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The runway is now behind Tyra Banks.
Her final cruise down the catwalk was the Victoria’s Secret show, which is being broadcast Tuesday on CBS at 10 p.m. ET. She “retired” wearing a red lace bra and underwear with a belt made of military-style medallions, kicking up her high heels with Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell at her side.
With two TV shows — her daily talk show and “America’s Next Top Model” — Banks hadn’t been doing much modeling anyway, and she wanted to go out on top.
She still looks good, mind you, as she prepares to turn 32 on Sunday. You could even say she looks great. She spoke to The Associated Press just before the Victoria’s Secret show, wearing a red satin robe, sneakers and her signature long lashes.
AP: Are you really retiring from the runway, not just taking a break?
Banks: I’m not just retiring from the runway, I’m retiring from all modeling. God, I love saying that! When I was 18, my mom said I have to have a plan. I decided I’d leave on top. I want to be like the athletes who seem stuck in time. When you see them at 50, you say they probably can still run like a champ.
AP: Did you get to choose what you’d wear in this Victoria’s Secret show — a black satin corset, an embellished push-up bra with a beaded organza cape adorned with feathers and that red lace number with a crystal-covered baton?
Banks: They gave me sketches and I chose my three favorites. I’ve never had that clout before. Retiring is good.
AP: Are you confident that your new career as a TV host will be successful?
Banks: “America’s Next Top Model” is shooting its sixth season. I created a template and I don’t have to baby-sit it anymore. The talk show, I have to be devoted to that. I’m proud of it, but it’s not exactly what I want it to be — yet.
'I’m too dorky!'AP: Now that you’ll have a bit more free time, what will you do?
Banks: I love going to the movies. I keep a list in my purse of what I want to see. (She pulls out a list of more than 25 titles ranging from “Good Night, and Good Luck” to “The Constant Gardener.”) I try to see movies whenever I can. I saw “Flightplan” and “Capote” from this list.
AP: Any other hobbies?
Banks: I love TV, too. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Commander in Chief.” I so want (Geena Davis) on my show. She was a model and now she’s president of the United States!
AP: Do you think your experience as a top black model was different from a top white model?
Banks: I wanted to be the girl next door like Cindy Crawford, but I am a black model and that meant I broke down a lot of doors. When I look at young black models today, I hope they can just walk through the doors like everyone else.
AP: Models often lead a jet-set life. Will you be more of a homebody now?
Banks: I live in an apartment. I gave my mom my house in L.A. It’s a beautiful Spanish house. I lived there a year, but it felt empty. I wasn’t scared but I like nooks and small spaces. It helps me focus.
AP: Models aren’t always known for their model behavior. How do you deal with being a celebrity?
Banks: Well, I don’t think of myself as a diva. I’m too dorky! Look at my shoes. (Points to the aforementioned sneakers.) I always look like this. I don’t always want to be “working.” I don’t want to have to put on that “thing” — I call it “the thing” when I have to do my hair, put on the lashes, get dressed up. When I go out for potato chips, I just want to go out looking like myself, which means you will see bad pictures of me. There probably are some out there right now, but it’s just part of the life.