EXCLUSIVE: Tyra Banks shares life lessons, motivation at Central California Women's Conference

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tyra Banks walked into a pre-conference reception to rousing applause and immediately made the audience feel at ease.

Instead of first talking about herself, as she took questions from people, she wanted to know about them.

"Stand up and say your name and something crazy you did in the last six months," Banks said.

That interest in others is what brought her to the Central California Women's Conference to connect with women and share experiences.

"Tyra is so real, it's breaking boundaries, we've worked the theme around her because that's what she's been doing all her life," said Jan Edwards, Director of Marketing for the Central California Women's Conference.

In an Action News' exclusive interview with the ground-breaking supermodel and businesswoman, she talked about her most important title of mom and how motherhood changed her priorities.

"All I knew was work and persona was secondary and doing anything fun was secondary and now it's more important that I'm there for my little pumpkin. That is everything for me," Banks said.

During her keynote speech, Tyra praised her mother for being a driving force in building her career. Now she's paying it forward whether it's teaching business classes at Stanford or spreading her message that perfect is boring and what promoting what she calls, beauty, booty and being a boss.

"Beauty for me is about the tips and tricks to get you to look like the hell you want and also busting down those beauty boxes that beauty is not just one thing. The booty is about whether it's dimpled, flat, jiggly, it's all fine and delicious we have to learn to love it," Banks said. "And being a boss is being in control of yourself. And it doesn't mean going to work and being a boss. It means are you a boss at home are you a boss at making your decisions. That's what being a boss is...it's being in control of you."

Action News also discovered, Tyra's connection to the Valley runs deep with her father, grandparents and many other relatives in Fresno. Her cousin, Cheryl Riggins shared pictures of a teenage Tyra and beamed with pride.

"Oh we're proud, we've always been proud to say that she's our cousin, supermodel Tyra Banks but when we're around her, it's just normal," Riggins said.

Now, if only they could just get her to come to the Fresno family reunion.

"My dad goes every year and he's like please come," Banks laughed. "I send my love to my family."

Until the next Fresno family reunion, Tyra dined at local favorite, Chef Paul's in downtown Fresno.

Owner Paul Pearson posted on Instagram telling Tyra, "it was a pleasure hosting you".

Tyra's current venture is a soon-to-open, theme-park-style entertainment center called Model-land in Santa Monica, which is part of her on-going effort to show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
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