Jay Manuel Says He Will 'Always Speak Positively' About Tyra Banks Despite Their Rift
Manuel, who worked as the creative director on 18 seasons of the competition show, recently sat down with Ria Ciuffo and Francesca Mariano of Barstool’s Chicks in the Office podcast and shared why, despite his falling out with Banks, he will “always speak positively” of her.
"In terms of my feelings for Tyra, our relationship isn't what it was. However, I still will always speak positively about her," Manuel, 48, said. "I respect everything that she represents, every door she's kicked down—as a woman, as a Black woman; what she represents to so many young Brown and Black girls and boys in the industry, so I will never, ever speak negatively against that."
Still, he shared his discomfort with the way Banks treated him when he first left the show after Cycle 8, when he was “ready to move on.”
"She basically just said 'I'm disappointed' and that was it and kind of cut me off," the makeup artist said. "And even outside of the show, we would almost talk every day and it was very weird."
Later, he said Banks, 46, apologized and he “went back under pressure” to work on the show for ten additional seasons.
In May, Manuel first opened up about some of his more "uncomfortable" experiences during his time on ANTM, and how he hasn't maintained a close relationship with Banks, who served as host and executive producer.
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"Over the past few years, we've emailed," he told Variety. "To be very honest, we really have no relationship to speak of, which is really sad."
Manuel also addressed recent criticism of Banks who has come under fire as ANTM clips resurfaced and were slammed for being insensitive and problematic. Recalling a challenge from Cycle 4 which asked contestants to "swap races," Manuel said that made him feel "so, so, so uncomfortable."
Banks later responded to the backlash on Twitter, agreeing that some of ANTM's past moments were "really off choices."
"Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs," she wrote in a tweet at the time.