Nyle DiMarco didn’t just dream about his current path of being a model, actor, (two-time) reality show champion, and prominent advocate and inspiration for the hearing impaired, he made it happen.
His initial game plan was becoming a math teacher at a Deaf school, but being a clearly driven guy, his life path led him in another direction.
His enthusiasm and drive are contagious and appear to have come in part, by his close relationship with his family and by advice given to him by others in the industry including Tyra Banks on his filming of America’s Next Top Model (where he became the second male winner and first ever deaf winner). Host Tom Bergeron also dispensed some words of wisdom to DiMarco when he started on his path to win Dancing with the Stars, but it was the advice given to him from Tyra that made the most impact.
Written By: Jason Bowers
Photographer: Kaleb Khu
Grooming: Bridget O’Donnell
Stylist: Bo Roses
DiMarco’s modeling has led him to many other exciting opportunities including America’s Next Top Model, some acting roles and Dancing with the Stars, all this while spreading the love growing his quite impressive platform to ultimately give back and help others.
A simple black t, some matching jeans, a pair of sneakers (DiMarco’s day-to-day outfit of choice) is all you need to enjoy some inspiring words from our own wise sage and Ferrvor gentleman, Nyle DiMarco.
Trench Coat: Andre Emery Shirt: 22|7 World
You’re a champion of both America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars, a model, an actor, a Broadway producer of the Children of a Lesser God revival, and an activist for the deaf community through your Nyle DiMarco Foundation. Which of those achievements surprises you the most? Would any of those achievements surprise your 10-year-old self?
It’s difficult to pick which surprised me the most. I kept surprising myself because the achievements were beyond my wildest dreams. If I had to pick one, then I would say I NEVER thought I’d have my own eponymous foundation (Nyle DiMarco Foundation) aiming to better the lives of 466 million people with hearing loss. The thought is still beyond me. The very first day of our foundation’s launch, we garnered over 70,000 followers within 24 hours and received thousands of emails seeking help. I remember thinking to myself – Wow. This issue is obviously real and needs attention, and I’m glad I could use my platform to raise awareness.
You’ve mentioned in the past that your friend Tate Tullier, a fantastic deaf photographer, encouraged you to get into modeling. Was modeling something that you had an interest in doing before knowing him?
I never gave modeling a thought growing up. I mean, I never understood that world. I did not know modeling agencies existed! I was super naive so when Tate encouraged me originally I was disinterested.
You have a degree in mathematics and had no interest in acting. What career were you planning to pursue?
I wanted to become a math teacher at a Deaf school. Actually, after filming ANTM I thought I might get back on that track, but the show opened up so many possibilities that I had never considered. It also gave me a new platform and voice to reach people through and I feel like I’m still able to educate people.
Left | Jacket: A Tziano || Right | Jacket and Jeans: Rag & Bone
You were born into a multigenerational deaf family, which is pretty rare. Can you describe your relationship with your family?
Yes. Less than 10% of Deaf children come from Deaf families. It’s very rare and I feel fortunate that my family was in a position to expose us to language and communication access as early as possible.
My family is very Italian so we’re a close knit family. My Deaf grandparents have always lived with us, from the day my brother and I were born. We enjoy spending hours and hours at the dinner table, just talking and eating lots of desserts! It’s funny because growing up I hated that, or got annoyed, but now I want more of it!
One thing you’ve said about being deaf is that it is a culture, not a disability, which is a really powerful and eye-opening way of describing it. How did you come to this realization?
I feel the need to clarify that I do not want to exclude ourselves from the disabled community because we’re a part of them. What I meant was that we have our own language and culture, which means we have different accessibility needs. For example, we need stronger Deaf education. We need more Deaf schools. We need more Deaf programs in schools.
Shirt: The Raga Man Pants: Cecilia Aragon
Your advocacy for the deaf community led to a meeting at the U.N. Can you tell us a bit about that meeting and the outcome?
I am partnering up with the U.N. on education awareness programs. Right now, there are 1.2 billion people with disabilities and 98% of them do not have access to formal education. Additionally, 99% of girls with disabilities can’t read or write. I’m going to work with the UN to help fill in that gap. We are very excited to get working and make changes.
Which show was more fun to do, America’s Next Top Model or Dancing with the Stars?
I enjoyed DWTS because I could continue my day to day life. I was allowed to keep my phone and didn’t have to be so sequestered. It was also a tough work out, like going to an insane gym every day, which I liked.
What’s the best piece of advice or constructive criticism any of the judges of either show gave you?
Tyra Banks on the first day of filming told us not to ever take no for an answer. That really stuck in my mind. Given my deafness, I know that I will face a lot of barriers and a lot of rejection but for every “no” a door somewhere else opens.
Both shows feature what can be some pretty over-the-top fashion at times. Do you have a favorite or least favorite outfit from either show?
My favorite outfit on ANTM was the suit I wore during the dog shoot. The least favorite was the spiky thing I wore on my chest… I couldn’t hug my mom properly when I won!
My favorite outfit on DWTS would be quickstep where I dressed as the mask. The face mask and makeup took more than seven hours! And the outcome was uncanny! It was really fun.
Trench Coat: Andre Emery Shirt: 22|7 World Jeans: Rag & Bone Shoes: TCG Footwear
You once made headlines for snapping photos of a fan who was trying to sneak pix of you on the subway. What’s your most bizarre fan encounter?
Someone proposed to me on stage!!!
You’ve said that you’re at home in suits and tuxes. But, how about when you’re not working? Are you more comfortable dressed up or dressed-down?
While I really enjoy dressing up, I’m more of a dressed-down person. I like simple clothes. Give me a simple black t-shirt, black jeans, and a pair of sneakers!
What’s your definition of a gentleman?
A true gentleman is one who is not afraid to recognize flaws and share feelings. One who listens.
Special Thanks: Media Playground PR, Los Fuckn Angeles Studio, The Trend Haus PR