People Staff
May 06, 1996 12:00 PM

THE MIRROR IN TYRA Banks’s bathroom must need cleaning. How else to explain her statement, “There are a lot of girls who look 10 times better than me”? Then why weren’t modeling sensations at 17, TV regulars (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) at 19 and movie actresses (Higher Learning) at 21? And why was Tyra, now 22, the first African-American woman to a grace the covers of GQ, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S swim-suit issue and this year’s Victoria’s Secret catalog? You won’t get the answer from Banks. Instead the 511″, 135-lb. California native itemizes her flaws: dark circles under her eyes (fixed by “concealers”), a crooked nose (“shading on either side”) and occasional puffiness (“a lot of extra makeup”). “I’m not ugly,” she concedes, “but my beauty is a total creation.” Her Dr. Frankenstein disagrees. “It’s not the cosmetics, not the swimsuits, not the magazine covers,” says Sam Fine, the makeup artist Banks has used for four years. “The beauty of Tyra is her natural side, the child in her.” Or as designer Todd Oldham puts it, “She glows.” Banks, who lives by herself in a five-bedroom L.A. house she bought on the cheap in foreclosure (“Big mistake,” she says. “I’m very lonely here”), won’t budge. “I’m not ‘street-fine,’ ” she insists. “Street-fine girls are so drop-dead gorgeous they make you gasp. I’m more ‘model-fine.’ ” Well, if she hasn’t heard the gasping by now, we give up.

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