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June 1, 2008

Banksable: Tyra

Tyra Banks has 275 smiles. Like a star athlete who has perfected a jump shot or a curveball, Banks has studied, honed and mastered the smile. In her arsenal are the “surprise smile,” the “angry but still smiling” smile, the “flirting with boyfriend” smile and the “commercial” smile, which, like the rest of Tyra’s smiles, was designed and perfected when Banks, who is now 34, began modeling at 15. From the start of her career, when she was virtually plucked from an all-girl Catholic high school in Los Angeles and whisked off to Paris, to her days as a mass-market first-name-only supermodel strutting the catwalk in her underwear for Victoria’s Secret, Banks always treated modeling as a kind of beautiful science. Then, and now, the smiles were her secret weapons: they could compel, manipulate, seduce. Banks did not become a model to be a muse to designers or because she loved fashion. Modeling — and smiling — was a skill that could, if engineered and managed carefully, change the course of your life. continue reading

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