The 45-year-old star just announced the news that she’s creating a brand-new modeling attraction, aptly named Modelland, set to open later this year. (Modelland was also the name of her 2010 young adult novel she wrote about her life.)
It’s reportedly going to be a multi-level 21,000 sq. ft space in Santa Monica Place (an open-air shopping center) that will feature retail shops, dining destinations, interactive entertainment and much, much more.
“I’ve always been insanely inspired by attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios and have wanted to bring that spirit of adventure and storytelling to the world of modeling,” Banks told Variety about the project which has been in the works for the past 10 years. “But not the exclusive modeling industry. I’m talking about modeling for the masses.”
So what exactly does “modeling for the masses” mean? The details of the attractions are still pretty unclear, but Banks clarified to WWD that it won’t just be a pop-up attraction, it will include clothing for guests to wear created by Hollywood costume designers and stylists and won’t include daily runway shows. “That’s low hanging fruit,” she said. “This is bursting the door open and redefining what a model is. It’s all about inclusiveness.”
“Modelland is going to be a place where the modeling world meets fantasy, meets entertainment, meets technology, meets retail, meets dining, meets … your fiercest best self you could ever imagine,” she told Variety.
She says there will be special social media components but the main focus is celebrating all types of beauty. “Men and women, young and older — are invited to transform into the dream version of themselves. When people leave Modelland, we want them to feel overjoyed and empowered.”
In an interview with WWD, Banks explained that this new project is just an extension of what she’s been promoting her entire career — inclusiveness.
“I created [America’s Next] Top Model to expand the definition of beauty based on my own pain of being told ‘no’ that I couldn’t do something because I’m curvy or I’m black. My empathy for women in general increased through the experience,” she explained. “And now with Modelland, I’m taking it 10 steps forward, giving people the opportunity to engage with the elusive world by opening it up to everyone. Men, women, families, all generations can come and enter this model world for a day, have a fun shopping experience, and an eventful meal. This will be the first of many.”
She sees Modelland being a destination for everyone and envisions the space becoming a location to celebrate, birthdays, dates and group gatherings like bachelorette parties. (Word’s still out if there will be a dramatic America’s Next Top Model elimination process simulation.)
“Modelland is not just a place to us; It’s a movement,” she told Variety. “Yes, it’s an attraction and a destination, but above all, it’s the genesis for people with all types of different beauty to feel seen and validated. Modelland will empower them to embrace, celebrate and adorn their own unique beauty in ways they never thought possible.”
To formally announce the news, Banks shared a photo of herself on Instagram rising from a bed of flowers, surrounded by birds.
She captioned the shot: “My dream for you will soon be a reality. A place where everyone can be a model. A place where all beauty is celebrated.”
The website isn’t quite up and running yet, but there is a place for those interested to sign up for updates.