Catching Up With ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Winner Keith Carlos

Above: Keith Carlos posing with Tyra Banks, and his winning MCM photo

Former NFL wide receiver Keith Carlos made reality TV history last year by becoming first man to win America’s Next Top Model. Wondering what life has been like since leaving Tyra Banks’ popular reality show? We caught up with the 27-year-old Connecticut native during a recent visit to Toronto to catch up on everything post-ANTM and find out if he is really ready to take the modelling world by storm.

AmongMen: So, first things first. What have you been up to since ANTM?
Keith Carlos: I’ve just been building my team, planning some things out for the future. I’m also just about to relocate to Los Angeles, just signed with NEXT Model, so I’m about to hit the ground running with them and get out there on some casting. I’ve been doing a lot of hosting gigs, and building the overall structure of my brand.

AM: What’s it like to be the first guy to ever win ANTM
It’s surreal. It still hasn’t hit me yet. I know it’s a huge responsibility and I’m glad that I’m the one that’s able to take it on. It’s great. I love it. I had a young girl come up to me in the airport crying. It’s weird. I feel like a rock star.

AM: What was the biggest thing you learned while on ANTM?
KC: Just about the business overall. I learned from my mentors a lot about myself and about showing more feelings in my work. That’s one of the pieces of feedback I got from Tyra, to let the constructive criticism get to me so that it shows in my pictures. That’s one of the things I struggled with, but it was also something I worked on and I got better at it and it’s showing in my work now.

AM: How would you describe your style?
KC: Grown and sexy. I like a tuxedo, the clean-cut look, but also sometimes I like to switch it up and do what’s trendy, or a chic high fashioned look as well. So ya I’d say grown and sexy.

AM: Do you look to anyone for fashion inspiration?
KC: Nah, I kind of just wing it and go with how I feel at the time. It just depends on my mood at the time. If I’m feeling vintage, I’ll wear vintage.

AM: Do you have any go to items in your wardrobe? Your favourite picks?
Keith: (Excitedly) Yes, my leather jacket. I love leather. 9 times out of 10 if you see me I have leather on. My leather jacket and my Giuseppe [Zanotti] shoes are my musts.

AM: What has been your favourite photoshoot so far, ANTM or otherwise?
KC: My favourite shoot has to be the one with Tyra for the opening credits (see below). We came in and it was our first photoshoot and we got to see Tyra actually model in front of us. So that was great seeing her do her thing, and have her critique us while we went out there and did our thing.

Keith Carlos- Photoshoot for opening credits of ANTM

AM: Who’s been your favourite person to work with so far?
KC: I would have to say Tyra Bank most definitely. She’s a real down to earth person, but she’s also stern and real. She’ll definitely tell you if she doesn’t like something, whether you like it or not. I love that about her.

AM: You seem like a genuinely nice, happy guy all the time, how do you keep that positive attitude?
KC: I know where I come from and what I’ve been through, I know I have nothing to be mad about right now. Everything is on the up. I just take everything and take it on the chin and keep going. That’s something I learned from football. I don’t let the downs take over how I’m feeling or where I am going to go. Just learn from it and keep progressing through it.

AM: What was the hardest part of the show and how’d you push through it?
KC: The hardest part of the show was actually taking the aggression I have in me and channeling it through my images. With football you get aggravated and you can just knock someone’s head off and you’ll feel great about yourself, and your coach will love you. With modeling you really can’t do that so you have to take that aggression and find another way to utilize it. That’s where the criticism from Tyra helped me. Open up to your feelings and really let it come through your images.

AM: You spoke about working with Tyra but what was it like working with Yu Tsai and the judges (Kelly Cutrone, J. Alexander)?
KC: It was awesome. I took a little bit from everybody, even my cast mates. Miss J. Alexander helped out a lot with my walk and my runway, and the business overall. Kelly Cutrone, same thing. She taught me a lot about myself, opening up, some things about the business as a whole, and the industry. Yu Tsai, you know he was on my heels the entire competition. (Laughs) He really pushed a lot of buttons, but he pulled the best out of me. I love him for that, even though we had a tough relationship on the show. 

AM: Is there anything outside of the modeling industry that you want to try out?
KC: Definitely, I want to get into acting. Get into the acting classes as well. I want to do film, theatre, everything. Also I want to get into some entrepreneurial ventures as well. I also would like to eventually have my own line, my own high-end suit/ menswear line. That’s something you can look forward to seeing soon.

You can stay up-to-date on everything Keith Carlos by following him on social media:
Twitter: @Keith_Carlos
Instagram: @keithcarlos

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