Tyra Banks Offers Mini Rihanna Lookalike an Audition in New Modeling Venture (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Tyra Banks' BIG Announcement About Upcoming Modelland (Exclusive)
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Tyra Banks continues to make models' dreams come true.
ET's Nischelle Turner sat down with the iconic model and entrepreneur, who not only opened up about her new project, Modelland, but also gave one 7-year-old girl an epic opportunity. Last month, social media, as well as Banks, became obsessed with Ala'a, a mini Rihanna lookalike.
"I lost my mind," Banks told ET of seeing Ala'a on Instagram. "Rihanna looks like Tookie, the lead girl in the Modelland story. Rihanna, I know you not gonna play Tookie. She might, you never know. But for this, I don’t think I'm necessarily going to get Rihanna for the movie. But I was like, we're also looking for little girl Tookie. So I was like, that little girl looks like little girl Tookie, because Tookie's also kind of inspired by me and my story."
"So I just became obsessed with this girl," Banks continued. "I was like, 'Help me! Who is this girl? Like, I want to find this girl and hopefully, possibly she can try out because she's got to act and do all that stuff, to play little Tookie."
Thankfully, Instagram users helped Banks identify the aspiring model, and so did ET who surprised Banks by FaceTiming and speaking with Ala'a and her mom. Banks then took it upon herself to invite Ala'a to audition for Modelland world -- a 21,000-square-foot, ticketed attraction that lets people be the dream version of themselves through various interactive entertainment, curated retail and user-generated content.
"It's Harry Potter meets Willy Wonka, meets Disneyland," Banks explained, adding that they are in construction and looking for models to be a part of it.
"We're calling to see if maybe Ala’a will audition for Modelland to play the young version of the lead character because she looks so much like the lead character," Banks told the mother-daughter duo during the call, before giving Ala'a words of wisdom.
"The best piece of advice is to really study hard at school and know that modeling will always be there. So make sure you finish school and make sure that you listen to your mom and get all your schoolwork done," Banks said. "Then once your schoolwork is done, then you can practice your model poses in the mirror. But not until the schoolwork is done."
Meanwhile, Banks is still "looking for 14 people from the age of 18 to 50, 60 something." All the models can submit themselves through Instagram and she will personally pick and choose who she wants.
"I am doing a big search for the very first Modelland models and when I say models, I don't mean professional models that are signed to modeling agencies," she explained. "I don't mean the stereotype look of what people think a model is. At Modelland, we are redefining what a model is. I am announcing this huge secret project that exists inside of the Modelland universe. It is secret, it is massive and I am ready to change some lives!"