Nine years after she wrote and published a semi-autobiographical YA novel titled Modelland, Tyra Banks‘s fantasy world is getting an, um, life-size update via a theme park of the same name. Puns aside, it’s actually set to be quite a bit larger than life: Banks told WWD that the complex will encompass 21,000 square feet’s worth of space that “anybody can enter and feel like a model.” (Presumably without all of the industry’s diversity- and health-related complications—not to mention more “Be quiet, Tiffany”-like outbursts.)
In addition to furthering her mission to bring modeling to the masses, the theme park also marks an expansion of Banks’s increasingly sizable empire in California, which already consists of no less than four multimillion-dollar properties in the Pacific Palisades. (For reference, that’s more than Taylor Swift.) This time, however, she’s shifted over to Santa Monica, where she’ll be taking over a section of its open-air mall, Santa Monica Place.
Even for a supermodel who’s expanded into real estate, emojis, reality TV, and teaching at Stanford, a theme park seems a bit out of the blue. Banks did not, however, foray into this new territory on a whim: “inspired by Disneyland,” which she frequented as a child, Banks said that she’s in fact been “work[ing] tirelessly with laser-focused tunnel vision to bring it to fruition” for “10 intense years” now. That certainly explains why she now apparently considers opening the park—aka her “ultimate dream”—to be tantamount to her destiny. (Her ecstatic announcement of the news on Instagram, for example, concluded, “I can’t wait for you to Step Into Your Light.”)
But that’s not all! Even though WWD described extracting specifics about Modelland as “a bit like a game of 20 questions,” information about at least some of what’s to come already abounds. For example, you can rest assured that Modelland will be here to stay, thanks to Banks’s insistence that is not a pop-up. It also won’t be hosting daily runway shows—the very concept of which downright offended Banks, who dismissed that idea immediately. “That’s low hanging fruit,” she said. “This is bursting the door open and redefining what a model is. It’s all about inclusiveness.”
She then went on to critique perhaps the only other venture that resembles her own: the erstwhile “Fashion Café” that opened up inside Rockefeller Center—complete with a runway—in the ’90s. Unfortunately, not even supers-turned-salespeople like Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell could convince its patrons to fall for dishes like “Naomi’s fish and chips”—a failure that Banks has not forgotten. “They really missed the mark with that,” she reminisced. (Let’s not forget that this criticism isn’t just coming from a wildly successful supermodel-entrepreneur, but also one who’s about to embark on her third year teaching at Stanford Business School.)
As for when you’ll be able to “step into your light,” Modelland is set to open up later this year, though “hard hat tours” will kick off in August. In the meantime, you can find plenty of more information on the park’s website, which sets the expectations sky-high with an air of ultra-confidence akin to that of—knock on wood—Fyre Fest. Modelland isn’t just a “first-of-its-kind experiential attraction” complete with “state-of-the-art interactive entertainment, creative collaborations, curated retail, dining and special events.” It’s also a “global community” and a “gathering place” for locals and visitors alike, the latter of whom will be able to embark on “a transformational journey.” (Not to mention “awaken [their] childlike glee.”) In the words of Tyra, “fierce”!