Supermodel Tyra Banks is currently constructing a new office in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Avenue D. When the dust has settled, this new office space will also be home to Banks’s latest project, a leadership center for girls called the Tyra Banks TZONE at the Lower Eastside Girls Club. TZONE when it’s finished will be an incredible 30,000-square-foot complex with all sorts of amenities, including a bakery, a wellness center, a studio space and even a planetarium. Banks began this project as a way to empower young female entrepreneurs, she told the New York Times, “My dream was to have a place that was brick and mortar, where they could build on that experience all the time. The real impact is to have consistency, as opposed to an excursion.” And Banks plans to lead by example, she will be working out of her office in the LES building whenever she’s in New York and showing the young ladies the power of determination and focus. Banks wants the girls to treat her just like anyone else and consider her presence to be totally normal. According to her, what’s important is that the girls get to know her and see the business woman and all the work that goes into the glamorous image of her as a celebrity. She said, “What I don’t want to be is Tyra, the “celebrity girl,” coming here and the girls being excited when they see me … I want them to be numb to me. I can do normal work here and they can see me, to know that this is what a business is. It’s not about living on a red carpet. I am a businesswoman who goes to work every single day.” The new building is the latest incarnation of Banks’s TZONE project which began in 1999 as a series of summer camps to build self-esteem in young girls. Tyra Banks TZONE, when it opens, is sure to be a source of inspiration to young business-minded women, offering insight and opportunities to young ladies who might have otherwise had none.
-Emily Kirkpatrick for The Untitled Magazine