Forehead Tyra Banks recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss Cycle 19 of America's Next Top Model (all the judges and mentors you love—Nigel, Jay, and Miss J—have been fired and replaced with sandbags with frowny faces drawn on them), her hopes for the show's future (it's been moved to Fridays at 8 p.m., so: none), and what it's like being literally the most respected and best person in America.
Predictably, Tyra let loose with the signature lack of self-awareness that makes her such a classic role model for girls everywhere who would describe themselves using the word "sassy."
Here are the five best moments:
1. Did you know Tyra went to Harvard?
In 2011, Tyra Banks enrolled in a nine-week $33,000 executive education program at Harvard Business School, where she majored in telling people she went to Harvard. While at Harvard, Banks did many things at Harvard. One of those things was leave to take phone calls in the middle of her Harvard classes. No doubt you are impressed with the quality of the education (Harvard) Banks was missing when she left the room to take phonecalls.
I got a call from my boss ... who said we needed to make some serious changes. It was a phone call that left me nervous and shaking. I hung up the phone — I got pulled out of a class at Harvard to take the call — and went back into the class, but I couldn't focus on the professor.
2. America's Next Top Model: Cycle 19 is the toast of New York's literary circles.
Tyra Banks recently hosted the debut party of America's Next Top Model: Cycle 19, and was hounded for discussion about it by "every single reporter in New York City."
"Is it true Miss J is really gone?" asked David Remnick.
"Is the vibe weird without Nigel?" wondered Charlie Rose.
"Don't I recognize you from Harvard?" asked someone who went to Harvard.
[Y]esterday we had a debut party and did a screening of the first episode, and every single reporter in New York City was there ... and they were super excited, wanting to talk about all the changes.
3. Tyra Banks recently went on a spiritual journey to Bali to meditate on Season 1 of America's Next Top Model and study the teachings of herself.
I took a break. I had to check out a little bit and realized I needed to go away. I went to Bali and took the entire first season with me on discs and studied it while I was there to understand why we are successful...
4. Tyra Banks has mixed feelings about the complicated problem of Shenae Grimes. She wonders aloud whether a Shenae Grimes guest episode will generate hate mail. She does not know where she stands on the polarizing issue of amateur photographer and actress Shenae Grimes.
Shenae Grimes from 90210 is the photographer for the photo shoot in week two, [a taxidermy-themed shoot]. I still don't know how to feel about that shoot because I don't wear fur. I don't know if we'll get hate mail about it. I'm not sure where I stand.
5. The pièce de résistance: Tyra Banks reveals she had to teach Americans what was beautiful before she could allow them to choose their own Next Top Models. (Contestants from cycle 19 will be eliminated using a complicated algorithm that incorporates social media users' votes as a percentage of a final score.)
First, I'll tell you why it was important not to [allow audience participation] in the beginning. I created Top Model because I wanted to expand the definition of beauty and wanted a platform to do it. People think I just wanted to discover models, but that was secondary. I wanted to highlight atypical beauty, unique beauty, so the ugly-duckling girls at home who were not feeling beautiful could see other girls with a gap in their teeth or super pale or with big frizzy red hair being called beautiful and could feel better about themselves.
…Over the course of the years, the audience is now not just choosing the cheerleader or the pretty girl in the mall. They realize that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes with freckles and frizz. I felt comfortable enough that the audience wouldn't just go for the cheerleader now.
Cycle 19 of America's Next Top Model Friday at 8 p.m., so don't pretend you'll watch it.