Tyra Pounds Tabloids over "Fat" Photos

Former supermodel admits that she's gained weight since retiring from the catwalk but lashes out at those who dared to mock her fuller figure

By Sarah Hall Feb 01, 2007 11:31 PMTags

Sure, Tyra Banks might have packed on a few pounds, but don't go calling her fat.

The former supermodel is on the warpath over unflattering photos of her wearing a bathing suit that were recently published in tabloids under headlines such as "Thigh-ra Banks," "America's Next Top Waddle" and "Tyra Porkchops."

Banks said she learned of the reports trumpeting her weight gain by typing the words "Tyra" and "fat" into Google.

"I couldn't believe what I was reading," Banks wrote on her official Website. "I needed to let everyone know what I thought about these headlines."

On her eponymous talk show Thursday, Banks put on the same bathing suit that touched off the reports of her supposed 50-pound weight gain to prove that the "fat" photos in the tabloids were the result of a tricky camera angle.

"If I had a lower self-esteem, I would probably be starving myself right now. That's exactly what is happening to other women all over this country," the talk show host said, as she choked back tears.

In a further display of self-confidence, Banks also posed in a bathing suit for the most recent cover of People magazine alongside a headline reading, "You Call This Fat?"

She told the magazine she had put on about 30 pounds since her catwalk-strutting days, meaning her 5-foot, 10-inch frame weighs in at 161 pounds.

"I still feel hot, but every day is different," Banks said. "It's when I put on the jeans that used to fit a year ago and don't fit now and give me the muffin top, that's when I say, 'Damn!' "

Banks also pointed out that even in her slimmer days, her curvy body still carried 20 to 30 pounds more weight than most supermodels.

"That's a positive thing," she told Good Morning America on Wednesday. "And I think it's so bad that people are saying that's bad."

And for those people, she had a special message.

"I have one thing to say to you: kiss my fat ass!" Banks said on her talk show Thursday.

Banks' attitude toward body acceptance carries over to her other show, America's Next Top Model.

"You don't have to be anorexic to do this job," she told Scotland's Glasgow Daily Record in a recent interview. "I try to have girls on the show who are 15 to 20 pounds heavier than the average model in the industry."

On Thursday, Banks revealed the 13 aspiring catwalkers who will compete on the upcoming eighth season of Top Model, debuting on the CW on Feb. 28.

The contestants include Renee, a stay-at-home mom from Hawaii, Brittany, a bartender from Georgia and Diana, a college student from New Jersey. The oldest hopeful is 22 and the youngest is 19.

"I always try to go for different looks," Banks told Entertainment Tonight of how she made her casting decisions. "I try not to make girls look like girls from the previous season. We have some really high fashion–looking girls this year."

Top Model wasn't the only long-running reality franchise to make headlines on Thursday.

NBC unveiled its plans for a revamped Last Comic Standing, with Bill Bellamy taking over hosting duties for the fifth season, airing this summer. This time around, the unscripted series will take its search for the next sidesplitting comedian over the border, with casting calls in London, Montreal and Sydney, in addition to Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Tempe, Arizona.

Meanwhile, CBS announced it had picked up an eighth installment of its fly-on-the-wall series, Big Brother, also slated to premiere this summer.