updated 10/19/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/19/2012 AT 1:20 PM ET
Step aside ladies, it’s time for the guys to smize.
“The male model idea has been around for five years,” Tyra Banks told PEOPLE days after announcing that men will be competing alongside women on America’s Next Top Model – a first in the show’s history – for its upcoming 20th season.
And it wasn’t an easy feat.
“Everybody says, ‘Tyra, you are the boss’ – but they don’t know that I have a boss. So I’ve had to ask my bosses for five years [to change up the show],” Banks said at the Flawsome Ball benefit Thursday in New York.
She’s been lobbying for years to get men on the show, even presenting different types of men to the network higher-ups.
Why their sudden change of heart?