Retired supermodel-turned-talk show host Tyra Banks conquered her fears of dolphins and killer whales by tackling them up close at San Diego, California's Sea World.

The former catwalk star has had a phobia of porpoises and sea mammals ever since suffering nightmares about them as a child.

But she faced up to her fears recently for a segment on her hit US daily show about how to help people conquer their quirky phobias.

After petting, hugging and even kissing dolphins and killer whales, Banks admits she has found a way to control her greatest fear.

But, as she sobbed her way through the footage - which appeared on yesterday's (07FEB06) show, she admitted she still has some way to go before her fears are completely conquered.

She said, "The fear is not over. I've gotten a little past it but there is something that still lives inside me.

"I think now, when I snorkel if I do ever see a dolphin, I won't hyperventilate and swallow water and drown."