Supermodel Tyra Banks knows a thing or two about body image, considering she's been both praised and criticized over her figure since beginning her modeling career in the late '80s.
But unlike colleague Kate Moss, who has always been hounded over her small frame, the America's Next Top Model host has been beaten down on both sides of the spectrum: for being too thin and too fat.
The comments began back when Tyra was a preteen. "The summer I turned 11 years old, I lost 30 lbs. and I had a growth spurt," the stunning 40-year-old explains.
"And it wasn't even supermodel thin. It was more than that. Some people thought I had an eating disorder."
According to the model, who claims she didn't suffer from an eating disorder, she tried everything to pack on pounds.
"There was nothing I could do to gain weight," Tyra recalls. "It was in the 1980s during the Ethiopian famine, and I got a lot of comments."
But as she grew into adolescence, so did her curves, which started a new variety of hateful remarks.
"Who would have thought that the girl who was forced to go to the hospital because she's so skinny would one day be called too fat?" says the brunette beauty.
"I know the pain of somebody who's too thin and the pain of somebody that people say is too big."
Her struggles over body image is one of the reasons the 5'10'' former talk show host launched the TZONE Foundation in 1999 with her mother, Carolyn London. The program aims to empower young girls through mentorship and is focused on helping them find "their own beauty."
"Flaws are awesome, flawsome!" Tyra jokes to People magazine in their latest issue. "That 11-year-old girl always lives inside of me."
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