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

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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

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