Grand Magazine - - CONTENTS - | BRIAN WIL­LIAMS

Once a shy child, mod­el­ling helped bring Tyrah Wil­son out of her shell

Afew months be­fore turn­ing 16, Tyrah Wil­son was at the beach in Grand Bend with her fam­ily when a scout from Spot 6 Man­age­ment ap­proached her mom to ask about Tyrah.

“It was re­ally weird be­cause I had been talk­ing to my mom about mod­el­ling and then a week later we were ap­proached at the beach,” she says.

That was three sum­mers ago. Tyrah says she’s been as­so­ci­ated with the Toronto mod­el­ling agency ever since.

Wil­son’s first ex­po­sure to mod­el­ling had come at age eight with Cameo Mod­els in Water­loo, where she still has ties. She says she first men­tioned mod­el­ling to her mom af­ter re­al­iz­ing she shared a name with su­per­model Tyra Banks.

Wil­son says she was a so­cially awk­ward child so her mom was open to things that would help bring her daugh­ter out of her shell.

So, just like with the cook­ing and art classes and camp ex­pe­ri­ences, her mom threw her into it. Wil­son par­tic­i­pated in mod­el­ling classes un­til about age 12 but left it be­hind be­cause she wasn’t get­ting any work. She says she was tall for her age, but her face still looked young and didn’t match her height, so she was caught in the mid­dle.

She turned her at­ten­tion to play­ing bas­ket­ball, school and even­tu­ally get­ting a part-time job.

Born and raised in Kitch­ener as the youngest of two daugh­ters, the once shy child found her­self the elected stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent at For­est Heights Col­le­giate In­sti­tute.

And when the prom was in dan­ger of be­ing can­celled, she and a friend took up the cause to make the event hap­pen.

“If I don’t like how things are go­ing, I take it on my­self,” she says.

Now 19, Wil­son is a first-year stu­dent in the stu­dio art pro­gram at Univer­sity of Guelph, where she lives on cam­pus.

Both her mom, Laura, and dad, Shaun, work in Guelph so she could eas­ily get a ride each day from the fam­ily’s Kitch­ener home, “but I wanted my in­de­pen­dence.”

With her fo­cus on school, mod­el­ling is a part-time en­deav­our that sees her im­age ap­pear in ad­ver­tise­ments on­line and in cat­a­logues and fly­ers, such as those for ma­jor re­tail­ers.

“I’m more of a com­mer­cial model than high fash­ion.” This is her third ap­pear­ance in Grand. She graced our Novem­ber-De­cem­ber 2014 cover and ap­peared in that edi­tion’s Style fea­ture. Then she re­turned a year later as one of the mod­els in Grand’s 10th an­niver­sary is­sue.

This time around, she spent the day as the cen­tre of at­ten­tion pool­side at the Stork Fam­ily YMCA in Water­loo. A hand­ful of swim­mers did laps in the back­ground while the Grand team took over a por­tion of the deck and change room as Wil­son was guided through seven cos­tume changes and the var­i­ous hair and make-up com­bi­na­tions to match.

Once all the pho­tos had been taken, Wil­son hit the road to Toronto where she and her dad turned their at­ten­tion to a shared love of bas­ket­ball, watch­ing the Rap­tors lose a close con­test to the San An­to­nio Spurs.

It wasn’t the re­sult Tyrah would have wanted, but it made her fa­ther happy.

“I bought my dad the tick­ets be­cause he’s a Spurs fan, so it wouldn’t have been a good present if his team had lost,” she says.

Tyrah Wil­son ap­peared in our 10th An­niver­sary is­sue (left) and on the cover of our 2014 Hol­i­day Is­sue, as well as that edi­tion’s Style pages.

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