Tyra Banks was in the midst of a successful run hosting and executive producing her daytime talker The Tyra Banks Show, helming the wildly successful America’s Next Top Model and dabbling in other TV ventures when she realized everything was going so right … and felt terrifically wrong. “At that time in my career, I was probably the most successful, lucrative and relevant — everything in my life — and the most unhappy,” Banks admits.
The model and entrepreneur opted to focus her energies on business school and taking Top Model worldwide — until her former Tyra colleague Lisa Hackner, who had signed on as executive vice president of Daytime and Syndicated Programming at ABC, came calling with a fresh take on daytime TV. “It was everything that I could ever dream of,” says Banks, “and she pulled me back in. I said, ‘I have to do this’ because I’m always about things that are first, unique or best.”
The result, the syndicated FABLife, premieres Monday and features Banks as the show’s resident lifestylist (yes, that’s a thing), fashion guru Joe Zee talking affordable fashion and beauty, model (and Mrs. John Legend) Chrissy Teigen “on the wheels of meals,” interior designer Lauren Makk as “home girl next door” and YouTube sensation Leah Ashley leading the DIY portion of the proceedings.
“I think the great thing about all of us lifestylists is that we don’t talk down to anyone,” says Zee. “It’s not just because we know our stuff and we love our stuff — we want to talk with you and we want to involve you. That’s what it’s all about.”
“It’s exactly for the person who’s sitting at home going, ‘I’m overwhelmed, I can’t do this, I don’t feel confident.’ That’s what each and every one of us is here to do,” adds the bubbly Makk. “Tyra, for instance, with makeup — I learned how to contour my face from this woman — and I’ve been painting this face for 33 years! It’s so simple. It was five minutes!”
Banks returns the love.
“I tend to be more introverted in my private life and one thing I love about Lauren is we will be walking through an airport, we will be walking on the street, we will be walking through a hotel lobby and her Chilean exuberance is constant — she showers love to everyone,” she grins. “We were disembarking an airplane together the week before last and I was talking to her and suddenly she wasn’t there. Where’d she go? She’s back with the flight attendant: ‘Honey, don’t you look great … have you thought about dating the pilot?’ It was so wonderful!”
“The truth is we’re learning with our viewers as well,” Ashley chimes in. “I’m learning things in the food space from Chrissy, and in the fashion space from Joe, and interior design from Lauren, and beauty and business from Tyra. It’s ‘if we can do it, you can definitely do it!’”
Banks says that overriding philosophy makes FABLife a natural fit for multiple generations of Pinterest-obsessed DIY hopefuls who need a boost getting from their computer screens to “I did it myself!”
“In the very beginning of the show, the P-word was coming out of all of the execs’ mouths, like, five times per meeting — super-duper early on,” Banks smiles. “The world is Pinterest crazy and it’s wonderful to just ‘Pinspiration’ yourself, but we’re not just going to be getting you that inspiration, we’re going to give you the tools to actually do it — and to do it quick and cheap. Whether you make a million dollars a month or 10 dollars a month, it’s about making the best of that and showcasing your best you.”
So even if you aren’t on top of your social media game, Teigen says the FABLife team is here to curate the best of all things Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and whatever comes next.
“We are all so heavily involved in social media that we know what’s hot and we know when things disappear,” she explains. “We know when to stop talking about things!”
FABLife premieres Monday, Sept. 14. Check your local listings for channel and time or visit www.fablifeshow.com.