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Tyson Beckford is a pop-culture icon and one of the most successful male models of all time. He’s currently a judge on the international reality competition Next Top Model and previously hosted Make Me A Supermodel as well. He’s modeled for Ralph Lauren; he’s been named “Man of the Year” by VH1, one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” by People magazine and one of VH1’s 40 Hottest Hotties of the ‘90’s. He’s even been in some awesome and iconic music videos and movies (Zoolander, anyone?)
What’s a man who has accomplished so much say about family, though? And how does he keep that awesome body? What about his worst fashion statement ever? And, most importantly, what underwear does he wear and why? Our Editor-in-Chief, Michael Kleinmann, sits down with Mr. Beckford for a candid and thorough interview in which he uncovers all of the above and more. In perhaps our most exciting interview yet, The Underwear Expert would like to introduce Tyson Beckford: Stripped.
Michael Kleinmann: You’ve been mentoring models for a while now and you’re at it again with Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. What’s it like mentoring all these aspiring models?
Tyson Beckford: Some of them, they think they know everything. You know what I mean? It’s tough to try and teach them something. But when you get one, you know, that’s willing to listen and learn, it’s like a fresh canvas. You see them learning and you see them growing and you see them becoming better and that’s, if anything, that to me is more rewarding than anything else, you know?
Michael Kleinmann: Turning something raw into something refined, in other words.
Tyson Beckford: Yeah, definitely, and it’s just amazing to see them, you know a couple years later and they’re in an ad campaign. You know, it’s just really nice to see it.
Michael Kleinmann: Are you up to anything else?
Tyson Beckford: Well, this summer I’ve been doing a lot of charity stuff–I just came off the Kiehl’s LifeRide for amFAR where we raised $115,000—and just basically doing little things here and there, nothing really serious right now because it’s summertime. I try to keep my work light in the summer. In the fall I plan to get back on some script writing and movies and modeling and all this stuff that I’m used to doing.
Michael Kleinmann: So looking back at the modeling and everything else you’ve done professionally, do you have a favorite?
Tyson Beckford: I would say my favorites would have to be all the Ralph Lauren stuff and all the Polo Sport Fragrance ads. Those are my favorites.
Michael Kleinmann: How come?
Tyson Beckford: It was just a good time in fashion and it was a great time at Ralph Lauren with amazing people. It was just amazing.
Michael Kleinmann: Do you have plans for any modeling related things in the future?
Tyson Beckford: Yeah, I got some stuff lined up. We’ve been having some meetings with people but I can’t discuss it yet because then it will ruin the surprise!
Michael Kleinmann: So, let’s talk about underwear a little bit then. Boxers or briefs, Tyson?
Check out some of our favorite Tyson Beckford pics throughout the years and find out the answer to the question you know you’re kinda curious about after the jump.
Michael Kleinmann: What brands do you like?
Tyson Beckford: Right now my one favorite is Calvin Klein. Unless I come out with my own, which I’ve always thought about doing, that’s the only, you know, that’s the only thing I wear right now.
Michael Kleinmann: If you did create your own line of underwear what would you do differently?
Tyson Beckford: I’d definitely make a pair that, when you put your jeans on, they don’t ride up your thighs. I got pretty good-sized thighs and mine, I’m pullin’ ‘em down through my jeans, you know? I ride a motorcycle, so whenever I get off my motorcycle they’re all bunched up so I always get something with a better grip on the thighs.
Michael Kleinmann: Do you ever try wearing trunks instead of boxer briefs?
Tyson Beckford: Yep, I’ve tried ‘em.. They’re a little too tight on my, uh, my package.
Michael Kleinmann: Gotcha.
Tyson Beckford: Yea, I need somethin’ with some room.
Michael Kleinmann: I hear ya, I hear ya. We just put an article up about that the other day.
Tyson Beckford: You see! It is something that men are concerned with because we’re all different sizes so some are gonna fit men better than others.
Michael Kleinmann: But I think it mostly has to do with the fabric people are using because a lot of fabric is really giving, but you know, some of the more traditional fabrics and the way they’re sewn together, there’s just no room in there.
Tyson Beckford: Yeah, yeah, my favorite is the Pima cotton. It’s soft on ya and it’s giving. The microfibers, too, are great. The new Calvin’s that are out right now—oh man, they’re so amazing.
Michael Kleinmann: Which ones?
Tyson Beckford: The Calvin Klein Bold. Those are some of my favorite. I gotta head to the store and get me some new ones now because, you know, every six months I like to get new ones.
Michael Kleinmann: You like the bold in cotton or microfiber?
Tyson Beckford: I like it in microfiber and I like the boxer briefs as well. I love the great colors. I’m not afraid to wear pink, you know? The ladies love that one. And I notice more and more of my guy friends and model friends, you know, we’re at a photo shoot and we’re getting dressed for the next shot and everyone will have them on.
Michael Kleinmann: Do you buy your underwear in stores, Tyson?
Tyson Beckford: Men don’t really go to the store like women go to Victoria’s Secret. Men don’t really go to the store like that, they’d rather do it from home. For some men it’s embarrassing. But for me, I don’t have a problem with it because you know I’ve been seen in my underwear, I’ve been photographed naked so it’s not a big deal. I’m out buying underwear. I’m never embarrassed.
Michael Kleinmann: Do you ever match your underwear to your outfit?
Tyson Beckford: Oh, yeah! If I’m wearing white, I’m always wearing white underneath because I have a peeve with you know, wearing white pants that are almost see-through and then you got on a different color underwear, it just messes with my head so I can’t do it. If I’m wearing brand new dark jeans, I’ll wear a dark pair because if you wear white underwear the jeans rub off on them and then, you know, you ruin the white underwear. They come out with a bluish haze.
Michael Kleinmann: What is the worst fashion statement you ever made?
Tyson Beckford: I think probably back in the day—and this was in back then–but havin’ a jerry curl. I think that’s probably one of the worst fashion statements. I had a full head of hair, though, that’s the good thing.
Michael Kleinmann: What’s your workout routine?
Tyson Beckford: My workout routine consists of no weights, just strictly a lot of cardio, and a lot of calisthenics. You know, it’s more like a P90X style workout where I go from one extreme to the next. My two favorite things I do are jump roping and a lot of abs.
Michael Kleinmann: That can’t be it.
Tyson Beckford: Well, I just, me and my friend, over the past year have invented this push-up bar that really concentrates on the chest, the back, the traps, the biceps, the forearm, the triceps and also the lower back–it basically hits the upper body. There’s no way you can cheat with this machine. So, we came up with this and both of us have been working out on it and it’s been doing wonders. So, we’re setting up meetings now with different companies so we can try to get this thing out by Christmas.
Michael Kleinmann: Amazing. Do you have a name for it?
Tyson Beckford: Yeah, it’s called the Beckford Bar. It’s definitely a serious work-out, it’s a serious work-out because you can just–it’s simple–you can do anywhere from ten to twenty push-ups and, it gives you a pump that lasts all day.
Michael Kleinmann: Beckford Bar. That’s serious.
Tyson Beckford: It is serious! We just got done with all the legal aspects of it. Registering the bar and, you know, design aspects, so now we’re ready to try to bring it to market.
Michael Kleinmann: Do you have any advice for guys looking to have the perfect underwear body?
Tyson Beckford: Yeah, I tell a lot of guys to get a nice diet, to start a nice diet for yourself. Try to keep what you’re doin’ all natural; my diet consists of all organics. Do a lot of abs, too, if you wanna be an underwear model. Don’t go too extreme too fast, either, and hydrate–and when I say hydrate I mean drink lots of water–I’m into coconut water, which contains a lot of potassium–and stay away from Gatorade and those energy drinks because they’re not good in the long run– too much sugar and too much sodium.
Michael Kleinmann: Tyson, how do you balance fame and family? And how old is your son now, by the way?
Tyson Beckford: He’s 13 now. I mean it’s tough. I don’t get to see him as much because he’s on the West Coast and you know, it’s tough to balance the two, but I definitely try. My family here on the East Coast, they know that if I’m busy, I’m busy, but they’ll make time to come up to me, you know, when I get back home and we’ll have a few family days together.
Michael Kleinmann: Is there anything you wish you could do that being a celebrity kinda gets in the way of?
Tyson Beckford: Nah, I just pretty much try to do as much as I can, you know, but sometimes if you’re out on a date it’s kinda tough because if you’re trying to have a good time other people will come up and be like “Hey, can I take a picture?” and, you know, it can interrupt the date. But pretty much I can get around and do my own thing.
Michael Kleinmann: Thanks for talking, Tyson. In closing, any words to live by?
Tyson Beckford: Train hard, play hard! That’s it.
Photo Credit: Bravo TV, Cliff Watts, Next Top Model, Pirelli, Make Me a Supermodel