For die-hard “America’s Next Top Model” fans, it may be hard to believe, but the CW hit is on its way to premiering its 18th cycle. Just with the work that comes with executive producing (and hosting) a show alone, some may wonder how Tyra Banks found the time to graduate, not just from college, but Harvard University’s Executive Education Owner/President Manager program.
The” how” is actually pretty easy to explain. Individuals that apply and are accepted (a feat until itself) into the program attend a series of three-week sessions, once a year, for three years. The schedule is certainly more flexible than the cost of tuition (currently, it’s around $33,000 per year). And so while Tyra definitely has a lot on her plate, it may be understandable how she could fit the study time into her schedule.
However, what is perhaps more remarkable is the “why” behind why she decided to do it. After all, this former supermodel that has made her own history. With accolades like being the first African American women to grace the cover of “Sports Illustrated” magazine’s swimsuit issue and with a portfolio that is currently estimated to be worth well over 90 million dollars, Tyra certainly proves that you don’t have to have a post-secondary degree to be successful. Without question, as a model, actress, former talk show host and businesswoman, she has definitely made a household name for herself. Degree or no degree.
But, due to the huge amount of influence that she has over young women, because of the fact that she takes not just modeling but being a role model very seriously and literally, it appears that Tyra felt that going back to school was a wise choice—a way to inspire other young women to embrace the power of education. And, considering what she got her certificate in (a program that is designed specifically for CEOS, presidents and other business leaders in executive positions with companies that bring in annual sales of $5 million or more), it would also seem that it may provide us with a forecast of what’s to come; that Tyra may be doing well, but she is not satisfied with where she is. She wants more.
What many may not know is that after being accepted into UCLA and USC, Tyra chose to attend Loyola Marymount University; however, she dropped out to pursue modeling. In spite of her amazing success, years later, Tyra went back to college. That within itself is pretty inspiring because whether you’re a teenage girl or a full-grown adult, it reminds us all to strive for more than what we have already accomplished. For some, that may be writing a book, starting a business or even enrolling into an MBA executive program, but if Tyra can set higher goals for herself, it should serve as a reminder that we all can. You never know how achieving big goals will affect you.
Matter of fact, it would appear that Tyra’s Harvard education (and graduation) may have even had some creative influence even on her. While Cycle 18′s theme is “The British Invasion”, Cycle 19 (which will premiere in the fall of 2012) will be “The College Edition”. All of the competing models will come from post-secondary schools from colleges and universities, to trade schools with focuses like cosmetology and art.
If that doesn’t motivate some young women to focus on not just beauty, but brains, what will?