Does Tyra Banks Think Kendall & Gigi Are 'Real' Models?

Back in April, former supermodel Rebecca Romijn questioned Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid’s statuses as supermodels. Her reasoning was that models of today simply garner their fame through social media, as opposed to the organic and relatively unglamorous process through which OG supermodels gained a following prior to social media. Then, just last week, original supermodel Stephanie Seymour echoed the same sentiment, telling Vanity Fair that while Jenner and Hadid are "beautiful girls," they are not supermodels, but rather, "bitches of the moment."

Now, Tyra Banks is putting in her two cents. As someone who started her career in fashion and later built her brand through her reality television show America’s Next Top Model, Banks’ unique experience allows her to empathize with both original supermodels and models of today. In an essay published on her website, she writes from both perspectives in hopes to find some middle ground and end the debate for good.

Banks begins her essay by addressing her original supermodel besties, calling them her “sisters” and her “girls.” She understands they are frustrated that Jenner, Hadid, and countless other models of today have been given the title “supermodel”—a title models years ago gave “blood, sweat, fears and floods of tears” to attain.

“We started out by booking low-end work for janky magazines that no longer exist and walked in way too many showroom fashion shows at the local mall,” Banks recounts. “We worked runways and shot magazine spreads together, schlepped to countless go-sees, used pay phones for on-the-go communication, and subways for transportation around the globe—no cell phones, Ubers or Lyfts around.”

With this in mind, Banks explains, “We witness young girls on reality shows and super popular girls on social media now being called Supermodels and think, ‘WHAT?! It's not fair! Is that kind of success even real?’”

The answer? "Yes. IT IS REAL." Banks then addresses the newcomers, also referring to them as her sisters and her girls. She acknowledges that they will never have to go through the tireless, painstaking process former supermodels went through to reach their status in the fashion industry, but she understands they work just as hard to overcome new challenges.

“You're driving yourself into exhaustion all while showing the world post by post that it looks so easy, when in reality, it is anything but,” Banks states understandingly. “You have to be perfect but relatable, friendly yet intimidating, sexy but not too much or you'll get barraged with the capital 'S' word all over your feeds. You have to look put together all the time, not just on the catwalk but as you arrive backstage. The world is watching your every move, judging whether or not you have acceptable personal style.”

Banks ends her essay by calling both original and new supermodels to end the fighting and support one another. “I've had enough pain from my modeling years in the past,” she says, “and seeing my sisters in conflict today brings back those gut-wrenching memories. So, let's band together and unite. Please end the fight.”

Mic drop.