The model, actress, business mogul and internet sensation (go ahead and type "we were all rooting for you" into Twitter's GIF generator) opened about her welcome return to the empire she created in 2003 in her cover shoot for Paper Magazine as part of the "Break the Internet" series. Titled "Tyra Banks: Fierce as a Tyger," the wild photo shoot -- depicting Banks in tiger-striped body paint and accompanying accessories -- does not disappoint.
"I stepped away, but social media was calling my name in my sleep, screaming they were pissed off at me that I deserted [the show]," Banks told the mag about fan reaction to her departure. "I needed to bring my butt back, so I did. One thing I know is from studying business -- they say your brand is not what you say it is, it's what they say it is. I thought 'Top Model' would be fine without me hosting, but the social media sphere let me know that was not the case."
Although social media -- in this case -- ended up working in Banks' favor, she does have some qualms with it.
"One thing I hate is that when my girls get makeovers on the show, you get to see it on social media before we start airing," she said. "That makes me upset as a person trying to conceal stuff for the audience."
Banks said that Cycle 24 will also include some never-before-seen surprises.
"It's going to be #NLF -- NEXT LEVEL FIERCE," she said of the upcoming cycle, which will be the first ever with no age limit. "The battle between the generations is on. Who says 40 is too old to get your model game on? Not me, boo."
When asked if her return to the show elicits some nostalgia for the supermodel mom, Banks said, "Not. At. All. That was a different phase of my career. A fierce one, mind you, but the past. It would take a hell of a lot of convincing to get me to come out of retirement."
Another fan-favorite topic? "Life-Size 2." And while not much has been confirmed about the Disney Channel sequel -- including whether fans can expect Lindsay Lohan's participation -- Banks said it's "not going to be the 'Life-Size' that you saw when you were a little girl." Banks said her character will now be helping a grown woman finagle through life in her mid-twenties.
"America's Next Top Model" Cycle 24 premieres on VH1 in early 2018. "Life-Size 2" premieres on Freeform in December 2018.
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