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Interview With Stand-up Comedian Turned Actor Russell Brand; Interview With Tyra Banks

Aired April 6, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Russell Brand is nothing like you'd imagine.


RUSSELL BRAND, COMEDIAN: To me, it's a physical idea and difficult to tackle as a stand-up comedian.


MORGAN: He's the bad boy of company turned Hollywood royalty.


BRAND: You will not make me cry today.


MORGAN: And tonight he's with me.


BRAND: All right.

TYRA BANKS, SUPERMODEL/INTERNATIONAL TV MOGUL: And I don't know how they let me up in the fashion industry. But they did and here I am.


MORGAN: And Tyra Banks. Supermodel, international TV mogul. Multimillionaire business woman. Right on top of her own media empire.


BANKS: I'm not led by money because if that's the case I can throw my name on everything and have a million-dollar company.


MORGAN: Tyra Banks has it all and now she's judging me.


BANKS: Am I intimidating, Piers? Am I, darling?



What can you say about Russell Brand? The man who put the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll into comedy. He's a rule breaker. A line crosser. A mad man. And a genius. And he's here with me now.

Well, what about (INAUDIBLE).

BRAND: Lovely. I particularly enjoyed the final word. It's not now. The genius.



MORGAN: Let's go back. I mean I followed your career with fascination, interviewed you at various stages of it over the years. Did you ever think four, five years ago, that you would now be a bona fide a Hollywood acting star?

BRAND: I hoped that that would be the case but it seemed like a spurious and unlikely wish at that stage. It is peculiar. When I think -- when you first interviewed me, I was presenting a show on digital television. I was -- like couple of years clean from drugs. I was -- yes, a little bit blurry around the edges then, Piers. But then also, your trajectory has been remarkable.

MORGAN: Well, sort of which was the least likely to have happened.

BRAND: Extraordinary. I think if -- yes. If we had looked into some misty, futuristic sphere and seen ourselves reflected here, it would have been extraordinary to us. What on earth is happening in this perfect wonderland? Where is Larry King? What's going on?


MORGAN: Do you like the fact about America -- because I like this trade. They don't really care what else you've done, as long as you can perform to a good level when you get here. They don't really trade on your background or any controversies that may have befallen you before.

BRAND: I find that very interesting. Yes, Piers. Well, there's that commonly cited aphorism there are no second acts in American lives. It seems you can have a first act if it was outside of America. And like mine, yes, it was strewn with all manner of incidents and chaos and malarkey.

MORGAN: You think America knows what a naughty boy you were?

BRAND: Probably not. MORGAN: Just seeing this clean cut Russell Brand in front of me now, immaculately attired. Almost even clean shaven. The hair, it's become glamorous and Hollywood-like. Beyond --

BRAND: Pressed shirt.

MORGAN: Pressed shirt.

BRAND: And I'm quite buffed.

MORGAN: Bulky arms. This is not the Russell Brand that we remember.

BRAND: A scrawny ne'er-do-well. A twig crowman, scorching across the North London streets. Fingerless gloves. Outstretched palm. Bags are smacking pocket. Pipe on the lips. And not a lovely McKenzian (ph) pipe. Oh no, one constructed of plastic and an emptied out pen shaft.

And no, I suppose I don't know how mischievous I was. It's been somewhat homogenized. Thankfully. And I think just by the natural trajectory of one's life. You can't -- you literally cannot live like that for a long while. People who pursue that lifestyle for decades --

MORGAN: Be honest, though. Is it more fun being the cleaner cut, well-behaved Russell or was it honestly more fun being the ne'er- do-well?

BRAND: I think that you can poeticize and romanticize picaresque antics. You know like it was kind -- I'm crazy, I used to hang out with pimps and hookers and junkies and crooks. But the reality of that life, you know, you can snatch glistening pearls of amusement from it. But when actually daily life, it's miserable. Otherwise I would still do it, you know. It's not a good way to live. There's no longevity in it. And ultimately it's quite painful.

MORGAN: The final old nail in the old lush coffin came when you passed a driving test very recently.

BRAND: You think that -- my California state driving license is my passport to normality?

MORGAN: I think it's the final -- it's the final nail in that old -- because wild rockers can't drive. They're permanently high on drugs or drunk.

BRAND: That's right. And that's why learning to drive back in the UK as an adolescent. It was such a challenging experience. Because I reasoned that as I would always be drunk or on drugs while driving, I should learn whilst in that state. So (INAUDIBLE) I would drink and smoke and get myself all crazy, and then wonder why I wasn't picking up the rules of the highway code.

MORGAN: Are you a good driver? BRAND: My wife would -- I say I am. Kate would say I'm not. You know, because I really take it seriously. I really sort of try and focus, check mirror, over the shoulder, lifesaver, I've been told. Look at -- you know, really try and be diligent about it. And I really try to accept that driving is not a medium in which to express your true nature.

MORGAN: What car do you have?

BRAND: I've got a Range Rover.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: So even that is quite a solid safe old family vehicle.

BRAND: Yes. A couple of that bejeweled. In the back I put my green willies.


BRAND: Like her majesty.

MORGAN: Well, talking about majesty, are you off to the royal wedding?

BRAND: Of course not, Piers. Are you?

MORGAN: Well, I'm going to be there.

BRAND: As a correspondent.

MORGAN: Correct. But my excuse is I'm anchoring the show for CNN.

BRAND: I think there would be crossed swords in your pathway, were you to try and get into the Abbey.

MORGAN: Are you a monarchist?

BRAND: You know, I've been overwhelmed by patriotism since I've been here. I don't know if you've experienced it since you've been in the United States. But -- because they're so enamored about pageantry and like the history I have become sort of seduced by it. And obviously by Helen Mirren's performance as the queen. I think those things have contributed to a renewed appreciation for the monarchy.

Whilst I still believe in absolute equality at my core, I sort of think -- I like watching a film like "The Elizabeth," and I think, bloody hell, there's those crowned jewels. All those -- isn't it amazing? So because you've got -- because you're given it as a kid. And if you presented that historical information quite banal way and this is Henry VIII, the other six wives -- bull, but (INAUDIBLE) -- why you did? Why (INAUDIBLE) because he was bored of her? What a move? MORGAN: I've been at the -- at the World Variety show when you met Her Majesty. I was standing a few feet away.

BRAND: Really? Did you see that moment? Yes, that was --

MORGAN: I did.

BRAND: Like I could sense -- I've met the royals on two occasions, Prince Charles and Her Majesty. And like -- you know, when you do a handshake, there was no willingness to linger. I could sort of feel -- OK, that's over. You're back to your moment.

MORGAN: It was a great day because she didn't recognize Simon Cowell, which was --


MORGAN: Made him utterly indignant. Did she know who you were, do you think?

BRAND: I don't know if she knew -- she knew quite how to contextualize me but obviously I've done stand-up before her moment, so hopefully she recognized me as the gentleman from the stage. Otherwise I'd be concerned for her welfare.

But I think she would have known my backstory. And some of the stuff I did was quite cheeky about -- like you know, Czar Philips and herself and now I have -- and licking the front of stamps, an erotic idea, you know, so hopefully that made an impression.

MORGAN: A lot of people always said to me, what is the difference between British and American humor? And it's too trite to simply say the sarcasm and the irony. Everyone says that. But actually it depends where you are in America, I find. And also I think it's not as simple as that. What would you say is the difference? As a comedian do you tailor your act when you're in America?

BRAND: I think it's as simple as references. I think there's a very direct corroborated base that's based around our language. I certainly don't think it holds true that the American -- those viewers, anyway, unsophisticated when you think of the geniuses like Seinfeld and Pryor -- that you know, so they just consistently produce amazing comedy.

So I think that -- I focus more on the similarities as opposed to the differences. I just think it's about having the correct references. In the UK, my Englishness has no value. As a commodity. Whereas over here, that's something that is --


BRAND: Is in heart.

MORGAN: Not at the moment. In "Boots the Chemist," in Kensington High Street -- I know you'll be a familiar attendee of. BRAND: Of course.

MORGAN: There was a young guy behind the counter. And I went to pay my check, let's call it check for the benefit of this audience. And he started laughing. He said, do I you mind if I ask you a question? I knew he'd recognized me. And I thought this would never happen in America.

There were four very old women behind me in the queue. And leaned forward, he said, are they your fan club, mate? I just thought, I couldn't imagine that exchange happening in an American store. They wouldn't do that kind of -- because they would think you'd be offended.

BRAND: Perhaps in America celebrity culture fulfills the role of the monarchy in ours. I think there is an inherit disrespect for celebrity in the UK culture.

MORGAN: That's true.

BRAND: Which I think perhaps you're one of the architects of through your work in the tabloid media.


BRAND: But I must say, I enjoyed the congeniality and the ease like -- all right, mate, all right, Russell, get your work here. Like I -- I kind of enjoy that. And it's so refreshing.


BRAND: But also over here, there was a kind of respect that's also enjoyable.

MORGAN: We're going to have a short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about an unlikely character you're playing in a new movie because he's a womanizing drunk, something you no longer are, Russell.

BRAND: It was a stretch.



BRAND: No, no, that doesn't help. My god. But I'm not qualified. That was no trouble. That was no -- what a lot of fuss. What a lot of fuss about nothing.


MORGAN: Your new movie "Arthur." Obviously, you're replacing a legend. I mean Dudley Moore made "Arthur" this immortal character. Did you have any qualms about taking over such a part from one of your comedy heroes? BRAND: I didn't really have qualms, Piers. And I hope that doesn't sound disrespectful because I hold Dudley Moore in such reverence. I have such a strong feeling and affection for the original film.

I just felt like a privilege and an honor. And also for me, because I'm in the film, I don't think of it as a replacement. I just thought, oh, my god, yes, if we do this correctly, it could be a beautiful way of updating a very traditional and archetype of story. I thought that there was a latitude for it.

MORGAN: So do you ever wonder in your earlier years that one day Nick Nolte would be grabbing your lower abdominal region at such an aggressive manner?

BRAND: I don't think any of us could have predicted that Nick Nolte would cup me with such fervor, such commitment and such a stubborn refusal to adapt his philosophy towards my testicular region when between each take, they say, Nick, right -- didn't even say -- in the script it says like Burt -- Nick Nolte's character -- helps Arthur onto the horse. No where did it say by the balls.


BRAND: I mean he just tried and he did it. Because, you know, go ahead, Nick, you've done it again, mate. You found that -- was just sort of rambling. Response to every question. On this one, don't do it. And he would always say that he was not going to. And then the moment would happen, he couldn't help himself. I don't know what pheromone was being released. But he started getting -- would hoist me up and then the last thing you want after being picked up by that region by Nick Nolte is to be placed on a horse. Because soon after, the whole thing gallops off. So it's like such a battering to that region. By the end of the day, I had simply one.

MORGAN: You got a producer credit on this. What does it actually mean?

BRAND: Yes. It means -- the point that "Arthur" was suggested, there was no director attached. There's no writer attached. It was simply -- they said that Warner Brothers have this (INAUDIBLE) for "Arthur," are you aware? I said, my god, I'm a huge fan of the original. I love Dudley Moore.

Would you be interested in remaking it? Of course I would. Who would you like to write it? We said Peter Balem who's written like (INAUDIBLE), and stuff, and wrote "Borat" and "Bruno" they did with Sasha Baron Cohen. I love him. And then when they talked about the director, they said the guy that directs "Modern Family" and I love that show. Jason Weiner. And he turned out to be brilliant. So it just means that you're involved in the decisions of the --

MORGAN: And you went with Jennifer Garner and Helen Mirren. Two of the finest women in Hollywood.

BRAND: Yes, I was -- MORGAN: What was that like, you lucky little devil?

BRAND: Jennifer Garner is extraordinary, professional, graceful, brilliant. Like a different -- it's not anything I'm familiar with. Like a movie star of Yore. I said (INAUDIBLE). Her conduct was sort of lovely, easy to be around, encouraging, well up for the improvising. So I think what people know that I like to improvise and stuff. I kind of see it, it's like a game or a challenge. She was really into that.

I was smelling the bottles of booze to get into character because I don't drink anymore as you know. So like -- Jennifer got into that as well even when she wasn't necessarily --


MORGAN: You got to smell the alcohol?

BRAND: Yes. Yes. I take the bottles of rum, bottles of tequila, just to evoke the memory.

MORGAN: I mean for a guy -- you call yourself a recovering alcoholic?

BRAND: Absolutely, yes.

MORGAN: Is that not difficult to do that?

BRAND: Like people were like initially concerned I was doing it, but I'm very committed to my recovery. And I just wanted to do it just to remind myself of that feeling. The euphoria, Piers.

MORGAN: What did you feel when you smelled it?

BRAND: It was really good. It was like a distilled -- the positive aspects of alcoholism. I'm fun, I'm jaunty. Without having to wake up with a terrible headache and a stranger.


MORGAN: What about Dame Helen? I love Helen Mirren. I think she's just a fabulous person, never mind a great star.


MORGAN: Is she as much fun to work with as I imagine she is?

BRAND: I wouldn't -- yes, she certainly is, Piers. I mean I don't know what you imagine.


BRAND: God knows what goes on in there. But she was --

MORGAN: The bath scene in the movie. I remember thinking I wish I was you for that. BRAND: Well, I wished I was me for that before it happened. And believe me, believe I can illustrate dreams and weave them into reality. Because -- I was trying to think -- I was thinking about why I like about Helen Mirren. And it was her matriarchal potency coupled with her sexuality.

What would be the perfect situation for me with Helen Mirren? It's not just the straight-up wine and dine situation. I thought there would be a nurturing aspect. I thought what I'd like is for Helen Mirren to bathe me so I'd feel all loved and looked after, but there's a confusing aspect to it.


BRAND: A line is crossed when some soap is dropped. And like -- then that happened. In "Arthur" she gave me a bath. I just thought, wow, this is weird that this is happening. Can I literally make dreams real?

And in terms of her behavior, she's so elegant and brilliant and lovely to my mom and lovely to all my friends and gives good advice. Here's a good thing. The fly broke on my trousers. By then, I was familiar with her uncomfortable -- the reverence had faded or perhaps blossomed into love.

And I went, oh, Helen, look, my fly is broken. That's (INAUDIBLE). She was sitting -- stood in front of -- like in a suggested way. She went, go on, then.


BRAND: I felt things retract and recoil, so suddenly scared. Actually she's got --

MORGAN: Apart from the -- you're now a happily married man.

BRAND: Absolutely.

MORGAN: How's that going?

BRAND: I really love married life. I love the companionship and the friendship and the consistency of someone being there. I really enjoying intimacy. It was obviously a huge transition for me. But I'm enjoying it enormously.

MORGAN: Was she concerned by Nick Nolte's --

BRAND: I told her about it.

MORGAN: -- assault on your genitalia?

BRAND: I mean obviously I was in New York at that time and she was away working some road. So probably part of me enjoyed the contact.

(LAUGHTER) BRAND: It comes to something when you're having an affair with Nick Nolte.

MORGAN: You're -- also two big best-sellers. There is talk that your mother-in-law might be writing a book.

BRAND: I'm not sure that that will happen. I think that's largely speculative. Although having, you know, become -- I love my mother-in-law and spend a lot of time with her. She's had an incredible life, you know? She hung out with Jimi Hendrix. Briefly met Picasso. (INAUDIBLE) like history.

MORGAN: Most husbands, though, they are (INAUDIBLE) their mother-in-law writing a book would fill them with horror. Are you slightly apprehensive this might happen?

BRAND: No, because what could be left to be said about me?


BRAND: They know I'm a junkie, they know the way I carried on with women. They know I've been in trouble with the police. They know the ridiculous things I've said and done. I've apologized for all of them. There's no more skeletons in my closet. At least --


MORGAN: I mean, Katy, I've met her, she's a lovely, feisty, funny girl. But her mother, I'd imagine, must have had some concern --


MORGAN: -- about you and her hitching up. Just given -- the moment it happened exploded you into this celebrity stratosphere here. And then slowly all the stories came out from your past. Was she worried, Katy's mom?

BRAND: I suppose that her mother and father are Christians and I suppose one of the key tenets of Christianity is forgiveness and they've certainly practiced that with me. And they've also been very, very open with me and very loving.

I was nervous meeting them. Her father is like, literally, a preacher. I thought this is going to go down well. I'm meeting a Christian preacher --

MORGAN: Not naturally easy bedfellows, you'd say?

BRAND: You wouldn't have thought bedfellows at all. You thought that would be precluded deep from the (INAUDIBLE).


BRAND: But, like, it turns out that we're very comfortable under the same comforter. MORGAN: Are you religious at all?

BRAND: I'm -- yes. I am --

MORGAN: Believe in god?

BRAND: Yes, I am spiritual. I believe absolutely in god, yes.

MORGAN: What do you think "Arthur" will do to you in terms of your Hollywood career? Are you tempted to go a little to do what so many comedians do which is go a little bit more serious next time? Are you searching for that dramatic role inside you?

BRAND: I tried it as a serious actor. I went to the same drama school as Colin Firth in fact. And so a little bit of me thinks, whoa, I'd like to -- but I don't have some yearnings to be taken seriously. I just like being taken as a comedian.

I like comedy. I love it and I just -- just happy to take it as it goes. I don't feel like, oh, "Arthur" doesn't give me enough freedom. I think it's like an honor to be "Arthur."

MORGAN: No, but you are -- you can be more serious than you'd perhaps like people to know. I have had a conversation with you. You are serious. You're very thoughtful. Much more sensitive perhaps than people realize. It's not all just laugh a minute with you. Is it?

BRAND: No. But I think that -- I love making people laugh. I love the sound. I love the feeling it engenders in me and them I hope. So I will just -- you know, do it if something interesting came along. I don't feel like comedy is inferior. I feel like it's superior. I love comedy above all else.

MORGAN: We're going to come back after the break with more on "Arthur."

BRAND: All right.


MORGAN: That was Russell Brand in his breakout role in "Forgetting Sara Marshall."

When that happened, it must have been a great moment, wasn't it? You come over here. I mean suddenly you're in this movie. And bang, you're a movie star.

BRAND: I'm only just now beginning to realize how grateful I will be for that opportunity. Because while it's happening, kind of dealing with the business of it and the matter of it. And like so I was aware that people say, oh, you're really good in that film. And I was aware that I was like getting invited on, like, chat shows and stuff. Especially saying now, I'm really lucky that that happened.

MORGAN: Have you drifted into divadom at all? BRAND: No, I think actually I've drifted out of it. Because when I was, like, a junkie, it was sort of like -- and then like afterwards kind of loopy and insulated. It was easier to maintain the idea of being self-infatuated. Once you're married and in love with someone who's incredibly successful it brings about this incredible and immediate parity. Like I have a constant reminder that I'm not the most important person in the world.

MORGAN: You're less selfish now?

BRAND: Yes. Very much I think. Yes, very much. Because I really, really love somebody. So like I recognize that my feelings aren't the most important thing in the world. Also I'm lucky that I've worked with the same group of people for some time who remind me incessantly that -- you're just some bloke from Essex, calm down. I never maintain -- I never saw that develop too much velocity in the upward trajectory towards my own bottom.

MORGAN: One interesting thing in "Arthur" was actually you take alcoholism in the movie more seriously than people may expect. Certainly more seriously than in the Dudley Moore film. And I want to show you a clip to illustrate what I'm talking about.


BRAND: Years of being (INAUDIBLE) often?

HELEN MIRREN, ACTRESS, "ARTHUR": Yes, I was once. Yes, in London. He was from Spain. He asked me to go there with him. You were nearly 3.

BRAND: What happened?

MIRREN: Two days before I was due to leave, I had my bags all packed. Your father died.

BRAND: You should have gone. I'd have understood.

MIRREN: It was too late. I loved you.

BRAND: What you never told me?

MIRREN: I didn't want you to feel bad.

BRAND: Why are you telling me now?

MIRREN: I want you to feel bad.


MORGAN: A mixture of comedy. A very tender exchange there. Very serious.

BRAND: Yes. It's a film that whilst it's very funny has incredible heart. I think because of the performance of Dame Helen. And I'm glad. Because when you asked earlier about, oh, do I have intentions to get into drama? I don't think so. I think comedy can elicit those kind of --

MORGAN: Well, it's a good example actually. In "Arthur" there. That is just dramatic work, isn't it?

BRAND: Yes, I hope so. That's something that the writer and director and all of us collaborated, and making sure that it wasn't just the -- you know, comedy about a drunken sort of boozer.

BRAND: Has money made you happier? Does it buy happiness? It's a cliche. But I suspect there's a certain truth to -- it brings you comfort. Worry about bills and stuff.

BRAND: Given that I had an early life that was about, like, sort of stealing to survive and having to get on to public transport without paying and sort of petty incidents and low-life crime-type stuff, then yes, it's obviously easier to have money than to be poor.

But I think that to say that money brings happiness is reductive. And I think the message of this film, in fact, the reason that it's a beautiful fairy tale, is because "Arthur" has money. He's a billionaire. But he's unhappy and he is lonely until he finds love.

And I suppose as long as we live in a society and a culture that deifies money and that is the currency of our existence, then I suppose it's going to be difficult to find happiness if you're excluded from that. But I think it's important to remember, you know, like nothing worth knowing can be taught, nothing worth having can be bought.

MORGAN: Have you become better behaved because you have to? Because everyone in the street now is carrying a camera or a video? Do you feel slightly imprisoned by your celebrity status?

BRAND: No, I feel that it's an inward monitor that makes me behave better. Because I've aware -- really, the main reason I behave well is because I don't want to hurt other people. I don't want to hurt myself. That's the main reason. It's not so much fear of consequence in the same way. It's not like, oh, no, I wish I could go plundering up and down this brothel, elbowing people aside in some gleeful pursuit of orgasm.

It's more that I don't want to hurt anyone anymore. You know, like I care about myself. I care about others.

MORGAN: Doesn't any tiny part of you want to go and do that?

BRAND: Well, I mean, I have animal instincts, you know, I'm still like a beckoned creature. But like -- no, we're all part monkey, part angel. And I'm just trying to veer towards the angelic aspect.

MORGAN: The Internet is going crazy with rumors that you are teaming up with Tom Cruise to do a movie version of "Rock of Ages."


BRAND: I'm glad you finished that sentence.


BRAND: I don't know about all that.

MORGAN: So you knew Tom cruise to make a movie.

BRAND: Good, fair enough. All right then. No, we've been talking about "Rock of Ages" for a little while. But I think we're trying to work our scheduling. Because as you know a man who is married to a person who could often be on another continent, I need to put my marriage first. If you can work out the scheduling.

MORGAN: You're going to put your marriage before a movie with Tom Cruise?


MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: Really?

BRAND: Yes. Because I'm married to her forever.


BRAND: He's brilliant.

MORGAN: She'll be there at the end of filming.

BRAND: Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin.

MORGAN: Mate --


MORGAN: Let me help you with this decision. You don't want to do it, I'm available.

BRAND: Well, there is singing, Piers. You may need a wig.

MORGAN: What is the big final ambition for you? What's the great holy grail?

BRAND: For me, I just want to continue being a stand-up comedian, continue to be happy in my marriage, and to make sure that when I interact with people, I make them happier. I bring if not bliss to people, at least I walk away thinking -- just want people to bring happiness to people.

And I will start that off in a very small way and see what the parameters of such an ambition are.

MORGAN: Russell, it's been a real pleasure. BRAND: Thank you, Piers. Thank you, sir.

MORGAN: That was Russell Brand. Next, the super model who's always on top, Tyra Banks.


MORGAN: Tyra Banks, how are you?

TYRA BANKS, SUPERMODEL: I'm good, how are you, Mr. Morgan?

MORGAN: You've been in my shoes. You've done a talk show.


MORGAN: If you were me, knowing everything you know about Tyra Banks, where would you go to unlock the real Tyra?

BANKS: To unlock the real Tyra? Maybe address some insecurities. People always ask me about -- like, oh, you're building this empire and all this type of stuff. But maybe go to the core and say what makes me insecure, what keeps me up at night.

MORGAN: What does keep you up at night?

BANKS: What keeps me up at night? Sometimes it's day-to-day work stuff. And a lot of the times it's am I making the wrong decisions in terms of reaching young women.

MORGAN: Really?

BANKS: Am I making the wrong decisions?

MORGAN: What is the most important decision for you at night? When you're sitting there wrestling and tossing and turning, like we all do, is it you personally? Is it thinking, I'm nearly 40, God forbid, that super model has to go through this terrible nightmare of turning the big 40. Is it the fact you've never got married, never had kids? Is it business? Is it I'm Harvard; I'm going to be the next Oprah? What is it?

BANKS: None of that.

MORGAN: What is it?

BANKS: First of all, let's break it down. You started with almost 40. I'll be 40 in three years. I never had that insecurity. A lot of my colleagues in the past that were models, I think they probably lied about their age. I wear my age with pride. I wear my age with pride. I love to say, I'm 37. And people say, you look good, as opposed to 25, and they are like, you know, she's lying. That doesn't keep me up at night.

What's the other thing you said?

MORGAN: Getting married, having kids. BANKS: It doesn't keep me up at night, but I definitely want to have children. I feel like that if I don't have children, my life is not complete. And then Harvard doesn't keep me up at night unless I'm at Harvard. When I'm in my bed in New York, I'm not worrying about Harvard.

MORGAN: I find your career extraordinary. I think the fact you've gone from being a model to now you're at Harvard and you're running this little business empire and stuff -- it's a very unusual route that you've taken -- route, as I believe you Americans say. So it's an unusual way that you've gone about your life, isn't it? A surprising one.

BANKS: It's important for me -- it comes naturally to zag. And I tell everybody this in my business.

MORGAN: What is to zag?

BANKS: Well, zig is like everybody's zigging, right? Then you zag and it's like, bam, we're doing something different. We have to innovate. If you stop innovating, then you just go kind of -- I have an entrepreneurial spirit.

What I have to work on is really focusing on the project at hand and not getting bored and moving to the next thing.

MORGAN: Even as I watch you do that, you're quite scary, aren't you?

BANKS: Am I scary?

MORGAN: Sort of intimidating in a good way.

BANKS: Am I intimidating?

MORGAN: It's quite sexy. But it's like you are --

BANKS: Are you serious? Am I intimidating, Piers? Am I, darling?

MORGAN: Yes, you are.

BANKS: I would never think you would say that. I think you're intimidating.

MORGAN: Really?

BANKS: I was saying this, yes, earlier. I was watching you. I'm like, it's interesting that he asks very pointed and sometimes, like, oh, my god, I can't believe you asked that question. But there's such a grace about it, you don't realize that you've just --

MORGAN: It's the British accent. We get away with murder.

BANKS: Yes, you don't realize you've been insulted. It's the gift. MORGAN: No, exactly. That's the art.

BANKS: Shall I talk like this? Hello. I think I have a common British accent.

MORGAN: But you are -- I wouldn't say you are scary, but you are intimidating.

BANKS: Really?

MORGAN: Yes, because the mixture of beauty, brains, of that kind of drive and energy you have, it is intimidating for a guy I think.

BANKS: Really? So you're married?


BANKS: So if you were single and you found me attractive, would you ask me out or would it be too much?

MORGAN: I wouldn't hesitate. I'm full of front, as we say back home, you see. It wouldn't bother me at all. I can imagine for a lot of men, they'd find it intimidating.

BANKS: Yeah. I'm in a relationship now. When I was not connected with someone, I didn't get asked out that often.

MORGAN: Why have you gone to Harvard? It strikes me you were earning 30 million dollars a year. You're one of the biggest female business stars in the country. Why do you need business lessons?

BANKS: There's a difference between earning money because you're getting up every day to tap dance, right? So right now, you get up in the morning and you go, it's the PIERS MORGAN SHOW. If you don't get up and do that, no money comes into your company, right?

So I don't want to tap dance forever. I want to create a business that stands for breaking the beauty barriers and having women across this world feel more beautiful than I feel the fashion and beauty industry makes them feel.

MORGAN: Did you ever have any money when you were young?

BANKS: Yeah, I had 20 dollars a week. And I saved every minute -- every penny of it. My mom would give me that 20 bucks. And I'd put it underneath my little perfume counter. And I would just peel it out.

MORGAN: What advice did your mom give you when you were young?

BANKS: My mom said plan for the end at the beginning.

MORGAN: Plan for the end at the beginning.

BANKS: Plan for the end at the beginning. So I'm constantly knowing that there are some things that do have a life -- MORGAN: What are you planning for now? What's the end of what you're at now?

BANKS: I decided to partner with an amazing company, Demand Media. And I've created a website called, which is a fashion and beauty website.


BANKS: It's not fashion, beauty, lifestyle. It is fashion and beauty. yes. But the difference is, Piers, there's a lot of websites and a lot of magazines that tell women -- and I used to be a part of these -- I would be hired to be the model and would tell women, you must look like this. If you don't have this hair, this skin, this eye, this wrinkle free face, if you don't look like this, you're a loser, you're not good enough.

And that kept me up at night. And so what we've done --

MORGAN: What do you offer them that's different?

BANKS: What I offer them is personalization. So you come to this site -- say you've filled everything out and you're coming back. The site greets you by name. Hello -- well, it's catered to women. But hello Piers, lady.

MORGAN: Call me Stephanie.

BANKS: And we have found out what your hair color is, your eye color, your eye shape, your skin tone, your height, your body shape. And we will customize material based on you. So you come back. We've got your gorgeous -- what is it, blue-gray eyes, this beautiful --

MORGAN: Gorgeous --

BANKS: -- brownish hair, beautiful natural twinkling eyes. You will find stuff for you. Nobody does that. We're doing that.

MORGAN: Very personalized, tailored --

BANKS: Every woman, I feel they deserve to be in this beauty tribe, you know. It's this small tribe. Women deserve to be in that. When a woman opens a fashion magazine, it's not like, whoa, that's really pretty, whoa, yeah, I want those pants. Let me close it.

It's I'm not good enough. They're tell me that I'm not good enough because I don't look like that.

MORGAN: Let's take a quick break. You've hit the point I wanted to get to after the break, which is a moment that you had that was a real low moment with a picture in a magazine.

BANKS: With a big fat ass.

MORGAN: That's the one.





MORGAN: Back now with Tyra banks. Tyra, there was this what was described to me as a bathing suit scandal, in which you were photographed in an unflattering light in a bathing suit. I'm going to show you the photograph to remind you of this horrifying moment in your life. I'm that kind of chivalrous guy. So here we go. Let's have a look.


MORGAN: When you see the picture, what are you thinking right now?

BANKS: So many things. First of all, I was doing a photo shoot. I wasn't on vacation. I was in Australia shooting "America's Next Top Model." I do these photos of, like, this is what the photo should look like if you're a very successful trained model that's been doing this for years.

So we were shooting on the beach. I came home after, you know, shooting all of "Top Model" in Australia. My team calls me and says you're on the cover of every single tabloid. I'm like, what, I go to bed at 9:00 every night, what is it? It has to be some crazy lie.

Then they show me picture. I'm like, oh. I wasn't so concerned with the picture as much as I was the terms. They were saying "America's Next Top Waddle." and "Tyra Booty Banks," just like all this stuff. And I kind of said, oh, you know, whatever, it will go away. You know, who cares.

And then I started having these women, like, going on my website saying, well, if they're calling you fat, what the hell am I? What does that mean? I had my friends saying this. I had a friend tear up to me. And she was just like really hurt by it for me. She was hurt by it for herself because she was on this kind of weight loss journey.

I said, you know what, maybe I should do something about this. So I decided on my talk show -- which I don't have any more. It's still in reruns, but I'm not taping it anymore. I decided I wanted to say something. I wanted to say something very loud.

MORGAN: That was a bold thing to do.

BANKS: But I didn't know I was going to put on the swimsuit, the same swimsuit two weeks later, put on the exact same swimsuit that I wore on that beach. I told everybody to kiss my fat ass. And it's funny. I didn't --

MORGAN: I loved you for that. When you see all these young models come on your hugely successful show -- this airs in Britain. I have watched it for years there. Given what you went through with that experience, you know what could happen to them if they become famous. You know the incredible scrutiny that can come their way, the pressure on a young woman in the public eye.

What was the best advice you can give them to deal with that?

BANKS: What my mother told me -- my mother is like the sage advice. She taught me to separate myself from the product. She said it's a product, Tyra. It's a thing. She said, you're the girl with the -- with the kooky green eyes that are too far apart and the frizzy, you know, sandy colored hair with the cellulite on your butt. That's who you are.

That whole made up thing, it's like a monster. When they talk about it, when they say it's not good enough, it's not you, it's a mirage. That helped me to separate it. Did I go to bed crying at night sometimes when a child client told me that I was too fat and they don't want to hire me for their fashion show?

Or did I cry down the street with my mother when a whole list of designers one season told me my butt was getting too big? You're talking tons of them. Sure, I did. But that advice from my mother made me say, OK, separate it. It's a business.

MORGAN: Isn't it true that every woman, basically, if they've got a small butt, they want a big one. If they they've got a big one, they want a small one. If they've got big cleavage, they want a small one. Small cleavage, big one. It's like, isn't it always the grass is always greener?

BANKS: I'd say yes and no. There is a typical kind of body that I think the industry is pushing.

MORGAN: Yeah, but it's not the body, I would argue, that most men like. It's a body that women think other women will like.

BANKS: Yes, women compete with other women.

MORGAN: Women dress for women.

BANKS: Most definitely.

MORGAN: Women I think get skinny for women. I've never met a guy who says to me, I wish my girlfriend was skinny ever. I've never heard that sentence.

BANKS: You haven't?


BANKS: So what is too big for you?

MORGAN: I don't think there is such a thing. I think actually a lady who's not obsessive about being skinny tends to be much more fun.

BANKS: You sound like a black man, Piers. Black men love like body.

MORGAN: I'd like, for wont of a better phrase, a bit of meat on the bone.

BANKS: Yes. Nice, back that thing up on Piers.

MORGAN: Don't like skinnies. Because I think skinny is for women. It's for magazines. It's for propagating a false image. Isn't it?

BANKS: But I do feel that a lot of men have been brainwashed. And they think that's what they want. And I don't think that they know that biologically or physiologically that they actually want to feel softness next to them, that they want to feel -- that's why they're attracted to breasts and things, because it's not what you have. You don't have breasts, do you?

MORGAN: Not in the conventional sense. Are you au natural?


BANKS: It was a very big rumor that I had breast implants. And I don't blame you. On the cover of these magazines -- I was very young. I was 23, 24, 25, and they were up there, like bam, where they pretty much looked fake. I'll admit that they did look fake. But they weren't.

And my mom was like, they have no idea that you're just -- cut to years later, they are still thinking that because I'm wearing these gorgeous push up bras. So I did an episode of my talk show where I took the bra off and showed that they weren't up here anymore. And then I had a doctor come on and do a live sonogram and we showed that there's nothing in there.

MORGAN: Would you ever have a bit of nip and tuck, or no?

BANKS: Oh definitely.

MORGAN: If the time comes, you will?

BANKS: Most definitely, yes.

MORGAN: No hesitation?

BANKS: No hesitation.

MORGAN: I like that about you. When we come back, I'm going to talk to you about President Obama, who I know is one of your great moments in your talk show.

BANKS: I was so nervous when I interviewed him. I was shaking like this.


MORGAN: Back now with Tyra Banks. BANKS: That was me thicker.

MORGAN: That's you thicker, yes.

BANKS: That's me by my lusciousness.

MORGAN: If I may say so, there's not much to complain about, is there, in the current frame. Talk to me about your talk show. It's recently come to an end. It's still obviously -- yes, how do you feel about that? Are you bittersweet? Did you enjoy it?

BANKS: Piers, it was beautiful. Like being able to have a platform, which you now have a platform, and to speak your mind and to ask whatever fricking question you want to ask was a great thing. For me to reach women in such a way, to like have a pulse of young women and to have strong ratings with this young demographic was fantastic. The only thing is, it was killing me.

MORGAN: Physically killing you?

BANKS: It was physically killing me, with producing it and starring in it and producing "America's Next Top Model" and being on camera with "America's Next Top Model," and creating new businesses, TypeF. You know, there's so many other things.

MORGAN: You can't have an off day, can you? You're Tyra Banks. You've always got to look hot.

BANKS: You've got to be on. You've got to -- so it was really, really killing me. There were some days I would be walking to the stage and I would have to cut back tears, only because of stress.

MORGAN: I want to play a clip, which is one of the great moments when you had the president -- President Obama came on. Let's have a look at this.


BANKS: We have the crystal ball.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's nice. Let me take a look at that.

BANKS: What do you see in your future, senator?

OBAMA: I see the White House right there.


MORGAN: What do you think of him? How do you think he's getting on?

BANKS: You know, it's -- he inherited some crazy stuff. I feel that it's interesting that a lot of people feel like it's supposed to be ding, perfect. So it's hard when you inherit something that's really, really bad. It takes a long time to turn around a business, which is something I studied about. It doesn't happen overnight.

MORGAN: How important is money to you?

BANKS: Not as important as it should be.

MORGAN: Are you so wealthy now, you never have to worry about another bill coming in, another check to pay?

BANKS: I don't worry about like personal checks, but I do worry about the sustainability of my business, most definitely. But I'm not led by money, because if that's the case, I can throw my name on everything and have a billion-dollar company.

MORGAN: Why don't you? I do that.

BANKS: No, brand is important to me. Longevity is important.

MORGAN: What's the stuff you won't do?

BANKS: Won't do? I won't just slap my name on something just because. I've been asked to do a perfume this, and a clothes that, a that, this. There may be something that we do.

MORGAN: The Tyra Banks brand, what is it?

BANKS: Well, it's beauty meets entertainment.

MORGAN: Really?

BANKS: Yes. I want to take fashion and beauty and make it fun. I want to teach women and share with them how to make them look and feel more beautiful than they already are.

MORGAN: Give me some more adjectives. What do you stand for?

BANKS: Fun, empowerment, atypical beauty, celebrating your uniqueness, being your own CEO, the CEO of your life. That's what we stand for.

MORGAN: Honesty?

BANKS: Honesty, yes.


BANKS: TMI, too much information sometimes. Fantasy and fun, yeah.

MORGAN: Talking of personal and business, I couldn't leave this without asking how your romantic life is now going? You're with a very successful businessman.

BANKS: I am.

MORGAN: How is he dealing with you now at Harvard maybe treading on his water a bit? BANKS: He's a Columbia guy and I'm a Harvard girl now, so we kind of battle. Yes, we kind of joke about it. But I actually tutor with a Columbia professor. Hi, Sid. So I get some tutoring with finance.

MORGAN: Are you happy in your private life now?

BANKS: Very happy. Very happy.

MORGAN: Do you see any bells coming?

BANKS: I don't know about bells, but babies.

MORGAN: Really?

BANKS: Yes. I definitely want babies.


BANKS: Yeah.

MORGAN: Are you actively trying to process this?

BANKS: Are you saying am I having sexual relations?

MORGAN: Are you trying to have a baby?

BANKS: Maybe.

MORGAN: Really?

BANKS: Yeah, maybe.

MORGAN: So you wouldn't mind about doing that and not getting married?

BANKS: I don't think it's necessarily necessary.

MORGAN: We can expect a little Tyra any day now.

BANKS: A little Tyra, a little Tyrone.

MORGAN: A little Tyrone and a little empire.


BANKS: A big empire.

MORGAN: Should be nice. A big empire.

BANKS: A big one, yes.

MORGAN: I wish you luck. It's been a real pleasure.

BANKS: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: Come back again.

BANKS: I will.

MORGAN: I enjoyed it.

BANKS: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up tomorrow night, the emotional interview you won't see anywhere else.


MORGAN: What was it like for you when it all exploded?


MORGAN: When it all came out.

LONGORIA: The marriage?

MORGAN: Yeah, the fairy tale suddenly was hit by this hammer blow?

LONGORIA: Yeah. It was heartbreaking. It was -- this is the first time I'm talking about it, so I'm sorry. It was heartbreaking, you know. I think it was disappointing, because I had such an identity in being Mrs. Parker and being a wife. So when that's taken away from you, you go, who am I? So it's hard.



MORGAN: That's all for tonight. Here's my colleague Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."