To the world, Tyra Banks may be known as iconic supermodel, new Dancing with the Stars host, and originator of The Smize™. But to her four-year-old son York Banks Asla, she's simply mom. After a years-long struggle to become a parent, Banks welcomed her first child with then-partner Erik Asla in 2016. Ahead, a few things to know about Banks' young son and whether or not he'll follow in his mother's modeling footsteps.
York was born in January 2016 via surrogate.
In late January, Banks confirmed to People that she and Asla had welcomed their first son together via surrogacy. “We are so excited for our new baby boy bundle of joy. The journey to now has not been an easy process, as I’ve shared before. But there was a beautiful bright light at the end of the tunnel for me and his father, Erik,” she said in a statement to the outlet.
The model, who had been dating the Norwegian photographer since 2013, also announced York's birth on Instagram. Banks shared a photo of a blue and pink-striped beanie, writing, "The best present we worked and prayed so hard for is finally here. He's got my fingers and big eyes and his daddy Erik's mouth and chin. As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone. York Banks Asla, welcome to the world."
The best present we worked and prayed so hard for is finally here. He's got my fingers and big eyes and his daddy Erik's mouth and chin. As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone. York Banks Asla, welcome to the world.
A post shared by Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:16pm PST
Asla and Banks split in October 2017, but the breakup was reportedly amicable. At the time, a source told Page Six that the breakup “came drama-free and they’re co-parenting their young son.”
Banks has spoken about her complicated journey to motherhood.
Before welcoming York into the world, Banks was candid about her difficult journey to have a family. “I've had some not happy moments with [IVF], very traumatic moments," she told People in 2015. She added, “I hope [for kids]. I don’t just want one child. I want a litter! And I want to be the kind of mom where my child can come to me for anything.”
After going through a year of in vitro fertilization attempts, Banks and Asla turned to surrogacy. “Everything that happened all got me to this,” Banks told People in 2018. “It was meant to be.” Banks' mother Carolyn London told the outlet, “The way she communicates with York blows me away,” adding, “She’s amazing.”
York speaks three different languages.
At 18 months old, York was already showcasing an impressive set of skills, according to Banks. “My son is amazing with his colors,” she told a group of reporters in 2018, according to People. “He has friends in his classes that are like ‘re-re-red’ and my son is already up to silver and rose and rose gold. And he has been counting to 20 since he was 18 months. So he’s really, really smart.” If his art and math skills weren't stellar enough, Banks also said York was mastering not one, but three languages in his first two years. “He speaks Spanish, Norwegian and English,” she claimed. “He’s a smart one—but he’s still crazy and damn near rolling on the floor and not listening to me most of the time!”
Banks doesn't necessarily want him to be a model.
For those wondering if York will go into the family business, Banks isn't totally sold on the idea. “I wouldn’t love for him to model, but I wouldn’t tell him, ‘Don’t do it,’ because then he’d do it more,” she told People in 2018. “I’m going to support what he wants and just hope it’s not modeling! But if it is, I’ll be telling him how to smize.”
While York may not be working the runway any time soon, Banks told Us Weekly earlier this year that teaching her son about body positivity is vital. “I’m trying to teach him [positive] messages because I’m his first role model when it comes to beauty and accepting different types of women, so we practice that a lot at home,” she explained to the outlet. This includes Banks telling York that "Perfect is boring" and "Just because it's broken, doesn't mean it's not beautiful."
York has only been on Banks' Instagram a few times.
Those looking for frequent photos of York on social media will be disappointed. Banks hasn't posted many pictures of her young son. When she does, you'll often only get a peek of his hand or shoes in the frame. The exception to that rule came in June 2017, when Banks wrote a Father's Day tribute to Asla. She captioned an outdoor photo of York, "To all the amazing daddies out there that love their kids unconditionally like my mommy's daddy and my daddy, too...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
A post shared by Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) on Jun 18, 2017 at 3:22pm PDT
While appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers the next month, Banks says she originally posted the photo to beat the paparazzi to it. She detailed being stopped by photographers after an outing with her son. "I'm trying to hide him with a blanket. I pull over the gas station after they get the shot, I text his dad and I'm like, 'I've got to put this picture out before the paparazzi. I don't want them to make money off our child and have the first picture.' So, I posted the damn picture," she explained. "The next day, there ain't no paparazzi pictures, 'cause mama knew how to hide that camera. She's a supermodel for a reason! And so now his picture is out there and I didn't need it to be!"
Banks is homeschooling her son during quarantine.
While glimpses of York on Banks' Instagram are few and far between, she has shared a homeschooling update. In early April, she posted a photo that her son had colored, his hands just out of frame. "Trying to keep home schooling popping....Slide to see my homemade coloring book creation that started this work of art colored in by my lil boo. #homeschool," Banks captioned the photo, which shows York's penmanship skills, too.
A post shared by Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:51am PDT
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