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Tyra Banks invites readers to visit 'Modelland'

A tweet doesn't usually make a person cry.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A tweet doesn't usually make a person cry.

But when Tyra Banks recently saw a photo posted by a fan promoting the release of her book, it meant so much that the tears started flowing when she talked about it.

"You forget that people are gonna be excited about (the book) and are gonna read it," she said. "That was really touching to see that ... especially for something new. I'm new at this. I've never written a fiction book before and that really touched me."

"Modelland", which is now in stores, is the first of a three-book young adult series from Delacorte, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. It follows an awkward teen named Tookie De La Creme who gets invited to attend an elite academy called Modelland.

It makes sense why Banks would want to write a book for young adults. The 37-year-old Banks has an affinity toward empowering young women.

"That's an audience that I personally am passionate about. I feel like young girls in particular are going through that transition into adulthood and there's a lot of self-doubt, there's a lot of insecurity, there's a lot of self-acceptance issues when they look in the mirror at their reflection and they don't necessarily feel good enough or that they measure up," Banks said.

"Modelland" isn't a tell-all about the industry. There are some parallels to Banks' own experience in the business.

"It's inspired by my life and experiences in fashion and modeling," she said. "My successes as well as a lot of pain I had to go through."

The book also addresses topics that Banks featured on daytime's "The Tyra Banks Show," which ran for five seasons and wrapped in 2010.

"I still talk about insecurities. I have a girl in 'Modelland' who is a cutter. I had many shows about that," Banks said. "There's bulimia, anorexia, all these things that are touched upon in 'Modelland' that I used to touch upon on my talk show."

Hollywood is already interested in the series. Banks said she was approached by a successful film producer shortly after it was announced that she was publishing the book.

"I would love to open up the 'Modelland' casting to the world," she said. "I'm looking for an Everygirl to possibly play one of the characters in the story."

Banks, who is enrolled at Harvard Business School, said she'd love to produce films one day.

"That's what I was going to go to college for," she said. "I've done the TV thing and will continue to do so, but the idea of films is pretty amazing."

Banks' other TV show, "America's Next Top Model," recently premiered its 17th season as an All-Star edition.


Random House is owned by German media company Bertelsmann AG.


Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her at