Businesswoman, supermodel and ice cream fanatic Tyra Banks has teamed up with ice cream scientist, Dr. Maya Warren, to develop her own line of SMiZE Cream frozen custard which launches today at her sweet shop on the ground level of Santa Monica Place.
The whimsical shop, inspired by the Willy Wonka film (which celebrated its 50th anniversary last month), is just a lipstick’s throw from her beauty theme park ModelLand in the beachside mall. It’s a personal passion project that Banks has been working on for 15 years.
Buried inside each container of the seven signature flavors – which include Strawberry BirthYAY! Cake, Brownies, I Love You, Purple Cookie Mon-STAR & Me, Salted Caramel King, Cookie Caramel Queen and Chocolate Barbeque – is a huge cookie dough truffle. Each ice cream flavor is served in limited-edition individually packaged servings, complete with a unique AR activation per ice cream flavor that happens right on your cup.
Ice cream has been an obsession for the America’s Next Top Model producer and Dancing With The Stars host since growing up in Inglewood and continued through her modeling days.
“When I was modeling in Paris after graduating from Immaculate Heart High School, before technology, I had all of my auditions and castings in a book,” Banks tells L.A. Weekly on a tour of her sweet shop. “You’d call your agency and they’d give the addresses of everywhere you had to go over the phone – about 15 a day. In the front of that book I had the address and Metro stop of every Haagen Daz in Paris.”
The crazy mixed-up flavors are all inspired by ice cream memories of family members and friends over the years, including a major driving force in her life – her mother – who is immortalized on the front of the shop as DJ Splitz.
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