Ralph Lauren’s Guy
American supermodel and actor Tyson Beckford gained worldwide fame as the anchor male model for Ralph Lauren and their Polo Sport line. One of the most well-known male models in the fashion industry, Beckford has done numerous magazines layouts, including ones for Essence, Paper, Vogue, GQ, Details, Men’s Health, Vibe, Health & Fitness and The New York Times, as well as starred in campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci and Calvin Klein.
Beckford, who is widely recognized for his muscular physique, facial structure and tattoos, is also known by moviegoers as an accomplished actor with films like Boricua’s Bond (2000), Shottas (2002), Pandora’s Box (2002), Biker Boyz (2003), Gas (2004), Searching for Bobby D (2005) and Into the Blue (2005). Beckford’s admirers can also look forward to his performance in the forthcoming drama Dream Street (2005).
“I’m glad that the event is back again this year and that I am involved. People need to be reminded that the crisis is definitely not over, and Move Against AIDS is a great way to have fun while really taking steps to eradicate HIV/AIDS.” Tyson Beckford
Off screen, one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” Beckford joined Mix 102.7 FM morning DJ Michelle Visage and WBLS 107.5 FM DJ Wendy Williams as the special guest hosts of Move Against AIDS Dance-a-thon, an innovative event raising funds and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The event, which took place at the Manhattan Center on December 3, 2005, benefited Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the nation’s oldest AIDS service and advocacy organization, and the 15,000 men, women and children living with HIV in New York City who receive services at GMHC.
Childhood and Family:
Tyson Craig Beckford was born on December 19, 1970, in The Bronx, New York. His parents are from Jamaica, while his maternal grandmother is from Panama and his paternal grandfather is Chinese. A mix ancestry contributes to Tyson’s exotic look.
Young Tyson was reared by his Jamaican parents in such places as Rochester, New York, and Jamaica. While growing up in Rochester, the teenage boy had to deal with a life of drugs, guns, sex, gangs, violence and burglary. However, Tyson’s crime life later changed to a life of glamour after he encountered a talent scout in a New York park who soon introduced Tyson to the world of fashion.
6’ 2” Tyson became the single father of a son named Jordan. During his off time, Tyson enjoys riding, as well as collecting motorcycles, reading, watching cartoons, snowboarding and listening to Hip-Hop. Tyson, who has 8 tattoos, expects to beat Dennis Rodman’s amount of tattoos someday.
Hailed from the tough streets of New York, Tyson Beckford left his rebellious teenage years to enter the fashion industry in 1991 after being spotted by an editor from the hip-hop magazine The Source. Following the advice of the editor to pursue a modeling career, Beckford soon inked a contract with a New York modeling agency and began a life of cameras and runaways.
Beckford did several photos sessions with such big-time fashion photographers as Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts. The partnership paved the way for Beckford to encounter a number of excellent opportunities as a male model. After two-years of modeling exposure, in 1993, Beckford’s breakthrough arrived when Ralph Lauren signed him to an exclusive contract as the front model for the company’s Polo Sport fragrance and fashion line. This lead to a number of modeling jobs like gracing the covers of Essence and Paper and appearing on the pages of Vogue, GQ, Details, Men’s Health, Vibe, Health & Fitness and The New York Times.
In 1995, after two years working with Ralph Lauren, Beckford’s star status continued to rise after he was named VH1’s “Model of the Year” and one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” Combined with his stints with Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger, Beckford came to prominence as one of top male supermodels in the 1990s. He also became a lead model for Calvin Klein apparel.
In addition to appearances in magazines, Beckford starred in Tony Braxton’s video for “Unbreak My Heart.” He also appeared in music videos for musicians Mia X, Notorious B.I.G. and Shaquille O’Neal. Beckford continued with appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, Rosie O’Donnel, Vibe, The Magic Hour, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Mad TV, Entertainment Tonight, VH1, Good Morning America, E! Entertainment, Video Soul and Teen Summit, as well as modeled for Polo Jean advertisements.
Already a supermodel, Beckford branched out to acting in the new millennium when writer/director/actor Val Lik landed him a spot in the drama film Boricua’s Bond (2000), which starred Frankie Negron and Val Lik himself. Two years later, after a bit part in the action Shottas (2002), Beckford landed the supporting role of Lance Racine in the Rob Hardy-directed film Pandora’s Box (2002) and appeared in the short movie Gully (2002). The same year, he also guest starred in an episode of “My Wife and Kids.”
In 2003, Beckford continued to gather popularity as an actor by playing a role in Reggie Rock Bythewood’s Biker Boyz (2003).
The crime film also starred Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Orlando Jones, Djimon Hounsou and Lisa Bonet. His first major role in a movie came in the following year when Beckford was cast as Karl in the Michael Haran/Mark Swinton-scripted comedy Gas, costarring Art Evans. In 2005, model-turned-actor Beckford can add the adventure Searching for Bobby D (2005), the thriller Into the Blue (2005, starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba) and the short Wait (2005) to his acting resume. He is also scheduled to star opposite Colby Bell, Jim Brown and Kathryne Dora Brown in the upcoming Dream Street (2005), a drama film directed by Lonette McKee.
- VH1/Vogue Fashion: Male Model of the Year, 1995