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Tyra Banks has an unusual trick to avoid feeling intimidated

2015 Summer TCA Tour - Day 82015 Summer TCA Tour - Day 8
Models Tyra Banks (L) and Chrissy Teigen Photograph by Frederick M. Brown — Getty Images

If you need to fake confidence when speaking with someone important, look at their forehead instead of into their eyes, former supermodel Tyra Banks suggests.

The trick, according to Banks, is a sure way to avoid feeling intimidated while still appearing confident because they can’t tell where you’re actually looking. Banks, who after a successful modeling career has launched a slew of ventures including television shows, an app for taking selfies (now shuttered), and makeup company, shared some of the lessons she has learned over the years on Tuesday at a technology conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal in Laguna Beach, Calif.

In particular, she has learned about the importance of timing when reinventing a career, or “pivoting,” as Banks said, using a Silicon Valley jargon for drastically changing a business’ focus. The key, she said, is to moving into your next job or venture before people realize that your current one is winding down.

As for women taking on even small challenges like asking for a raise, Banks advises them to stick to talking about their talents and what they bring to their employer. A raise shouldn’t be about being able to pay the bills or other personal reasons — those aren’t the employer’s worries, Banks said. “Leave the personal out of there,” she added.

But while Banks is a mentor to many women and aspiring models today, she’s always had her own role model: her mother, who has been heavily involved in both her modeling career and her later ventures. Banks’s parents eventually divorced, and her mother’s financial independence was crucial, she said.

“I call that the ‘eff you money’ that every woman needs to have to be in control,” Banks said, repeating the common advice that women ensure they never stay in a relationship for financial reasons.

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