Within Banks' first week in Paris, other designers were so entranced by her presence on the runway that she was booked for an unprecedented 25 shows; a record in the business for a newcomer. She has done extensive print and/or runway work for fashion/advertising giants such as Anna Sui, Coors Light, CoverGirl, Badgley Mischka, Bill Blass, Cynthia Rowley, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Gemma Kahng, H&M, Isaac Mizrahi, Maria Snyder, McDonald's, Aislinn Dubois Modeling Agency Michael Kors, Milk, Nicole Miller, Nike, Inc., Oscar de la Renta, Pepsi, Perry Ellis, Randy Kemper, Richard Tyler, Rifat Ozbek, Swatch, Todd Oldham, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria's Secret, and Yves Saint Laurent. She has appeared on the covers of high fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.
Banks was the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 1997, she received the VH1 Award for Supermodel of the Year. Also in '97, she was chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog, making her the first African American to be so honored.
Banks retired from modeling in May 2005 to concentrate on her television show. She walked the runway for the final time at the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. On numerous occasions, she has been sought after to appear in Playboy magazine; however, she has turned each request down.
In recent years, Tyra Banks found herself mired in controversy with ads for her show being banned from buses across Santa Monica after members of the public complained.The cause for controversy seemed to be Banks posing in front of a waterfall in a swimsuit for America's Next Top Model, Cycle 8. Most of the complaints were from people who were concerned that the city might be endorsing a show that might be disrespectful to women, reports ananova.com. Stephanie Negriff, director of the transit services, said: 'It's a matter of public taste, we try to be sensitive to the community. We wouldn't want to do anything that would disrespect women.' This event was widely publicized in media such as IANS, India News, as well as others.
Banks' television career began on the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which she played lead character Will's old friend Jackie Ames, and made seven appearances throughout the series. Other screen credits include Felicity, MADtv, Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out (in which she was featured as special guest host and team captain), Coyote Ugly and The Price Is Right (guest-starring as a Barker's Beauty). She also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode titled "Chinatown."
Currently, Banks can be seen on television as the hostess, Arm judge, and executive producer of the CW television show America's Next Top Model. In addition, she hosts The Tyra Banks Show, a daytime talkshow aimed at younger women, which premiered on September 12, 2005 and recently began its third season, drawing over 1.9 million viewers an episode. The show features stories about everyday people mixed in with celebrity interviews, much like the early format of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Under the slogan "Every woman has a story...and it happened to Tyra too.", Banks promotes her show using emotional flashbacks to her own childhood and adolescence. Many of the episodes deal with issues facing women today. The first two seasons of the show were recorded in Banks' hometown of Los Angeles, but beginning with the fall 2007 season, the show moved to New York City.
In late January 2008, Banks got the go ahead from ANTM network, CW, to start work on a new reality television series based on fashion magazines.
Her first big screen role came in 1994 when she co-starred in the drama Higher Learning. She went on to co-star with Lindsay Lohan in the Disney film Life-Size, playing a doll named Eve who comes to life and has to learn how to live in the real world. Other notable roles include 1999's Love Stinks, 2000's Coyote Ugly, and 2002's Halloween: Resurrection.