Speaking with ET's Nischelle Turner at a ANTM press conference on Monday, Banks explained, "Fans drew me back, blowing up my social media… They were very adamant and very emotional."
Banks took one cycle off from the long-running series -- during which singer Rita Ora took over hosting duties
-- but she couldn't stay away for long, and she's bringing some big changes with her to the new cycle.
"I say screw the number. Throw away age," Banks, 43, explained. "It's not how old you are, it's how old you look. So if you are 42 and you look 27, honey, you should model for 27-year-old things. Then once you do look 42 there's a hell of a lot of 42-year-old women that want to look at somebody that looks like them."
"I feel like it should be a career that can go forever," she added. "And presently, it's not."
Banks, who is currently the host of America's Got Talent
as well, is also the mother of a 1-year-old boy, York. According to the TV personality and veteran fashion icon, she'd support her son if he grew up wanting to follow in his mom's footsteps, but she says she'd encourage him to pursue another path.
"I'd be like, 'Baby, of course you can model. You can do whatever the hell you want to do,'" she said. "Unfortunately, male models, you know, their success and their pay is not like what my pay was as a model. There's such a huge disparity."
"At the same time, if I had a little girl and she wanted to model, Lord, it would be very difficult," she continued. " I would not be happy if I had a daughter that wanted to model. Thank God he's a boy. Child just take some pictures, but we going to college."