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Tyra Banks Says She’s Still ‘Very Scared’ of Naomi Campbell

Tyra Banks Naomi Campbell feud
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Supermodel rivals Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell famously worked through their differences during a 2005 appearance on The Tyra Banks Show, and seemed ready to move forth in the world as newfound friends. But according to Banks, her long-ago feud with Campbell has had a lasting effect on her.

Banks — accompanied by her boyfriend Erik Asla — elaborated on the start of her career, and the way the media immediately pitted her against Campbell, in an interview on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan.

“I got to Paris, and it was very difficult. I did really well really fast, but then the industry was saying, ‘Oh, look out Naomi Campbell, here comes Tyra Banks! So Naomi Campbell, sit your butt down,’” she said. “It was really unfair to her because the other models that weren’t black…Kate Moss and I were the same generation and they weren’t saying, ‘Look out, Christy Turlington!’

“It wasn’t fair to Naomi,” she continued, “but her response was…to this day, I’m very scared of her. It was very difficult — like some of my lowest times of my life — dealing with that.”

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While Banks didn’t go into detail about Campbell’s behavior during the interview, she did explain back in 2005 that Campbell allegedly blocked Banks from several modeling jobs which nearly caused her to quit the industry altogether, according to PEOPLE.

But Banks also admits she understands why her former rival reacted the way she did at the time.

“I don’t condone her actions and her response but I understand where it comes from,” the America’s Next Top Model host continued. “Because the world was saying, ‘You’re not gonna have your spot, we’re gonna take your money, we’re gonna take your fame. Go sit down there’s somebody else.’ You know? That’s pretty serious. She reacted strongly but I understand where that was coming from.”

Thankfully, the Tyra Banks Show episode proved to be cathartic for both parties, as Banks explained on Skavlan that it offered them both some closure — after 14 years of not speaking.

“She kept saying it never happened and then there was a commercial break and then she came back and said, you know, ‘I’m sorry,’” Banks continued. “And, oh my God, I just cried like a baby. To hear that after so many years of pain and dealing with it publicly…me having to leave agencies because of her…to hear that apology meant the world to me. She has no idea what that did for me.”

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