Tyra Banks to Launch Modelland, Whatever the Hell That Means


Portmanteau junkie and facial contortionist Tyra Banks is set to launch a new venture, Modelland, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is.

In an interview with Variety announcing the… thing, Banks danced so hard around what exactly Modelland is that it was as though the interviewer were shooting literal bullets at her feet, and not asking hilariously straightforward questions like, “What is the purpose of Modelland?”

Variety says the Modelland is “an attraction set to open in late 2019 in Santa Monica, Calif. The multi-level 21,000 sq. ft space, which will include retail and dining options, will be open to the public, who can buy tickets.” Okay. At one point in the interview Banks compared herself to Walt Disney??? Not okay! Let’s go over the number of times Banks didn’t explain to Variety just what in the world she’s trying to do here. (Amazingly, the quotes attributed to her below are actual quotes.)

Me (reading and talking to myself): What is Modelland?

Banks: “Modelland has been in the works for 10 years. 10 very intense years. I’ve kept it close to my heart and dedicated a lot of energy and time to it — qualitative and quantitative research, think tank sessions, iterations of business plans, potential sites visits, staffing up. With some serious laser-focused tunnel-vision and a hardworking, expert team, Modelland is finally coming to life.”

Me: But what is Modelland?

Banks: “Modelland is going to be a place where the modeling world meets fantasy, meets entertainment, meets technology, meets retail, meets dining, meets … your fiercest best self you could ever imagine. From the beginning, when creating this attraction, I wanted Modelland to go beyond just a place to go to, but to be a place to feel emotion.”

Me: But what is it?

Banks: “Of course, there will be an elevated social media component that will allow for our global community to engage and get delightful tastes of Modelland. That is crucial. The extra special treat is at the attraction, in the flesh.”

Me: But what is it? Modelland???

Banks: “I’ve got a strong Modelland headquarters team. Modelland is not just a place to us; It’s a movement. Yes, it’s an attraction and a destination, but above all, it’s the genesis for people with all types of different beauty to feel seen and validated.”

Me: I’m sorry, what exactly is Modelland?

Banks: “Modelland will be a multi-level ticketed attraction, so there will be different ways in which you can experience it. There will be a robust retail offering and experiential dining — not your typical restaurant outing. It will be way beyond that. But that’s all I can say about that for now.”

Me: I don’t get it. What is Modelland?

Banks: “This is where you come as a mom or dad to bring your teenage daughter or son, host your birthday or bachelorette party, where couples come on a date. There will be something for everyone.”

Me: ????

Banks: “Without getting into specifics, there will be content elements that are programmable throughout the attraction. The producer and storyteller in me cannot resist.”

Me: Now compare yourself to Disney.

Banks: “I’ve always looked up to Walt Disney’s empire. He’s created this world for us that we love as a child, cherish as an adult and enjoy as a family. It’s his legacy that is never ending. I have always wanted to create something that exists beyond me, so that when my time on Earth is done, people — young, old, women, men, families, friends — will still have many outlets and physical destinations to visit to be the dream versions of themselves, to have their beauty celebrated and to just let loose and have fun.”

Now let’s turn to Michael Guerin, SVP of leasing at Macerich, the property in Santa Monica, California, that Modelland will call home, to see if he can provide some clarity: “Santa Monica Place is the perfect setting for the groundbreaking Modelland concept and we are so pleased to welcome this exceptional, multi-layered entertainment, retail and dining attraction to our world-class destination.”

Nope. Can’t wait to go!

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