Tyra Banks stunned at Wednesday night's benefit for the Lower Eastside Girls Club at the Bowery Hotel in New York City, modeling her short haircut, plunging navy cocktail dress and gold pumps with matching earrings.
But Banks wasn't just there to show off her latest look: The 5-foot-10 beauty was on hand for a much more altruistic reason.
According to the organization, the Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) has been providing innovative, community-based holistic programs and services for girls and young women since 1996, and Banks is no stranger to giving back and inspiring young girls.
Back in 1999, Banks started a foundation called T-Zone, a self-esteem camp in Los Angeles. "[But] over the years, I wasn’t able to go to the camp every single day like I wanted to," she tells FNM. "I didn’t want to create a place where I really couldn’t be there. So I shut T-Zone down,” she explains, citing the fact that she didn’t understand delegation as well as she does now. “After I shut down the camp, I started giving money to different organizations that had a similar mission. And one of those organizations was the Lower Eastside Girls Club.”
Actress Rosario Dawson also made an appearance, and says being involved with the program definitely hits close to home. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this," the "Top Five" star beamed. "I grew up in the Lower East Side, and this didn’t exist for me then. But I get to be a part of the Girls Club now and that’s kind of fantastic!”
Dawson went on to reminisce overcoming the odds during her youth. “My mom was a teenage mom, so there weren't very high expectations for me, but I was always raised with unconditional love, and that I can do anything. So my driving force was that I was going to go to college, get a real job. And then I became an actor, and that was actually the moment where I got scared of what I would be doing with my life.” Ultimately though, Dawson found critical and commercial success as an actress, even starring alongside actors such as Will Smith, Chris Rock and Bruce Willis. (Not too bad!)
Banks, too, dealt with her hardships as young girl, more notably with her body image (the irony!). “When I was 11 years old, I grew three inches and lost 30 pounds over three months. I was very insecure … I would try to stuff myself with food. And I found solace in books and I would hide behind books. If I couldn’t see people, then I couldn’t feel them staring at me.”
Both women are true success stories for young girls all over. They donate their time, they give back, and by helping out at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, they want to ensure a brighter future for girls who were once just like them.
FOX News Magazine even got the scoop on their thoughts about the 2016 presidential election, seeing as two strong female candidates — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina — are seeking to become the first female POTUS.
“I love [how] young girls are seeing them run now and not thinking it’s a big deal," says Banks. "I would love for it to be like, ‘Whatever! Like, duh! Of course a woman is running for president!’”
Dawson added, “I think there’s going to be a lot of other women that will be stepping up as well. It’s the way the world’s been going. We’ve had multiple countries around the world that have female presidents. It’s about time that we start looking at it and considering it. Let’s just see if they have good policies and are good leaders.”
To find out more about the Lower Eastside Girls Club, visit their website at www.GirlsClub.org to find out how you can help.