She's gone on to become a talk show host and creator of the hit show "America's Top Model." Now she's written a novel called "Modelland."
Banks understands the dreams of becoming famous and strutting the catwalk in designer fashions that lure young girls to the modeling industry.
"They might walk into an agency? that is a legitimate place. And those people say 'No,'" Banks said. "And so then they go to the next level and the next level. And they go down and down and down until someone says yes."
Banks says that's when girls can get into trouble.
"A lot of the times the person that says yes is a predator. But that girl is so hungry to hear, 'You are beautiful. You are special,' that their common sense is not hearing the danger signs of 'Come into this room. Take off your clothes,'" Banks said.
Banks warns aspiring models need to be wary of anyone who promises success for a price.
"It's so important to know on a business side that you should not have to pay someone money in order to make it," she said.
Banks credits her mother for protecting her when she started modeling and helping her avoid the horror stories that some girls have experienced.
Banks said 'Modelland' is fiction but it's inspired by her own life and some of the monsters she refers to in the book are taken from the real world.