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Tyra Banks Thrills Teens at Book Signing

By DNAinfo Staff on September 26, 2011 7:35am

By Meghan Keneally

Special to DNAinfo

MIDTOWN — Libraries don’t typically allow hundreds of screaming teenage girls to shout and take photos but, when model turned author Tyra Banks comes to town, all rules go out the door.

The model and television personality hosted a signing of her new book, Modelland, at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue Sunday and spent an hour and a half talking to her legion of teenage fans.

Nearly 500 people, mostly teenage girls but also some teenage boys and parental chaperones, attended the talk, which was a part of the library’s TEENLive program.

Modelland is Banks’s first foray into fantasy fiction writing, though she said that the main character has some clearly real inspirations.

“They say ‘write what you know’ and Tookie De La Crème [the main character] has a lot of me in there,” Banks said.

The location of the event was significant to Banks because she wrote much of the book in the library’s reading room, which she found to be “humbling” because of the grandeur of the room.

Modelland, which is the first in a trilogy, is Bank’s first fictional book, though she co-authored a book called Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out in 1998. The storytelling experience translated to changes on her reality show, America’s Next Top Model, which is now in it’s 17th cycle. 

“Over the last five years, because I was writing and telling a story, I began pushing the girls (on the show) even more, getting them to tell me more about the story behind the picture,” she said.

Sunday's event started with screaming and picture taking, followed by a Banks-led posing session. In keeping with the theme of the book, the model then discussed her own battles with self-esteem issues. The book centers around four female characters and addresses issues like albinism, self-harm and body issues.

Banks later waded into the audience to answer questions from the girls personally, which was met with admiration and even some tears.

She hopes that her personable nature and connection with teenage girls will make the book a success.

“I think it’s going to be a good read,” she said. “It’s going to be one of those things thats kind of a guilty pleasure but you’re still getting something out of it.”