Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tyra Banks Says That Writing 'Modelland' Made Her Hair Fall Out.

Writing a book is hard work! Tyra Banks recently told The Wall Street Journal that she was so stressed out while she was writing her young adult novel Modelland that she actually suffered from alopecia.

Modelland is a dystopian fantasy for teens that tells the story of Tookie la Creme, a young women who doesn't fit her society's definition of beauty, but still gets chosen to be a part of an elite group of models knows as the "Intoxibellas." Sounds a little bit like an epsiode of America's Next Top Model, no?

Tyra says that the idea for the novel, which has been climbing best-seller lists, came to her while she was riding in the backseat of a car. How did Tyra know that her idea would be a hit with teens? "I'm pretty realistic about myself and I didn't think 50-year-old people would say, 'I must read Tyra's literature.' I get it. I knew that I could communicate to teens better," she told WSJ.

Tyra showed the first draft of Modelland (which was a whopping 1,000 pages!) to her mother, who gave the model turned talk show host (turned author turned Harvand Business School student) some honest advice: "First she said: 'Tookie has too many bad things happening to her,' so I removed a lot of heavy stuff," Tyra explained. "It was imperative that the reader connect with her and invest. The second thing was she liked that she felt me, that kind of gay male thing that I do. That campiness was important. My editor said a lot of the same things as my mom. The next step was painful, because we had to cut 50%. But looking back I could cut more."

Tyra says that even though writing the book made her hair fall out, she's happy for the opportunity to connect with teen readers. "At the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, a 13-year-old girl was talking about how big her forehead is. I told her she had a big forehead like me, but I love it and it's beautiful. I said, "Yeah you're insecure about it, but there's something about it that you're wearing with pride because your hair is slicked back in a bun. And she cried in my arms."

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