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Tyra Banks on criticism: When to listen to it and when to ignore it

Tyra Banks
Michael Kovac | Paley Center For Media | Getty Images
Tyra Banks

On the road to becoming a supermodel, Tyra Banks learned a valuable skill — how to take criticism with a grain of salt.

Against all the odds of the notoriously tough beauty industry, Banks became an iconic model, created a hit TV show, starred in an Emmy-award winning talk show and founded a company in her name. Soon, she will defy convention again, co-teaching an MBA course on personal branding at Stanford University.

Despite having told off some of her toughest critics, Banks says that criticism sometimes has its place.

"Sometimes you ignore criticism, and sometimes pay attention to it," Banks told CNBC at the Re:Make conference hosted by lifestyle company Brit +Co.

It's all about figuring out where the criticism is coming from, Banks said.

"Is it constructive criticism that might actually help you grow even though it might hurt your ego?" she said. "Or is it someone who is just really making things up to make you feel bad about yourself?"

To figure out whether negative feedback is worth heeding, Banks recommends asking yourself a simple question: "Where is this negative feedback coming from?"

Thinking this over doesn't have to be stressful. If you're having a difficult time figuring out, discuss it with friends, she suggested.

"Some criticism can actually help you look in the mirror and say, 'You know what, as much as that hurt, and as nasty as that was coming out of that person's mouth or off of those person's fingertips through a social media post, I could learn from that." -Tyra Banks, supermodel and CEO of TYRA Beauty

"Some criticism can actually help you look in the mirror and say, 'You know what, as much as that hurt, and as nasty as that was coming out of that person's mouth or off of those person's fingertips through a social media post, I could learn from that,'" she said.

If the criticism is just plain mean, Banks said to walk it off.

"You just have to dust yourself off and put that coat of armor on," she said.