Supermodel Tyson (Craig) Beckford was born in New York on December 19, 1971. He owes his sexy and unusually alluring and hypnotic looks to his Jamaican father and to his biracial mother of Jamaican and Chinese-American bloodlines.
The cold and merciless streets of his native Rochester were unwelcoming and showed no difference to Beckford as a kid and adolescent growing up there. His was a life of guns, drugs, gangs, sex and violence – in other words, a life of crime.
He has made it clear on more than one occasion that he owes his current standard of living to the great hand of fate, which intervened and changed the course of his life forever.
A fashion editor from the urban magazine, The Source, discovered Tyson and convinced him to sign with a modelling agency based in New York City. The rest from there was history, but even history would need a helping hand in turning the former thug into one of the world’s most desirable and sexiest men.
Tyson had it all going for him at a time when the world was ready for an African-American male to hit the ranks of reigning supermodels. However, his muscular physique, facial structure and deep chocolate skin were not so appreciated by some in the fashion industry, and particularly those in Paris. The treatment that Beckford received in the world’s top runway capital during the early days of his career gave him a disdain for the French market and its fashion kings that would last for the rest of Beckford’s active modeling career.
Back in the USA, he came to the attention of superstar photographers Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts, who were enthralled by his look. In 1993 Weber, who felt that Beckford was “the one”, took the future sex symbol to Ralph Lauren himself. From that meeting, the world first black supermodel would be born.
Ralph Lauren immediately hired Beckford to an exclusive deal to represent his Polo Sport, fragrance and body lines. That started an onslaught of demands to have him pose for the cover and the pages of the world’s top publications including Vogue, GQ, Details, Men’s Health, Paper, Vibe, The New York Times, Essence, Health & Fitness to name a few.
By 1994 Beckford had dethroned Marcus Schenkenberg as the undisputed king of male supermodels with his lucrative Ralph Lauren deals. Still today, only Beckford can boast of having earned as much as his female supermodel counterparts like Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Elle McPherson, Cindy Crawford or Naomi Campbell.
In 1995 and under 2 years after having signed with Ralph Lauren, VH1 named Tyson Beckford “Model of the Year” at its annual Video Fashion Awards presentation. People Magazine named him as one of the year’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”.
These successes, his unforgettable and truly unique look opened new doors and created other possibilities for him. He starred in a music video opposite of Toni Braxton for her world smash-hit, “Unbreak My Heart”. He also appeared in other music videos with Mia X, Notorious B.I.G. and Shaquille O’Neal.
He made guest appearances on the top rated shows of Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell, not to mention his other television appearances on Good Morning America, Vibe, The Magic Hour, Keenan Ivory Wayans show, Mad TV, Nickelodeon, Ralph Lauren Polo Jeans Advertisements, Entertainment Tonight, E! Entertainment, Video Soul, Teen Summit, etc…
When he is not busy making guest appearances on the runway, he studies acting. In 2001, he joined fellow supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Milla Jovavich and Veronica Webb in Zoolander, a comedy spoof on the world of male supermodels. He also appeared in the “21 Questions” by rapper, as well as in Britney Spear’s “Toxic”.
On the set of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Beckford recounted how he was injured in a near fatal automobile accident close to his home in June 2005. The truck he was driving caught fire (read these tips for similar situations), but Beckford was able to pull himself out before it became fully engulfed in flames. He credits that accident as having profoundly affected his sense of spirituality. For a long time he had to heal and thanks to the stoneridge partners he was able to recover.
Tyson is a single father. He has one son named Jordan. He loves motorcycles. He races and collects them. He is also loves watching cartoons, snowboarding, reading and listening to Hip-Hop. His ambition is to have more tattoos than Denis Rodman.
NAME: Tyson Beckford
BORN: December 1971 in New York.
Boricua’s Bond (2000), Zoolander (2001), Shottas (2002), Pandora’s Box (2002), Gully (2002), Biker Boyz (2003), Searching for Bobby D (2004), Gas (2004), Into the blue (2005), Dream Street (in production)