Cullen Jones is more than just a celebrated Olympic gold medalist. He’s the guy that you bring home to your over-protective yet loving father. He’s the guy that helps your mom prepare your favorite dish for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner–because he’s just that kind of guy.
But what you didn’t know was that Cullen use to be that shy kid with the big goofy glasses and a really bad case of acne. Things have certainly changed now.
When we met, I had NO idea he’d be towering over me at 6’5. Well-spoken and filled with hints of settle swag (perhaps from his sweet endorsement from Speedo), he passionately spoke about his recent Make A Splash tour, “I see myself in these kids. We all come from different backgrounds, yet we all have one thing in common. I try to be that teacher that they can relate to.” As an ambassador for the USA Swimming Foundation, Cullen’s admirable commitment to teaching minority youths how to swim comes from his own nearly tragic story.
He began swimming at age five, after nearly drowning at a water park. The next week, his mother enrolled him in swim lessons. Who would have thought that kid would make history becoming the first African-American male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games?
His lifelong collection of awards, medals and ribbons prove that he is the swiftest swimmer in the water. But I wanted to challenge Cullen! Could he shine behind our lens?
We took Cullen out in the middle of street during a busy rush hour weekday in Manhattan. Gave him a fresh pair of shades and a fly pair of shorts– wow, this kid is a natural.
Check out his modeling debut here (and be sure to show him some love via our comments section below)!
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