Name: Tyrah Majors
Claim to Fame: Majors has been seen on Billboards for Coca-Cola.
Tyrah Majors has been booked and busy since her fifth birthday. The model turned broadcast journalist and children’s author started her career as a child model.
“I grew up in San Diego, so super close to Los Angeles. We were always traveling back and forth from San Diego to LA,” she told HelloBeautiful. “And I say, we as in myself and my siblings as well, we’re all kind of thrown into the business at a young age. My mom is actually a talent agent. She has her own agency where she helps kids and teens get into modeling and acting.”
Her siblings gravitated towards the musical arts. “I’m the only one of my siblings, that’s not musically talented,” she revealed.
Majors modeled major companies including Disney and Coca-Cola early in her career. “That was kind of my first foot into the entertainment industry.”
She even ended up in an ad for Purell! She found it hilarious that years later the in-demand item would land her face all over “This particular photo was for a stock imaging company and they use the photos anywhere. So I think one day I was just sitting at home and a bunch of people were like, we saw, you in the Purell ads in the store!”
Majors worked, “a lot of print jobs.” She got a look at the behind-the-scenes of the business by observing her mother and the other adults in charge of making the shoots she was on a success.
“It was just like, ‘Wow, this is really Hollywood. This is the hustle and bustle of what people do when they come to work every day to do.’ I thought it was just fascinating,” she said.
Attending an ending string of after school go sees and casting sessions made her comfortable with answering the standard questions asked by prospective clients. “There’s usually a standard,” she revealed.
“You know, where they’re going to ask you, they’re going to ask you to smile, and if you know your name, your age, where you’re from, and I think that’s it. And then they take like three photos of you, front profiled files and like both right and left side profiles. And then it was, it was like a quick three minute process.”
That process didn’t leave Majors with much opportunity to make a strong impression but she used the rare occasions where the process was more intensive to make her mark. It was there where she first began to develop her research skills.
“I always did research on the brands. I was doing the testing for. I would look at each brand’s website, look at the poses that the kids were doing,” she said.
Modeling in commercials gave her a chance to learn how to memorize lines and work with a teleprompter.
“Sometimes they would ask some questions if it was a commercial audition. Sometimes they would provide me with the script beforehand so you can learn it and memorize it. So in those instances, you know, on the drive up from San Diego to LA I’m practicing this commercial, I’m ready to have it memorized and kill it.”
The commercials lead to guest roles and pilots. “I did a lot of background work, a lot of feature roles in Disney channel shows. I was on the show called Kicking It. I did a couple of pilots for ABC network,” she said.
Modeling taught Majors about “getting in front of a crowd of people and being able to talk and, uh, you know, forgetting lines and picking yourself back up and stage presence. And that really is what being on camera is all about.”
After landing on billboards, and in various shows and commercials she reevaluated her career goals. Like Tyra Banks, Beverly Johnson, and Tracee Ellis Ross she used the skills she learned to transition into another form of media. She has covered news for FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates.
“I didn’t really see myself having a professional job in theater or as an actress after college. But I knew I always liked to write and I always liked to talk to people and tell stories. So I went to school and I took a journalism class one semester and I ended up falling in love with it. It was like everything that I had been doing my whole life just went into one, you know, telling stories, talking to people, being in front of the camera,” she said.
“You’re being factual, you’re telling the news, but you’re also performing in a way, you know, you’ve got to trust your, you’ve got to make sure you sound conversational. You’ve got to connect with the audience with the viewers at home,” she added.
As she studied to be a journalist she was given the chance to sharpen her writing skills. Majors had loved to write since she was a kid. When she wasn’t sharing details of what it was like to work on a photoshoot or television show on the playground she would be excelling in English class. “Whenever there was an assignment to write a narrative or a short story, that was my thing. I knew I was going to get a good grade on it. I would try extra hard,” she said.
She used her love for writing to process the death of her beloved grandmother. “After my grandma passed away, I decided, let me just write down all of her memories.” She turned the exercise into a children’s book called Grammy and Me at her family’s suggestion. A portion of all of the book’s sales go to No Kid Hungry.
“There’s so many Americans that have filed for unemployment during this time. And you know, who’ve lost their jobs and are going through tough times. So I wanted to pick an organization that I knew was helping out the family going through that during this time,” she said.
Her time on sets prepared her to pivot into quarantine appropriate content.
“So all of that training I had as a young actor and young model definitely trained me for the news role. I think I’m able to go live multiple times a day because of that training and going live, comfortably with just a phone. And of course I stumbled some almost every day and that’s just normal, but, me being comfortable and feeling confident in front of the camera is definitely a result of the training.”