Down-To-Earth Divas Tyra Banks and Lauren Makk on Their New Show FABLife, Philadelphia, and How to Take a Perfect Selfie

Tyra Banks and Lauren Makk trying to teach me how to take a selfie. Picture by HughE Dillon.

Tyra Banks and Lauren Makk trying to teach me how to take a selfie. Picture by HughE Dillon.

“Pop your booty out. Yeah! Now, stick out your neck!”

That’s the advice that legendary Tyra Banks gave me as we were taking a three-way selfie with her FABLife co-host Lauren Makk. Ms. Makk grabbed my phone at one point.

“Here, honey: Let me do this!”

Sure enough, we took a rocking selfie, and it felt more like Ms. Banks and Ms. Makk were friends than the high-profile celebs that they are. That’s the most refreshing thing about both of them: They completely and utterly keep it real, which is a quality they’ll be bringing to their new ABC lifestyle show FABLife which starts next week.

“I am not about stuffy, shiny things,” said Makk, who is an interior designer best known from her stints on Trading Spaces and Drill Team. “I bring a hands-on approach. It’s about the actual product, not a price tag.”

Makk, who grew up in a family that lived on a budget, realized that her mother taught her a lot about her own style sense.

“We had nice things, but they didn’t cost a lot of money,” she recalled. “My mom made it nice. It lead to my tagline: Affordable luxury.”

Banks was quick to wholeheartedly agree. “She did my house,” she said. “We have some super expensive things, and other things came from Homegoods.”

That’s surprisingly “real” talk from the woman who has pushed boundaries all her life: She’s the first person of color to be featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and the Victoria’s Secret catalog. But there’s absolutely no pretense when you meet Ms. Banks, and it’s insanely refreshing.

In fact, one of the best moments of our time together was Ms. Banks entering the room, profusely apologizing for being late. There was a hole in her gorgeous red dress, and apparently her fashion police were not pleased. Ms. Banks, however, seemed like she could care less.

“Look, there’s a hole: Here it is,” she said, explicitly pointing it out to us. I don’t know many supermodels-turned-superbusinesspersons who would do that.

That might be because she has “booty,” and not just the physical kind.

“Booty is self esteem,” she said, part of her three part mantra of sorts: “Beauty, Booty, and Business,” all of which will be presented on the new show. In addition, FABLife will feature a host of lifestyle segments on beauty, fashion, food, DIY, and home design tips. There’s also going to be all of the motivational moments that we’ve come to love and expect from Ms. Banks.

“There’s times when we cry and we all cry together,” she said.

There’s also times when things don’t go quite well on the set.

“We have a segment called ‘Hack or Quack,'” said Banks. “And sometimes, it’s a lot of bull!” She described an episode where the on-air team tested a waist-training tool that got stuck in a co-host’s weave, nearly pulling it off. But the cameras kept rolling.

Interestingly enough, we found out that many years ago, Philadelphia was the first place that Banks gave a major newspaper interview. She was walking down South Street as a young model, being questioned by a reporter from The Inquirer.

“He was the very first journalist to do a story on me,” she recalled. “I remember thinking it was the first time that there’s an article in the world about me.”

Makk used to live in Philly at 20th and Hamilton Streets by the Art Museum, and has fond memory of the city.

“You can order any food any time of day or night,” she said, and added rather candidly. “It is such a fat-girl thing to say!”

But perhaps it’s that candid nature that makes the team of Banks and Makk so appealing. In a world full of fakers, these two are not only transparent, open, and honest, but they appear that they’d have it no other way.

“The key to success in many cases is how many times you say no, not how many times you say yes,” Banks said. “The ventures that didn’t work were when I didn’t follow my gut. I tend to have tunnel vision, and I have a couple of tunnels!”

“But they are long and deep!” added Makk. “Watching her work is such a true joy.”

FABLife premieres on 6ABC on September 14th at 2 pm. For more information, click here.