*Tyra Banks can’t seem to get enough of Rob Evans.
The new “America’s Next Top Model” judge, a replacement for photographer Nigel Barker, is a former boxer from Oxford, UK who was discovered two years ago when he was training for a fight. He has since appeared in Madonna’s video for “Girl Gone Wild” and is the face of CK One jeans and fragrance.
And he sure does make Tyra “smize.”
“We have this thing with Rob where he’s very difficult to look at for longer than three seconds at a time. No joke. You can ask all my crew,” Tyra told us. “There’s something about him where it’s like – so intimidating. But then you get to know him and he becomes family and very warm.”
In June, Radar Online reported that these two are actually dating. “Witnesses have seen the pair looking very much like a couple over the past days in California,” the gossip site reported.
At the recent TCA press tour, Tyra, 38, was gushing over the 24-year-old, saying how brave he was during last Friday’s season premiere for revealing his past hardships, which included homelessness.
“For somebody to be such an intense physical specimen, and to be so vulnerable and share his story – he couldn’t eat at one point, he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from,” said Tyra. “We have some girls that have this type of issue.”
The cynical viewer might look at the extra heaping of sad stories this cycle as a marketing ploy to keep viewers connected – a tactic that has worked on such shows as “The X Factor” and “American Idol.” “Top Model” has even added online voting and a ton of Facebook integration this year.
Below, Tyra says that declining ratings forced her to reexamine her entire approach to “Top Model,” including marketing and other business aspects that she picked up along with her degree from Harvard’s Executive Education Program.
The current Cycle 19 of “America’s Next Top Model” (featuring college students from across the country) airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on the CW. Below, Rob and Tyra flirt during rehearsal for the season premiere’s judging panel.