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Tyra Banks: If I Wasn't Born Beautiful, 'I'd Be in the Billionaires' Club'

Updated

Prepare to yell “I’m so old” into the void of the Internet: There have been 20 cycles of
American’s Next Top Model
so far. And to celebrate the 21st, the smize queen herself, Tyra Banks is here to dish (what else?) on “models these days,” talking cellulite with Hillary Clinton and how her looks have kept her back from her full earning poential.

Tyra Banks
Maarten de Boer/Getty

The biggest difference between ANTM now and when she started? Up-and-coming models are social media stars — and not necessarily looking to be in Vogue, she tells
The New York Times Magazine
. Her impression of a young contestant answering how she learned to model: “I don’t knooooww. I’m on social media and I, like, put the timer on my cameerraaa? And I just kinda pose?”

After so many seasons, Banks has the art of TV longevity down to a science, from seeing through the “reality TV archetypes” to eliminating audience voting. “Some of us understand that quirky is cool, that freckles are cool, that a gap is cool in teeth, that eyes that are far apart are cool or a big forehead is cool,” she explained. “But the majority of the population doesn’t.”

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And trying to find work for her contestants is top priority — hence why you’re unlikely to see a plus-size male model on the show. “I’ve never seen that in real life,” she explains. “I know it’s harder for guys. For girls, we have plus-size models. Guys kind of have to have six-pack abs or be thin.”

While being who she is has earned her a lot of opportunities (including the chance to have Hillary Clinton visit her talk show: “We talked about cellulite and she was like: ‘Yeah, I’ve got cellulite, and I look in the mirror, and I don’t have any clothes on, and I don’t like everything I see.’ It was that kind of conversation.”), the biggest revelation from the successful model/actress/entrepreneur is that she says if she wasn’t a model, she’d actually be a whole lot richer. “I probably would have made a hell of a lot more money by now,” she shares. “Because I have a personal brand, I have to worry about all this personal-image crap. I am constantly saying no to things because of it. If I didn’t, child, I think I’d be in the billionaires’ club.”

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Are you watching the new season? Sound off in the comments below.

–Colleen Kratofil