On Thursday night, Tyra Banks (a new mother herself) and her mom Carolyn London sat down with moderator (and CNN news anchor) Don Lemon at 92Y to discuss their new book, “Perfect is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss.” Banks, a famed model, actress, television personality, and mother-of-one–among various other accolades–published the book to share insight into her rise to stardom and the tips from Mom that helped her along the way.
The book switches between Banks’ perspective and her mother’s, almost like a conversation: At their 92Y talk, it was clear that the two butt heads just as often as they support and listen to one another. London is all for an open dialogue between parent and child, no matter the latter’s age: “If [a topic] makes you blush, keep going.” She said it’s best to arm your child with knowledge than avoid discussion.
Banks recounted a train ride she and her mother took, where her mother took her by surprise not by giving her the “birds and bees” talk–which Banks had received a few years prior–but a secondary sex talk, more detailed and nuanced, that acted less as general instruction and more as caution and advice. Banks, around 16 at the time, was deeply embarrassed, to which her mom told the audience: “I put her on a train because there was nowhere to run.”
They also told Lemon about a time Banks was discouraged from high-end couture modeling because of her shape–specifically, the size of her butt. Her mom took her out for pizza, and had her write out a list all the models she looked like, who they modeled for, and by that list, what brands she should be trying to work for. Banks later turned that list in to her agent. Banks said that moment, creating that list, kept her from giving in to the model world pressure and living unhealthily in order to thin out and mollify casting agents and brands. Instead, she maintained her body as it was and appreciated it as such. And all things considered, it seems she still did just fine.
The book is filled with such instances of hardship from both Banks’ and London’s lives, as well as acts of overcoming, and advice necessary for all mothers and daughters, whether it’s the eight words from a boy that should act as a warning or how to get through a hard day.
For more information on Tyra’s book, visit penguinrandomhouse.com!