Tyra Banks’ Santa Monica Model-Themed Attraction Is A Trip

ModelLand, the former supermodel’s dazzling new space in Santa Monica, is a “multi-sensorial” experience
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From an Emmy-winning daily talk show to the enduringly camp America’s Next Top Model, former international supermodel, businesswoman, and L.A. native Tyra Banks boasts an eclectic array of lime-lit enterprises. Banks’ latest hustle, however, might be her most original and certainly her most absurd. 

Proclaiming itself a “multi-sensorial experience,” Tyra Banks’ ModelLand—the COVID-19-delayed experience named after the TV star’s 2011 novel—landed on 4th and Broadway in Santa Monica in September and evokes something akin to a modern art exhibit. Part theme park, part “model school,” and part ice cream shop, ModelLand is a whirling interactive experience that offers patrons a taste of the supermodel lifestyle and of SMiZE ice cream, Banks’ own frozen dessert company also based in L.A. 

ModelLand’s mantra, like any good mantra, is simple: “Find your light. Werk your angles. Eat yummy ice cream.”

The “model-for-a-day experience” (in reality: model for 60-90 minutes, depending on what you pay) invites patrons to throw on their chicest outfits and take a walk in the high-heeled shoes of a professional runway model, exploring the space’s eight unique rooms, which include a wig room, a dance studio and a mock runway. 

Banks likely confused readers recently in an email to Women’s Wear Daily, writing: “For so long, I’ve been describing ModelLand as an immersive experience. In our final night of rehearsals, someone told me they felt it was beyond an immersive experience; that it was interactive and that they had no idea how much the show is truly about the guests that come,” the mogul wrote. “But it didn’t start this way. Years ago it was much more story-driven, a narrative about fictitious characters. But because our opening was stalled due to COVID-19 challenges, we had time to reevaluate the creative and tweak it to make the guest the star.”

During the 90-minute Posing Party Session at ModelLand, which like the real-life modeling world is tiered into General and VIP access, patrons learn the best selfie techniques from posing professionals, try on wigs from a limited edition wig collection curated by “Mizz Banks” and are finally treated to an ice cream taste test. Patrons can also flaunt their fits on the runway and satisfy their high-end shopping fix with ModelLand’s “theatrical” shopping experience. 

In other words, patrons can pay to pretend to buy things. 

The extravagantly decorated space comes replete with dazzling light fixtures, cool Manhattan apartment art (i.e. a headless mannequin in contrapposto) and luxurious couches with too many cushions. Everything, of course, is gold.

Bank’s champagne-bubbling attraction is now open to visitors of all ages, who are looking to strut their stuff in style, Fridays to Sundays, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $35 and $225 for the VIP experience.

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