Tyra Banks Opens Up About Naomi Campbell: ‘I’m Still Very Scared’

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Tyra Banks appeared on Norwegian talk show Skavlan where she talked about her early days of being a supermodel and her feud with Naomi Campbell.

“To this day, I’m very scared of her,” Banks said. “I don’t want to go too deep into the past, but it was very, very difficult. Some of the lowest times in my life, dealing with that.”

Banks did say she understands where Campbell was coming from. “It was really unfair to her. The industry was saying, ‘Oh, look out Naomi Campbell! Here comes Tyra Banks, so Naomi Campbell, sit your butt down, this younger one is coming to take your place.”

Banks went on to point out that the fashion industry wasn’t doing that to any models who weren’t black. Nobody was saying Kate Moss, for example, was going to replace Christy Turlington.

Banks continued, “So I don’t condone her actions, her response, but I understand where it comes from, because the world is saying you’re not gonna have your spot, we’re gonna take your money, we’re gonna take your fame, go sit down, there’s somebody else.”

Banks revealed that she and Campbell did reconcile when Campbell appeared on her talk show, The Tyra Banks Show. Banks says during the show, Campbell tried to pretend the feud didn’t happen, or at least didn’t happen the way Banks says it did.

“But then there was a commercial break and she came back and she said, ‘you know, I’m sorry.’ And oh my God, I just cried like a baby.” Banks closed the topic on a friendly note, saying “To hear that apology meant the world for me, she has no idea what that did for me. Thank you, Naomi.”

The host then turned to the issue of diversity in modeling and Banks says that the fashion industry is much less diverse than when she was starting out. Advertising on the other hand, she says is more diverse than ever. To make money, advertisers have to reach out to everyone and make sure everyone is represented.

Watch the full interview above to hear Banks tell more stories you probably haven’t heard before. Including the time an agency told her she wasn’t photogenic. Seriously.