Telling the truth about SME life today

The strategy Tyra Banks had to become a leading supermodel can be used in business

The winners of VOOM 2016 were MacRebur, which recycles waste plastic into roads, for the Startup category and Bio-Bean, which converts waste coffee grounds into fuel, for the Grow category. Both of the firms claimed a share of the 1m prize fund to win:

  • Cash prize of 50,000 to help business growth
  • Mentoring from Virgin StartUp and VOOM professionals
  • £250,000 marketing campaign, with advertising on JCDecauxs Waterloo Motion (the biggest indoor screen in Europe)
  • Virgin Media Business broadband package
  • Financial advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Tyra Banks was one of the judges sitting alongside Richard Branson to decide the fate of the finalists. In addition to supermodel status, she is also a successful businesswoman, having established fashion reality TV series Americas Next Top Model, which airs in 186 countries.

Additionally, drawing upon her modelling experience further, she created cosmetics firm Tyra Beauty.

Speaking to VOOM host Konnie Huq, Banks spoke of her entrepreneurial spirit  something she said had always been inside of her.

A lot of people look at the modelling industry and say oh, those girls are born that way and become supermodels . But theres a heck of a lot of models that looked way better than me. I look at my old pictures and Im like damn, how the hell do you supermodel when I look at all these other girls that were great.

She claimed that “supermodels are made, not born,” and added it’s not just about a look or a walk.

Highlighting a determination to forge a niche in the industry, much like a business looking to break into new territory, Banks said there was strategy behind what she did.

It really is about a strategy and looking at the white space and saying okay, whats not there How can I penetrate How can I stand out So it’s very deliberate,” Banks said.

I was a very skinny high fashion runway model when my body started to change and, instead of dieting and working out like crazy, I ate burgers and pizza and said ‘okay, who likes ass ‘ I made the list of Sports Illustrated and Victorias Secret. It was really very strategic, so I always had it in me to fight and find a way.

Read more from VOOM 2016:

She also had some tips for tackling public speaking and executing a successful pitch and encouraged body language.

Banks continued: Speak with your hands. It really gets people engaged and tells a story. Speaking with hands really helps when you’re nervous. If you’re speaking with your hands it pulls away the nerves and moves the energy to create a story with your body language.

Closing on another trick up her sleeve, she said: The other thing is be present. As much as youve memorised your pitch, if something happens in the room, if somebody heckles or if I burp, react to it and then go back to your pitch. Stay present and stay in the moment.

So there you have it, model your business the Banks way and the story of your success could be a beautiful one.

David Gandy was a judge on the VOOM 2015 panel and we looked at how the British model was changing the face of business and investment.


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