would say, are you going to do Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent and Dior today? And she was like - everybody is doing it right? And she thought I was pushing it in her face and my agency is lying to me and saying I wasn't doing well and it alienated me.

KING: Watch Tyra banks on Thursday November (ph) 1. It will be a follow-up to this program.

BANKS: And I do have one venture that I might model in, but I would be hiring myself, not working for somebody else.

KING: Hire yourself. It's come to this.

BANKS: Yes.

KING: Thanks, Tyra.

BANKS: Thanks you.

KING: Tyra Banks, what a great guest.

BANKS: Thank you.

KING: One note before we go, when Angelina Jolie joined Robert De Niro and Matt Damon on this program last month, I asked her about her mom, the actress Marshaline Bertrand (ph) and her long battle with ovarian cancer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Angelina, it's been reported your mom has been battling cancer. How is she doing? ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: She's doing good. She's been battling -- You're the first person to ask about it. She has for about six years. And she's a remarkable woman. She's very, very strong. Great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Sadly, Angelina's mom passed away on Saturday with Cedars- Sinai Medical Center with Angelina, her brother James Haven and her partner Brad Pitt by her side. She was only 56.

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