MEET THE MODEL
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.