Banks said that she was “so proud” of Richardson’s growth, but in the moment, acknowledged that the contestant probably was thinking the blowup was “some crazy shit.”
“A lot of the times, it’s easy to go either way. It’s easier to say, ‘Oh my god, that was awful, I’m a victim,’ or it’s the other way around, ‘I’m awful,’ and you kinda blame yourself,” Banks told BuzzFeed News. “I felt like [Richardson] took ownership of some of the things she could’ve done better, but at the same time said, ‘That was some crazy shit.'”
Banks also explained why she was so passionate about Richardson’s perceived lack of drive in the competition.
“It was such an emotional, visceral moment for me,” Banks said. “I had so much love for this girl.”
Banks declined to go into specifics — saying Richardson deserves some privacy — but noted that the team invested “so much into her,” and combined with what the contestant discussed in private, “I was just like, ‘This is my girl.'”
The former model turned business woman also confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the moment between Richardson also happened at a time when she was exhausted.
“The things I have heard — it makes you insecure about things that you weren’t even insecure about,” Banks added. “A lot of girls see it on TV, but it’s not the same as when it’s happening to you. So Top Model is nothing new, you’ve seen it for ages and you see these girls crying and you’re like, ‘I’m gonna go on there and I’m gonna be amazing,’ and then you get this feedback that maybe you’re not perfect and these are the areas that you need to improve being said to you in so many different ways from different judges and that can hurt.”
“So people come up to me on the street and they’re like, ‘OK, Tyra, just say my name and just replace ‘Tiffany,’ but say my name.'”