Your average celebrity throws shade, which by definition is subtle. A true diva like Naomi Campbell has no problem being outright petty. Naomi had the time this week when a screenshot of an article on The Things calling out Tyra Banks appeared on her Instagram story this week. She even went so far as to include a link to the article. The headline read: “Here’s Why Fans Are Starting To Think Tyra Banks Is The Real Mean Girl, Not Naomi Campbell”. It’s like she said, don’t take my word for it, look at the material. However, the material doesn’t dive very deep into who is really at fault in this supermodel feud. It’s all about how Tyra’s image has changed in 2020, causing her woe-is-me narrative attached to this feud to lose a little bit of believability. But that makes Naomi even pettier. She’s saying Tyra wasn’t just a mean girl to her, she’s a mean girl to everyone.
2020 has dealt Banks a terrible hand. When she was announced as the new host (and executive producer) of Dancing With The Stars it immediately left a bad taste in the mouths of the DWTS-hive, largely due to her predecessor Tom Bergeron’s unceremonious dismissal. Mishaps, awkward live TV moments, and the general wacky Tyra-ness on display since she made her debut haven’t helped soothe angry fans either. Then there’s the COVID lockdown-era revisiting of her reality competition series, America’s Next Top Model, through a more evolved lens — and it hasn’t aged well. It’s become the poster child for extremely problematic early 2000s TV. That’s what this article from The Things really gets into. Tyra asking contestants to change their natural look, darkening girls’ skin for a photoshoot, and shaming contestants for personal life choices. All of which the articles claims Naomi would never do.
Nah how did Tyra get away with this LOL pic.twitter.com/XrguUvgWFh— Tanya Compas (@TanyaCompas) May 2, 2020
It’s hard to pinpoint when the Naomi vs. Tyra feud started, but in the early 90s it was rumoured Naomi was unhappy with Tyra being dubbed “the next Naomi.” It was even reported that she urged Karl Lagerfeld to ban Tyra from the Chanel catwalk, allegedly telling him, “If she appears, I don’t.” Tyra tried to air-out their beef on national television back in 2005 on her talk show, when she invited Naomi for a one-on-one chat to get to the core of what happened. She accused Naomi of a lot of mean girl bullying, most of which Naomi couldn’t really recall. “It’s not that deep,” she tells Tyra, but ultimately apologized for whatever emotional pain she caused.
Both women over the years have said the feud is largely made up by the media and further fueled by the competitive and often toxic modelling industry. At the time, designers reserved one spot for a Black model and that pitted them against each other before they even met. Naomi’s been such an ardent supporter of up-and-coming Black models in recent years, so it’s sad to see this feud with Tyra will forever be part of her legacy. Although… she’s not helping by throwing another log on the fire 30 years later.