April 09, 2015 09:32 PM

Tyra Banks updated her look last month, going for a big change with a super-chic (and super-short) pixie. And while she documented her hair transformation thoroughly on Instagram (even showing some interesting inspiration for the cut), the star opens up to PEOPLE about what made her really face the shears.

Courtesy Tyra Banks

“I come from the school of hardcore branding and if you are known for something keep that because that is what the public connects you with,” she explains. “I had long, golden hair as a high-fashion model, and a Victoria’s Secret model and a Sports Illustrated model, and that’s how people know me. But great brands tweak their logos and change up their formula, and I said it’s time for me to do that.”

And after finally taking the plunge (which we assume she was pondering for some time — her first post was captioned “It’s about time”), she was shocked by the positive responses. “I thought people would be like, that’s a model, that’s what they do, they change,” she says.

While she cites a branding change as her inspiration, it may have been mom, Carolyn, who gave her the real push she needed. “My mom keeps talking about my neck,” Banks shares. “She [mom] says, “They know you’ve got a neck now.'”

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Although she says the cut has left her feeling “very exposed,” it’s improved her posture (she has to tell herself to “push those shoulders back”) and changed her style sense. Outfits with “structure and angles” works best with her hair now. “Futuristic businesswoman is what I’m going for with this hair.”

Another person who’s channeling her sophisticated working woman styling approach? Her alter-ego, Life-Size character, Eve.

Do you like Banks’s new cut? Share with us in the comments below.

–Colleen Kratofil, with reporting by Patrick Gomez

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