How Tyra Banks developed her famous smile with the eyes, now dubbed 'smize' and trademarked

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Tyra Banks hosts Nine West New campaign launch event in celebration of International Women's Day. Photographed by Amy Sussman
Tyra Banks hosts Nine West New campaign launch event in celebration of International Women's Day. Photographed by Amy Sussman
Amy Sussman

The model has become synonymous with the term - which means to smile with your eyes - and she's now explained how she developed the idea. “I came up with it because there's a way that when you look at a photo and you feel nothing, it's actually because the person is not smizing. So it's like their eyes are dead, and they're not giving you anything,” she says on NPR.

READ MORE: Tyra Banks: 'It was nice to break down the walls so others could walk through them'

“So for me, I turned that into smiling with your eyes. And I would teach models and even my family and friends about smiling with their eyes. And I was like, wait, that is too much. When we tell somebody to smile for the camera, we say cheese. So I need to make this one syllable. So I stayed up all night, y'all,” she adds.

“One night, I stayed up all night. And I was writing on my paper smeyes (ph) - S-M-E-Y-E-S, smeyes, S-M-I-S-E, smilize (ph), all this stuff. Finally, I was - I put S-M-I-Z-E. And I was like, that's it. And then I ran and trademarked it before I said it anywhere in the world.”

Compiled by Futhi Masilela

Follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 688 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 284 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1570 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 562 votes