From the moment the idea for Modelland came to me while driving down the FDR to the second my editor said, “Pencils down, Tyra,” five long years passed, but Modellandfinally made its way into the world. Once the novel hit the shelves, I began smizing from ear to ear and then embarked on a five-city tour to bring Modelland to my fam. (I call them fams not fans because they are family to me!) In between Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and New York, I found one common theme between everyone that came to see me. In every city, young girls shared fears and questions on how to accept their appearances and how to deal with bullies who make self-love that much harder.
When I was in elementary school, I was the mean girl; I was the bully. Then I turned 11, grew 3 inches, lost 30 pounds in three months, and suddenly found that I was the one being bullied. Perhaps this action was deserved? I got the chance to see how I made other girls feel when I was the leader of the mean pack. Nevertheless, I’ve seen both spectrums and want children and adults all over to realize that bullying is not ok.
On my book tour, I realized that Modelland would allow me to continue to reach young girls and push society’s idea of beautiful, just like America’s Next Top Model. Anyone who’s watched the show knows that I am passionate about atypical beauties, and Modelland is continuing that idea.
The campy, fun, and adventurous world of Tookie De La Crème and Modelland works to share the message of celebrating individuality and unique beauty by transporting readers to my wacky, neon magical world of fantasy, sprinkled with glimpses of my personal life, experiences, and a larger message of beauty and acceptance.
While I dreamt up Tookie, I put many of my own traits into her personality and appearance--from her forehead that goes on and on and on to her insecurity to the fact that she started modeling at 15. More importantly, I created Tookie to relate to everyone and serve as a platform for discussion regarding the fact that beauty should not be defined by clothing size, hair color, or body shape. I want my readers to connect with Tookie and her friends in Modelland--Shiraz, Dylan, and Piper--because they are different, because they are unique, and because they represent YOU.
So now I give Modelland to you and encourage you to not only enter the thrilling world, but connect with Tookie and her journey while expanding your own definition of beauty.