We're rarely jealous of interview subjects, but Tyson Beckford has the kind of life we'd kill for. Recently he traded "working" with some of the most screen saver-able women in the world for a new career as an actor - which surprisingly led him to a tropical locale for more "work" with the likes of Jessica Alba in the motion picture Into The Blue which is now available on DVD. We caught up with the poster child for male modeling to find out just how well the other side lives.
MF: I noticed you're always the bad guy on film; do you avoid the pretty boy roles consciously?
Tyson: Yea, I got to, otherwise I feel like the Boris Kodjoe's and I don't want to be that. I have to separate myself from those guys, because those guys have already laid it down, so I had to do something different. I can't be the pretty boy, because that's just not me. The world might say, he's a pretty boy, but I am more of a trouble maker if anything. It's easier for me to play the bad guy role.
MF: What attracted you to Into the Blue?
Tyson: When I read the script I thought, "This is hot!" It was similar to the old movie Into the Deep with Nick Nolte, and then the whole thing about it being in the Bahamas, I wanted to get away, so I needed to book this gig. And it worked for me, because the accent part of me was in my nature, since I am West Indian, and when I got on set I just freaked it a little more. It was an attractive role, the guy dressed real nice. But with the mohawk I bought that myelf, I wanted to do something different. On the first date on set, the director was like, "I love it, keep it."
MF: Do you get a lot of grief for being a male model?
Tyson: Yeah, I get a lot of grief. Even though I am not a model anymore, I did it and I'm done. I'll be seventy years old, and can win an academy award, they will still say, "That's that model kid." Tyson the model, has been my name for years now, which can get annoying.
MF: What's this about you quitting modeling?
Tyson: It's just the drama with Sean John, it just turned me off about the whole industry. I can't blame the whole industry because they didn't mistreat me. It's just that in the final stretch of my career I wanted to go out styling and do something for my people - as I thought I was doing. But my people aren't looking for me like that.
MF: Any bad blood between Puffy and you?
Tyson: When somebody owes you money, no matter what they say - the blood is still not good. So now I am like, "We gotta go to court." I don't want to do it, but you can't just let people walk over you, take money and misuse your image. My image is trademarked.
MF: If you weren't Tyson the model, what would you do with your life?
Tyson: I'd probably be at your local Nissan or Dodge dealer fixing up a car. I'd be a auto mechanic, which is my real job. I am really a mechanic, who parades around as an actor/ model.
MF: What would you tell your son if he came to you and said he wanted to be a model?
Tyson: I'd slap his face (laughs heartily). Nah, I'm joking. I'd say to him, no matter what you do, give it your all.
MF: Being a male model, do you really have to use pick up lines?
Tyson: I don't have a pick up line, my line is really, "Hello, how are you doing?" It's not anything crazy like, "My heart beats for you." I just be myself, say hello, and work from there. If a guy has to do all that, it says he really has nothing to offer.
As a matter of fact, I prefer she not know who I am, I like that personally.
MF: Most regular guys get shot down frequently, in your position, how do you deal with rejection?
Tyson: I get shot down just like anyone else, I just deal with it. You ask, and it's either yes or no, and you have to deal with it. Maybe she got a boyfriend or a husband, maybe she has a girlfriend. Maybe your approach was wrong.
MF: What's the strangest thing someone has done to get your attention?
Tyson: I've had girls lift up their skirts, and tell me they don't have on any underwear, or girls knowing my favorite color. Or either they will go trough a friend or relative to get to me. They always calling my cousin's to get me on the phone. Hell, if I had a cousin that was Tyson, I'd holla at him too.
MF: What's next for an ex-model?
Tyson: I want to start producing film and television. Right now, I have two shows, I've produced and starred in, and I am working on a third one now. It's cool to do both, I just want to do both and make a lot of money. I want to get more into the automotive business, and get my wheel line back out again.
MF: How do you stay fit?
Tyson: I try to get to the gym as much as I can. I do a lot of calistenics, I do anywhere from 500 to 100 push-ups, and the same thing with the sit-ups.
MF: You work with a trainer?
Tyson: My trainer is a thing called the iPod. I just download all the hot tracks, and I turn that up and get focused. I say to myself, "There is another guy out there doing the same thing, and he's working a hundred times harder." That's my drive.
MF: What is the essential thing Tyson needs to maintain?
Tyson: I drink a lot of water, and I have to have music. I do without TV, but I have to have music. It motivates me.