Tyra Banks searches for plus-size teen models

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesTyra Banks may rub us the wrong way from time to time, but we have to give her credit for being a boundary pusher. She went on her talk show sans-weave to discuss the importance of loving your real hair, she's had plus-sized and transgender contestants on "America's Next Top Model," and even dedicated the most recent season of "ANTM" to petite women who were 5'7" and under. Tyra is testing new waters again with a plus-sized modeling competition for teenagers called "Tyra's Fiercely Real Teen Model Search." To qualify, ladies must be 13 to 19 years old, 5'9" to 6'1", and wear between a size 12 and 20. In addition, Banks is having participants show off their bodies in fitted leggings and tank tops for their entry photos. She provides posing tips on her site, tyra.com.

"I've always felt it was my mission to expand the narrow perceptions of beauty," says Banks. "Through 'America's Next Top Model,' 'True Beauty,' and 'The Tyra Show' I challenge industry and universal standards by featuring and celebrating non-traditional beauty, and stressing that true beauty is both inside and out. As for why she chose to take on a new competition featuring plus-size girls, Tyra explains, "Plus-sized tends to have a negative connotation and I want young girls to realize that what's considered plus-sized is the average American woman. That woman is healthy, fit and beautiful. Adolescence is such an impressionable time in a young woman's life, and I hope this contest helps teen girls discover their own beauty from the inside out."

We do commend you, Tyra, for helping to change the perception of beauty and potentially boost the self esteem of many young women who feel they don't conform to unrealistic standards. Click here to find out more about the competition. [People]