Judges with a lot of life lessons: Nigel Barker, Janice Dickinson, Tyra Banks, and Eric Nicholson, Getty Images.

Judges with a lot of life lessons: Nigel Barker, Janice Dickinson, Tyra Banks, and Eric Nicholson, Getty Images.

10 LIFE LESSONS TYRA BANKS AND ANTM TAUGHT US

To commemorate Tyra Banks’ birthday and the last ever series of America’s Next Top Model, we run down the ten biggest life lessons the Queen of Smize has taught us over the years.

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10. YOU CAN ALWAYS TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE
Thanks to Tyra, we all started using the word fierce, which normally has negative connotations, in a surprisingly positive way. First uttered in cycle one, “fierce” became the word to describe strong, confident photos, attitude and poses throughout the entire series – and eventually, into pop cultural lexicon for anything inspiring and powerful. 

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9. FIRST IMPRESSIONS SERIOUSLY COUNT
In cycle five, Tyra recounts a story about how she was once on a plane and asked by a photographer for her passport. Based on that one photo, she booked several catwalk shows. The moral? First impressions can often benefit more than we think, so make sure you’re putting the best version of you forward whenever you meet new people.

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8. OVERCOME OBSTACLES WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
The makeover episodes of each cycle are guaranteed to bring a flood of tears – or outright rage (see Brandy in cycle four, pictured) – especially if it involves a pixie cut or some drastic colour change. But what Tyra and ANTM have taught us is that although sometimes things go wrong in life, what really counts is that you bounce back, preferably smiling. 

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7. MAKE IT FASHION
Amazingly, in cycle eight, Tyra had this very straight-talking nugget of wisdom to give to the girls when it came to posing for sexy photos: “Modelling is being a ho, but make it fashion”. She proceeded to act out certain postures and then contorted them into high-fashion angles. 

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6. STAY OUT OF DRAMA
It feels like an episode doesn’t go by on ANTM without some catfight between the contestants. But what might make for entertaining television also shows us that being argumentative, mean or outrageously selfish rarely results in a cycle-winning model. Staying out of drama also means you’re likely to be cooperative or are able to defuse intense situations, both highly regarded attributes in a friend or colleague!  

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5. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
Tyra talked constantly about the significance of personal branding on ANTM before it even become a thing amongst the social media savvy set. And to practise what she preached, Tyra went on to launch her own fierce production company, perfume and beauty line, plus release everything from a music video to books.

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4. DON’T BE A QUITTER, ESPECIALLY ON TYRA’S WATCH
Perhaps one of the most famous incidents on ANTM ever, in cycle four when Tiffany gave up on a challenge and took the whole thing as a joke, Tyra had this to say: “I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this. When my mother yells like this it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you! How dare you! Learn something from this! [When] you go to bed at night, you lay there and you take responsibility for yourself – because nobody’s going to take responsibility for you.”

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3. EVEN IF THERE’S NOT A LOT THERE, YOU’VE GOT THE BOOTY TOOCH
Cycle 17 brought into the world the Booty Tooch. Tyra taught the girls how the move – pop your booty out, not in – could make you look taller and curvier in photos. She even demonstrated it on national television whilst visiting Jimmy Fallon. Which begs the question: does Kim Kardashian watch ANTM?

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2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Confidence has always been key on ANTM, whether on a photo shoot, go-see or a television commercial. And then you have contestants such as CariDee English (winner of cycle seven) and Chantelle Brown-Young (pictured), who overcame insecurities about their respective skin conditions to not only wow the judges, but also change the industry’s minds about what it really means to be “model material”.  

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1. YOU CAN SMILE WITH YOUR EYES
Although there have been many unique (and, yes, silly!) terms that have been coined by Tyra over the years, the most enduring and iconic is smize, of course. First used in cycle 13, it simply means “to smile with your eyes”. And to this day, it’s the smize that is the secret to the perfect selfie.

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