Banks was the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
In 1997, she received the Michael Award for Supermodel of the Year.
She has done extensive print and/or runway work for fashion/advertising giants such as Anna Sui, Coors Light, Cover Girl, Badgley Mischka, Bill Blass, Cynthia Rowley, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Gemma Kahng, H&M, Isaac Mizrahi, Maria Snyder, Mc Donald's, Michael Kors, Milk, Nicole Miller, Nike, Inc., Oscar de la Renta, Pepsi, Perry Ellis, Randy Kemper, Richard Tyler, Rifat Ozbek, Swatch, Todd Oldham, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria's Secret, XOXO, and Yves Saint Laurent.
She has appeared on the covers of such magazines as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.
Afterwards, she had been rejected many times for modeling assignments, which led her to drop out of college so quickly.
Within Banks's first week in Paris, other designers were so entranced by her presence on the runway that she was booked for an unprecedented 25 shows--a record in the business for a newcomer.
Banks' television career began on the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which she played lead character Will's ex-girlfriend Jackie Ames, and made eight appearances throughout the series.
Also in '97, she was chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog, making her the first African American to be so honored.Banks retired from modeling in May 2005 to concentrate on her television show.Prior to graduating from Immaculate Heart High School in 1991, she wanted to give modeling a try.She applied and was accepted at Loyola Marymount University, that Elite modeling agency gave the 17-year-old, her first modeling job.She walked the runway for the final time at the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
On numerous occasions, she has been sought after to appear in Playboy magazine; however, she has turned each request down.