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We all scream for Tyra Banks’s ice cream, which has been 15 years in the making, the star revealed during Women@Meredith's #StraightTalk series

By Jackie Fields
April 01, 2021 12:00 PM
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Tyra Banks is giving us a new reason to smize. 

The iconic supermodel and host and executive producer of Dancing With the Stars has just launched her ice cream brand, which she has been teasing since 2019SMiZE Cream is available in six mouth-watering flavors: "Brownies, I Love You", "Caramel Cookie Queen", "Strawberry BirthYAY! Cake", "Purple Cookie Mon-Star & Me", "Salted Caramel King" and "The Best Vanilla I Ever Had". 

While the names alone might have you ready to make a run to the grocery store, the pints are currently only available at Santa Monica Place, the future home of Banks' first SMiZE Cream shop (see Instagram for hours). Online delivery is scheduled to launch later this year.

This is the latest endeavor for Banks, who opened up about her entrepreneurial journey during the most recent installment of Women@Meredith's #StraightTalk series.

"Myself and our ice cream scientists are taking the photos that you see on social media! Literally right now," she says enthusiatically. "[The] mug of pecan ice cream, that is a white mug from my house and I ordered can stickers and put them all on it myself. I mean, this is some back-in-the-day stuff, but it's a startup."

Tyra Banks; Courtesy of SMiZE Cream
Credit: Courtesy of SMiZE Cream

And though the exhausted multi-hyphenate star isn't getting much rest these days, she admits it's no time to "chill".  

"As much as you do need balance in life when you are starting something new, you kind of have to have that tunnel vision in order to succeed. Make sure to still take moments [for yourself], but not so many that you fall off your game. Then you reach a certain point and you're like, 'Okay, I'm not looking at this phone for 48 hours.'"

Tyra Banks; Courtesy of SMiZE Cream
Credit: Courtesy of SMiZE Cream

The launch is a long-time coming for Banks, who has a meaningful connection to the frozen treat. "Ice cream makes me happy. I used to bond with my mama [while eating it]," she says. "We used to go to Häagen-Dazs on Friday nights and sit in the car and I'd eat my coffee ice cream and she'd eat her chocolate and we talk about everything."

Fifteen years ago, she starting trying to make this dream a reality, but decided to shelve it for a myriad of reasons. Fast-forward to 2020, and SMiZE cream was set to be one of many attractions at her ModelLand theme park until the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its opening.

"We were supposed to open May 1st of last year, and we all know what happened. The world never got to see this place. It's still there, [but] the lights are turned off. The tech is not on, the sound, and the actors, everybody's gone. When the world is ready for it, we will open."

Banks continues, "When you have to shut down a business, there's so much crazy and drama and just a lot of challenges and it was really messing with my team. We went from 100 people to four people and we decided: 'Let's stop playing defense and start playing offense. What can we do now to create jobs again? What can we do now during this pandemic that can bring hope to our team and happiness to people?'"

Enter: SMiZE Cream, "I was like, 'What if we do that now?' And it was all hands on deck."

Tyra Banks; Courtesy of SMiZE Cream
Credit: Courtesy of SMiZE Cream

Not only is ice cream meant to be delectable, it's meant to delight as well. "I thought, 'The world right now is hurting. What if we gave them a surprise?'"

Banks also plans to expand the company into several other areas, from a children's book series to a mentorship program for underserved communities.

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"I always teach this [during my] personal branding class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business: different is better than better. It's not just about looking at that person over here, or looking at that this business over here, or this service, or this product and saying, 'I'm better.' Sure better is nice, but how are you different?'"

And though Banks might be weeks away from a good night's sleep, she relishes the experience. "It's about the journey."