Tyra Banks Discusses Her Departure and Return as Host of 'America’s Next Top Model’

Tyra Banks says she left her legacy "too soon."

Tyra Banks

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 09: Model Tyra Banks attends the 4th Annual Beautycon Festival Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Beautycon)

Tyra Banks

After hosting America’s Next Top Model for multiple seasons, Tyra Banks thought it would be safe to step away. She was wrong. Now after some time away from the show (and hundreds of "love-hate" tweets), she's back.

"To me, Top Model is a brand, and it stands on its own and it’s very strong, and that’s what I was working for this entire time, to create the legacy," Banks said. "And I realized I stepped away from this legacy that I’m trying to create too soon."

But that realization didn't dawn on Banks at first. When she left, she was sure that she'd left it in good hands, with Rita Ora stepping in for hosting duties. In the piece, Banks recalled when she made a cameo on the show's latest finale and secretly watched the team work through their thoughts on camera.

"I didn’t let them know I was still there, but I hid behind a monitor, and I was watching them and I thought their dynamic was really, really good," Banks said. "It wasn’t that smooth in the beginning. But that finale — they were flowing, almost as if it was edited already by an editor. It was punchy; it was quick; it was snappy, sharp. Sound bites. Constructive criticism, humor, all the things I think make Top Model what it is, and I was like, Wow, they got this. Even just seeing that, I was very proud of what they had done."

But as Banks notes, the audience clearly "had a different opinion" since the show was briefly canceled in 2015.

"...when the show started airing, the social-media world out there, particularly Twitter — they’re quite opinionated — were the first to say, 'We miss you! We miss you!' I knew that would happen. Of course," said Banks. "But then it turned kind of to that love-hate. Or that hate-love. Where it’s like, 'How could you do this?' And, 'I’m gonna unfollow you because you unfollowed me by leaving Top Model.' Stuff like that."

Now thanks to "many fights" with her partner, Ken Mok, Banks (and the show) is back. "He would call me and text me a couple times a week, wanting me to come back," recalled Banks. "And we would have very spirited phone conversations. We’re like family pretty much, so we’re yelling at each other over the phone. He’s like, “You’ve got to come back to this damn thing that you created.” And I’m like, “Leave me alone!” But finally, I said, “Yes, I will come back.”

And there you have it. Read the entire Q&A over at Vulture.

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