Tyra Banks was at the Digitas Newfronts last week to promote Bankable Enterprises, her partnership with Demand Media for TypeF.com, and her platonic ideal of beauty (which is that she doesn’t have one).
The model and television personality was poised and articulate on stage as she explained how she hates hegemonic commercial beauty norms (“I was put on earth to expand the definition of beauty,” she said. “The definition of beauty is very narrow and it angers me.”) and was courted by the same guys behind Livestrong and Cracked (“The other companies just wanted to use my name…but Demand Media wanted to build something with me.”), all while maintaining an unbelievably good-looking posture that would make even Alexander feel a little scoliotic.
That’s the reason why I was taken aback when she screened the latest installment from her original web series, Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion. The Tyra on stage was calm and cool, but the Tyra on screen invoked a caricature of Oprah. The pitch and volume of her voice resembled a cardiogram more than a media superstar, though I guess that’s the way Tyra emotes.
Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion is the headliner in terms of original web series for TypeF. “I’ve always wanted to bring fashion to the people,” Banks explained, “[The show] is comedy meets historical references and education about where fashions come from, as well as how it can appeal to you.” In each installment, Banks and co-host and former Editor-at-Large for Vogue Magazine André Leon Talley don exotic outfits and rough accents as they take viewers on a three to five-minute tour and crash course of a specific fashion item and/or accessory. Installments cover things like skinny jeans, stilletos, jump suits, trench coats and more.
They’re not bad! They just could be better. You know how back in 2009 Jon Stewart criticized Jim Cramer for talking about the economic climate and using sound effects and catchphrases to explain the recession to the American people? And how he said Cramer would be more effective at conveying his message if he toned it down and talked to the camera like a human person instead of a human person desperately trying to be the center of attention? I feel like that about Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion.
I know. Tyra’s show focuses on a subject with far less gravitas than foreclosures and toxic assets and unemployment rates, but you get my point. If Tyra stopped trying to be so eccentric and started being a couple degrees more chill, I think she’d find herself with a few more viewers.
Check out Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion and more beauty and fashion content at TypeF.com.