Baywatch star Charlotte McKinney sets her sights on reaching the top of the fashion and entertainment worlds, and roaring past the finish line at Cape Cod’s Best Buddies challenge.
Bodysuit, Marika Vera ($95). Selena gold hoop earrings, Bonheur ($119). Calypso St. Barth, 114 Newbury St., 617-421-1887. Belt, Max Mara ($450). 69 Newbury St., 617-267-9775. Boots, Fausto Puglisi (price on request).
Walking down the street, holding only a pair of melons, with the eyes of the entire world fixed on you may not be your idea of success. But when you’ve spent the better part of your life being pointed at and whispered about, it’s sweet revenge: 114 million people watched Charlotte McKinney star in a Carl’s Jr. commercial that aired during the New England Patriots-winning Super Bowl. Growing up, McKinney lived anything but the glamorous life. Bullied for her voluptuous figure at a young age, she embraced those assets and became an international sensation.
McKinney will appear in no fewer than five movies in a one-year span, including May’s much-anticipated Baywatch (with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Mad Families (opposite Charlie Sheen), as well as films costarring Kiefer Sutherland and Harvey Keitel. She’s also headlining the Guess Spring 2017 campaign with Joe Jonas. On June 3, the 23-year-old will wear her philanthropic hat, joining Tom Brady to compete in the Best Buddies Challenge, raising funds for the world’s largest nonprofit supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And she’s making sure to fit in some serious seafood during her visit to Boston.
How did you become involved with Best Buddies? I got involved when I was 15 years old. Best Buddies offered their club in my school in Orlando, Florida. During lunch, I would see the Best Buddies Club members always having a good time. So, one day I approached them and sat with them. I’ve volunteered ever since and have created amazing memories. Recently, I surprised a buddy at his prom and went as his date. Working with Best Buddies just fulfills me!
What’s the plan of attack for the Best Buddies Challenge? I will be doing the 20-mile bike ride. I am excited! It’s my second time back to Boston, and I have never attended the Challenge on the Cape. I think it will be amazing to support the Boston efforts with Tom Brady and others who are involved.
You had a tough time in school. Why? I had really bad dyslexia and I was failing. My parents were freaking out—what parent wants to hear your kid is dropping out of school and moving to Miami? But in the end, they were helpful and were behind me. They knew I would be successful at whatever I wanted to do. So yes, I was a dropout.
Did your classmates give you a hard time? Definitely. I also left school because of all of the bullying. It was just so awful, and that’s why now I use my platform to promote anti-bullying. I try to use what I went through to be a voice for it. Because it’s still happening and getting even worse now with social media.
What gave you that confidence to say, “Well, at least I can go model”? I just knew that from seeing photos and seeing girls, I had what it takes. I knew I could do it. I was a very determined kid, and not only in modeling; I wanted to break into the entertainment industry. Whether it was modeling or acting, I kind of fell in love with it. Carl’s Jr. certainly catapulted you onto an international stage. I’ve done two commercials for them; the first one was for the Super Bowl and it was just amazing. I was just eating burgers all day, so of course I had to spit some out or else I would have gotten really sick. We had a spit bucket because we used about nine burgers. They really started my career, and it was such a huge spot for me and got me to where I am.
You’re starring in a Guess campaign with Joe Jonas, and you were in his music video as well. What’s that relationship like? Our first time working together, I was half naked, kissing in an elevator [in DNCE’s music video for “Body Moves”], so we definitely had to get close really fast. [Joe] is a really sweet guy. He’s just a lot of fun. I think we work together really well. Guess certainly has had some iconic women as the face of the brand, from Anna Nicole Smith to Claudia Schiffer and more. It was huge because it’s a brand that I feel like I belong to the most. Marciano really embraces women’s curves, and to me that’s huge.
What was it like working with Charlie Sheen? Mad Families came out this winter, and I play Charlie Sheen’s sister. When I found out Charlie was going to play the character, I was kind of nervous, but then I met him, and working with him has been so much fun. He’s so healthy and so vibrant. He’s such an awesome guy, and I had such a fun time shooting with him. I really learned a lot.
Alice bikini, Moeva ($179). Shorts, Missoni ($955). Intermix, 186 Newbury St., 617-236-5172. Neo tassel collar, Eddie Borgo ($675). Saks Fifth Avenue, The Shops at Prudential Center, 617-262-8500. NudeWrap sandals, Stuart Weitzman ($455). Copley Place, 617-266-8699
Down the line, would you prefer different roles? I think that’s what’s coming in 2017 that I’m really excited about. I’m always going to be sexy, I’m always going to have those photo shoots, but I’m really looking for different roles that aren’t so commercial and are a bit cooler. I hope to be taken a bit more seriously.
Are you dating? I’m single right now and really enjoying it. A lot of times when I’m in a relationship, I am focusing on the other person so much. Now I can focus on my work and focus on me.
Back to your visit to Boston—what are you looking forward to? One of my favorite places is Legal Sea Foods restaurant. I am a huge seafood lover. I think it will be one of my highlights of Boston. Seafood was always an option. And I love the Boston Common. I’ve had a nice long walk there and enjoy the full green scene.
Any other Boston goals? I would love to really experience a sports game in Boston. I know Boston fans are loyal to all of their teams, so it would be great to experience that energy.
photography by RANDALL SLAVIN; Styling by Lysa Cooper; hair by Joseph Maine at Jed Root; makeup by Tonya Brewer
at Dew Beauty Agency; manicure by Pilar Noire for Tom Ford in Toasted Sugar at Nailing Hollywood; styling assistance by Anastasya Kolomytseva and Briana Singleton. Location: SLS Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills, 465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 310-247-0400; slshotels.com/beverlyhills