'I would try to stuff food down my throat to gain weight': Tyra Banks on being so skinny at age 11, everyone thought she was sick
17:31 GMT, 17 September 2012
Supermodel and TV personality Tyra Banks has told how she was bullied as a child because of her pencil-thin physique and was riddled with insecurity.
The 38-year-old who regularly tops lists detailing the world's most beautiful and influential women, described how as an 11-year-old she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in the space of three months, causing her to look 'sick and frail'.
Despite increasing her food intake she was unable to gain weight and in the end she was hospitalized as doctors tried to diagnose her condition.
Childhood insecurities: Tyra Banks revealed that she was bullied because of her slender physique
Ms Banks, who started modelling aged 15 told the Huffington Post Live: 'When I was 11 years old, I grew three
inches and lost 30 pounds in three months.
'So I went from being a mean
bully, cute little chubby little girl to shooting up, [weighing] 98
pounds and just looking sick and frail.
'I wasn't sick, but people thought there
was something wrong with me. I was the brunt of every joke, every bad
thing. I hated my reflection in the mirror. I would try to stuff food down my throat to gain weight.'
Eventually after a short stint in
hospital Ms Banks' health started to improve and thanks to her growth spurt she found
success in the modelling industry.
'I went from being a mean bully, cute little chubby little girl to shooting up, [weighing] 98 pounds and just looking sick and frail,' Tyra Banks said
Standing tall: Ms Banks said that in the space of three months she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds
In her first runway season, she was
booked to walk at 25 shows at the 1991 Paris Fashion Week and later she
became the first-ever African American to front the Victoria's Secret
While she has witnessed career success, the Top Model judge adds that her childhood insecurities still haunt her.
added: 'Even though I later gained weight and became a supermodel, that
girl always lived inside of me and I know what that felt like.
'I start projecting images that I know make my 11-year-old self insecure.'
Growth spurt: 5ft 10in Ms Banks demonstrates her towering proportions
In the spotlight: This year Ms Banks featured in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list
The 5ft 10in star says that she is trying to help other youngsters in her position through her TZONE foundation at the Lower Eastside Girls Club in New York, which fosters female entrepreneurship.
Ms Banks founded the TZONE program in 1999, which aims at leadership and life skills development.
Her show America’s Next Top Model kicked off its astonishing 19th cycle at the end of last month.