Tyra Banks has had her share of ups and downs during her first season hosting Dancing With the Stars. On Tuesday’s (November 17) episode of The Real, she talked with the hosts about feeling incredibly emotional on set and how she thinks Jeannie Mai would have done in the competition if she hadn’t had to withdraw due to her life-threatening throat infection.
Banks Said She ‘Kind of Lost It’ During Mai’s Health Scare
When asked about how emotional she became the week Mai withdrew from the competition, Banks said it was just so hard that she couldn’t hug or visit Mai.
“I was feeling so much. The pandemic is already really, really hard, and then here at Dancing With the Stars, we actually can’t hug, we can’t touch. I’ve talked to Jeannie on the phone,” said Banks, adding, “There was something about her having to go through this and knowing that she couldn’t have the connection with friends and family, they couldn’t be at the hospital with her.
“Of course, she didn’t have COVID, she had a whole different thing, but we still have to operate in this COVID world, so all of that just became crushing to me, and I just kind of lost it.”
The hosts thanked her for reaching out to Mai, with Loni Love saying, ‘I talked to Jeannie this morning and she wanted me to tell you, Tyra, thank you so much for calling her and reaching out. She thought that was so wonderful and nice of you, so she wanted me to make sure I told you that and she’s sorry she missed you.”
To that, Banks said, “Jeannie was doing so well. I know she would still be in this competition right now [if she hadn’t gotten sick]. She was killing it.”
Banks Also Said She’s Had to Work Hard at Balancing Work and Motherhood During the Pandemic
Like a lot of working parents, Banks has suddenly found herself with the new task of balancing work and parenthood simultaneously during the pandemic. She said her key is just to stay laser-focused.
“I like to just focus, like laser focus at whatever is in front of me. For instance, I used to try to like, do a business meeting and tend to my son, and everything on Zoom, and I realized, no, ‘Mommy’s on a meeting right now, Mommy has to focus.’ I focus on my meeting – and then I give him 100 percent dedicated time,” she said, adding, “Even if it’s five minutes, fifteen minutes, an hour – but super dedicated. Then he feels fulfilled, and then you can go back to work as a mom. You know, so that’s what I’ve realized as opposed to trying to blend it all in, and then he feels messed up, and then people at work are like, “What ‘chu doin’ with your son?” You know what I mean? I feel like that focus has helped a lot.”
She also said she had to get over being embarrassed by life being messy sometimes.
“I used to get so embarrassed in meetings, like Zoom meetings, with people, that my son would come in … and this investor’s going to think I’m not being responsible. But now I realize you can also embrace the chaos … showing the beauty of that full family is also a good thing and you don’t have to be embarrassed as a woman. In the beginning of Zoom, it’s like, we’re taught as women, that like, we can’t show our motherhood, we can’t do any of that at work, you just have to be like boom, boom, boom. But now I think it really shows you as a human being and it’s all good,” said Banks.
Dancing With the Stars season 29 airs its finale Monday, November 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.