Sexy Atlanta jock Keith Carlos and his manaconda peaked at the right moment, as he topped a gay Texas guy and Atlanta frat bro to become the first-ever male winner of “America's Next Top Model.”
Carlos survived playing with his hose, a gay-on-straight bromance, a homophobic blowout and more during Cycle 21 of Tyra Banks' reality show. Emotions flowed over on Friday's finale as Carlos faced off with Will Jardell, a small-town Texas guy reveling in coming out, and Adam Smith, a beer-chugging former Emory frat bro who reformed his homophobic ways. The three men were among seven hunks and seven women competing on the show.
There were tears all around leading up to the moment when Carlos faced Jardell as the winner was announced.
“I don't think you can put in words how this moment feels,” Carlos says. (Watch above)
The show's creative consultant who often battled with Carlos during the season, gay photographer Yu Tsai, says he brought his swagger to the finale. Banks says a mix of his versatility and energy helped him win the title.
Carlos also poured his emotions into the finale, recalling his hardscrabble childhood in the projects of Connecticut, the injury that ended his NFL career, the death of his father and how much the show's $100,000 prize would help his mother, a lesbian who has struggled to find employment.
“Right now my mom is struggling with finding a decent job. I don't want her to struggle anymore,” Carlos says. (Watch above)
Carlos, on a media tour since he won, stopped in at Atlanta's V-103 on Wednesday morning. He also dished to Entertainment Weekly about the show, its challenges and a package so ample that it earned the nickname “Manaconda” during the show.
On a lighter note, we have to talk about the time Tyra called you “Manaconda.”
Has the nickname stuck? Or have you gotten some teasing from your friends?
[Laughs] Yes. I hear it every day, whether it’s social media or at home. My mother calling me “Manaconda” was weird. I was like, “All right. That’s enough.” But I’m getting used to it. It’s definitely growing on me.