Tyson Beckford is an American model and actor. He has been described as one of the most successful black male supermodels of all time. The model was born in New York to a Jamaican mother, Hillary Dixon Hall, and a Panamanian father, Lloyd Beckford. When he was born, his mother took the family back to Jamaica. They lived in Jamaica for seven years and relocated to New York, where he attended and graduated from Pittsford Mendon High School. During his schooling years, he got bullied for his looks. According to Hello Magazine, he was ridiculed for his exotic and high cheekbones. Despite the bullying, many modeling agencies were attracted by his looks and hired him. In fact, much of his net worth was a result of his modeling career. So his success can be considered a poetic justice for his bullies. Let’s explore other projects he did besides modeling that contributed to his net worth. Tag along.
Tyson was discovered in 1992 by Erik Lauren Counsel from The Source, a hip-hop magazine. At that time, he was hanging around Washington Square Park. He asked him to pose for a photograph, and he was convinced that he would be good in magazines. As a result, he landed a job with a magazine company posing for them. In 1994, he was introduced to Ralph Lauren, where he would feature in the Polo Sports ad campaign with Naomi Campbell. However, Tyson faced some challenges in Polo Sport. Several European and other international markets refused to run the campaign because they thought the models would be incapable of carrying the weight of the campaign on their shoulders. According to Provokr, no black model had ever been chosen to headline such a campaign hence the reluctance to run the ad. Ralph avoided the naysayers and ran the ad, which became successful. Tyson would go on to work for Polo Sport for five years. By 1995, he graced the covers of popular magazines like the New York Times, Paper, Essence, GQ, Details, and Vogue. Although he was primarily a catalog model, he also walked for fashion shows. There was one particular fashion show that he remembers fondly to date. According to New York Daily News, he narrated that he was once paid $40,000 for walking for only 60 seconds.
Tyson first appeared in The Notorious B.I.G.’s music video of 1995, One More Chance. In an interview with Vlad, he revealed that his appearance in the video was by chance. The late rapper found him in his Land Cruiser about to take a smoke. That was when he asked him to appear in the video, to which he agreed. This song became one of Biggie’s most commercially successful singles. Since then, he has appeared in other music videos like Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart (1996),” 50 Cent’s “21 Questions (2003),” Britney Spears’ “Toxic (2004)”, Mariah Carey’s “Infinity (2015)” and the list goes on.
Film and Television Career
Since his modeling gigs made him famous and successful, he decided to try his luck in acting. He debuted as himself in Ben Stiller’s comedy film, Zoolander (2001). In the movie, he played the role of Derek’s coach and hype man during a boxing competition. He first appears during a conflict between Hansel and Zoolander during the infamous walk-off scene. Though he appears as a minor character, his scene is the most talked about. Zoolander was successful since it grossed $45.2 million in the U.S. and Canada and $15.6 million in other countries against a budget of $28 million. Tyson was fortunate enough to appear in other films like Pandora’s Box (2002), Biker Boyz (2003), Gas (2004), Into the Blue (2005), Hotel California (2008), and many other films. In 2008, he appeared as a judge in “Make Me a Supermodel.” The reality show was based on the British reality series of the same name. The show had two seasons, so he only appeared in the first season. In the show, the bottom three contestants would be selected after each episode. The viewers would then vote out the contestants, and the judges would declare the episode’s winner thereafter. Following his stint in this show, he was asked to appear in other model shows like “Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model” and “America’s Next Top Model.” It is hard to determine whether he was paid the amount in all the films he appeared in. However, according to Know Net Worth, he charged $500,000 per movie and $200,000 per episode.
Tyson did not set out to conduct any coaching session. However, the opportunity came, and it would be senseless to turn it down. In 2012, an aspiring model named Adam Sabbagh approached Tyson. Adam was willing to pay Tyson at least $25,000 for a single modeling session. Tyson accepted the offer and trained him at Adam’s N.Y.C. apartment. After the session, Adam was optimistic that he would land a modeling gig at N.Y. Fashion Week.
Tyson made a lot of money from his acting and modeling gigs. So, it is expected for most wealthy people to purchase a lot of assets which contribute to their networth. For instance, he owns a Mercedes car that costs above $200,000. Besides the Mercedes car, he also owns a Kevlar Jeep, which costs around $40,080. Despite owning two vehicles, he seems to prefer to ride his Ducati bike, which costs approximately $12,395. To prove how much he likes the bike, look no further than Britney Spears’ “Toxic” video.
Tyson’s rise to fame is satisfying for the reader. When he was mocked for his appearance in school, you would be forgiven for thinking he wouldn’t be successful as a model. However, we have seen where his looks have taken him. Also, he had some setbacks while shooting his first ad campaign. Thanks to Ralph’s insistence to run his ad, he changed the modeling world for the better. Today, black models are featured predominantly in magazines and fashion shows, like other races. So if you want to be a model despite feeling unattractive, do not despair since you could become the next Tyson Beckford.
Written by Allen Lee
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