Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
August 6, 1993
2015 - Present
Currently Known For:
Model and Actress
Carl's Jr's Commercial During 2015 Super Bowl XLIX
“I’m embracing what I have. I’m a curvier bombshell with big boobs. I’m not high fashion. I don’t do runway. You won’t see me at Fashion Week.” Dropping out of her Florida high school at 17 years old after an ongoing battle with dyslexia and bullying, Charlotte McKinney wasn’t exactly worried about her future because she had every confidence that she could make it as a model. She signed on with a local agency but, after struggling to find work, took matters into her own hands by building her Instagram profile. Eventually catching the eye of Esquire magazine, McKinney was showcased in the publication and later signed on with Wilhelmina Models before she made her debut in a Carl’s Jr.’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial, which earned her praise as the next Kate Upton. Now making her way into acting, let’s take a look at McKinney’s journey from high school to Hollywood!
The youngest of two daughters born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Charlotte McKinney came into this world on August 6, 1993. Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, school was incredibly difficult for McKinney because of both her reading disorder and the constant bullying she faced after she matured much earlier than the girls in her class. “Girls would yell at me and call me a slut,” McKinney said of her experience. “I would go to parties and get beer thrown on my head—there was so much bullying. It was just so awful…” By the time she reached her junior year at William R. Boone High School, things were out of hand as the 17-year-old McKinney dropped out to pursue a career as a model.
“There just wasn’t any other choice,” McKinney said of her decision. “I had really bad dyslexia and I was failing. If I’d stayed in school, then I would still be in school now. I am much more of a visual person and school was just never really my answer, and I knew that at a really young age. My parents were freaking out—what parents want to hear their kid is dropping out 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.”
Packing her bags and moving to Miami, McKinney had very few doubts that she would find success as a model. “I just knew that from seeing photos and seeing girls, I had what it takes,” she said. “I knew I could to 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.” Although most young girls would’ve been terrified of starting over in a new city, McKinney discovered her confidence and went to a different modeling agency every day as one after another turned her down. Regardless, McKinney continued to build her portfolio and spent the evenings networking with as many locals and key decision makers she could find.
“I was so young and I loved the feeling of being out at night in Miami,” she said. “I always hung out with the local vibe, not the touristy places. We would go out to cool bars like Radio, and I always ended up going to Wall on Tuesdays, I loved the atmosphere there. I felt at home, and it was just always a good time. I would work all week, but then Tuesday night was kind of a Miami, let-your-hair-down night. For dinner, I loved going to Milos—that is one of my favorite restaurants. That’s something I do miss—the energy.”
McKinney continued to struggle in Miami but was slowly building her brand on Instagram where she became “Insta-famous” and was profiled by Esquire magazine. This opportunity led to frequent trips between Miami and New York before McKinney ultimately decided to exchange the east coast for the west as she packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles. Within a month, she booked her first campaign with Guess and later signed on with the prestigious Wilhelmina Models. “It’s the brand that I feel like I belong to the most,” McKinney said of her work with Guess. “Marciano really embraces women’s curves and, to me, that’s huge. They’re my best client, they admire my chest and they’ve had so many iconic beautiful women.”
In 2015, McKinney’s career blossomed when she landed a commercial for Carl’s Jr.’s All Natural Burger, which debuted during Super Bowl XLIX in January. The risqué ad turned heads as the gorgeous and voluptuous McKinney walked through a farmer’s market seemingly naked and suggesting that she was all natural until the final scene revealed her in a bikini eating the All Natural Burger. “I was just eating burgers all day, so of course I had to spit some out or else I would have gotten really sick,” she said of the experience that earned her praise as “the next Kate Upton.” “We had a spit bucket because we used about nine burgers. Carl’s really started my career and it was such a huge spot for me and got me to where I am.”
The commercial put McKinney on the map as she competed on the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars in February 2015 only to be eliminated in the second week. She then made her film debut in Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser and had cameos in music videos for “Punching Bag” by Akillezz and “Might Not” for Belly. She returned to the silver screen in 2016 for The Late Bloomer and worked alongside Joe Jonas in the DNCE music video for “Body Moves,” which was an experience McKinney will never forget. “Our first time working together, I was half naked, kissing him in an elevator in ‘Body Moves,’ so we definitely had to get close really fast,” she said. “Joe is a really sweet guy. He’s just a lot of fun. I think we work together really well.”
McKinney’s career has picked up even more steam over the last year with her most recent credits including Mad Families with Charlie Sheen, Baywatch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Flatliners with Diego Luna. “I think what’s coming is what I’m really excited about,” the 24-year-old said of her future. “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. Maybe even an ugly role where I’m not such a glam person. I hope to be taken a bit more seriously.” From high school dropout to Hollywood babe, McKinney is certainly serious about her career!