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‘She Was Reacting to an Industry That Was All About a Token’: Tyra Banks Touches on Supposed ‘Rivalry’ with Naomi Campbell

In 2005 Tyra Banks interviewed Naomi Campbell on her talk show “The Tyra Banks Show,” where she admitted to Campbell that she felt mistreated by her and often bullied.

The two were the go-to Black models at the same time during the ’90s, although Campbell was more established by the time Banks arrived on the scene.

Then in 2016, according to People, Banks said she was still “scared” of Campbell all of those years later, and she recently talked about her again with The Wall Street Journal.

While discussing her current business ventures, including her model theme park Modelland, Banks was asked about Campbell and the word “rivalry” came up.

In the past, Banks said she used to idolize Campbell and would hang up her photos.

“It wasn’t a rivalry,” said the “America’s Next Top Model” creator told the newspaper. “And I’m very sensitive to that word, because a rivalry is with two equals to me, whereas one was very dominant. She was a supermodel, and I was just some new girl that got on a plane from Paris and was studying fashion in magazines at a fashion library.

“I had very painful early days in Paris,” she continued. “As much as I was booking every single fashion show, people didn’t know I was going home at night crying my eyes out, because a woman I was looking up to seemed like she just didn’t want me to be there and was doing everything in her power to make me go away.”

Banks said she was just as confused by the alleged mistreatment as she was hurt, but later understood why Campbell may not have welcomed her with open arms.

“I didn’t understand that as a young girl, like ‘Why is she doing this? This is so evil, this is so awful.’ The adult me understands that she was reacting to an industry that was all about a token,” Banks explained.

Campbell was also asked about that time period in 2013, eight years after she sat down with Banks on the “Tyra Banks Show.”

“It does irk me that two women of color have to be pitted against each other,” said Campbell while she visited “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”

“You can have more than one woman of color in a fashion show,” she added. “Unfortunately, back then, you could only have one so the other felt put out. I’m very proud of Tyra. … I’m proud to know her.”

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