Tyson Beckford

American model and actor Tyson was born on December 19, 1970 to a Jamaican father and Chinese American mother. He grew up in Jamaica and Rochester, New York and attended Bay Trail Middle School in nearby Penfield, New York. He then graduated from Pittsford Mendon High School in the affluent suburb of Pittsford as a participant in the Urban-Suburban Program, a program designed to give educational opportunities to urban youth in the city's surrounding suburban school districts. Tyson was a member of his high school football and track teams.

Tyson was involved in gangs, drugs and theft when he was a teenager. In fact, he says, he'd likely be in jail or dead today if he hadn't been plucked off the street in 1991 by an editor from the hip-hop magazine The Source. Through that connection Tyson hooked up with a New York agency and within months, he was before the lenses of Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber. It was Weber who first brought the model to Lauren, who nabbed him for the company's sport, fragrance and body lines.

By 1995, Tyson was on the covers of major magazines, including Paper and Essence and multiple-page spreads in Vogue, GQ, the New York Times and Details.

Tyson was named "Man of the Year" in 1995 by the cable television music channel VH1 & one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine. He is represented by Nous Model Management in Los Angeles, California, and Independent Models in London, England. He was ranked at #38 on VH1's 40 Hottest Hotties of the '90s.

In 2003, he appeared on the ABC network's celebrity reality game show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! In September 2008, he supported the National RESPECT! Campaign against domestic violence, recording a voice message for the Giverespect.org Web site, speaking about the importance of respect for others.

Tyson judged and mentored the contestants of the first few episodes of the Australian version of Make Me a Supermodel, with model and former Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins.
Vital statistics:
Height: 6' 2”
Eye colour: Brown
Hair colour: shaved head