Courtesy of Getty Images

Does the World Need Tyra Banks's Modelland Theme Park?

Couldn't we just get a 'Life Size 3' instead?

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Feb 7 2019, 5:19pm

Courtesy of Getty Images

The news on Tuesday that Tyra Banks would be opening a new model-themed "theme park" got me thinking about that time, in 2010, Banks began acting like a rabies-stricken dog on national television, foaming at the mouth while on all fours, pretending to attack one of her guests. No direct connection here besides these being two instances that made me take pause and question the Stanford Business School professor.

After all, rabies bad; theme parks good... but mode model-themed theme parks? Weird.

So what is Modelland? It's hard to say, apparently. "Modelland is going to be a place where the modeling world meets fantasy, meets entertainment, meets technology, meets retail, meets dining, meets…your fiercest best self you could ever imagine," Banks told Variety in an interview. She goes on to describe the multi-level, 21,000 sq. ft Santa Monica space as "a place to feel emotion," saying she wants visitors to feel "overjoyed and empowered," which is good because I hate leaving any overcrowded, mall-like space without feeling some sense of empowerment.

Really though, what is it? Banks notes that there will be a "robust retail offering," "experiential dining — not your typical restaurant outing" and an "elevated social media component." Where are the rollercoasters, the funnel cake and 2009 Kristen Stewart? It seems, in working to decode Tyra's Tyra-speak, that Modelland is nothing more than a glorified mall. And we all know how malls are doing: "rotting away," according to CNN.

This news comes after less than smize-worthy ventures for Banks of late. Her return to America's Next Top Model in January 2018 (after passing the reigns to singer Rita Ora for a cycle) has yet to see a new cycle so much as announced. (Banks dodged a direct question about this entirely). Meanwhile her 2018 appearance in a long-anticipated follow-up to 2000's Life Size proved a non-starter for critics.

Could her latest venture signal a refresher for both the American mall and Banks's career? To para-phrase the legend, "we're all rooting for you."