Hanging out with a handsome, loveable young man is such a hard life as we at Naluda discovered. Our hot date was with Marvin Cortes of America’s Next Top Model.
Now we know why Tyra was always rooting for this talented young man! He’s the down to earth guy that every dude wants to hang out with and the romantic cutie that every girl wishes they could go on a date with! Given Marvin’s Bronx background we decided to liven things up by taking him to the Graffiti Art District in L.A. He loved it and we loved that he loved it! He showed his fun adventurous side at every turn. While trekking through the Urban jungle of L.A we were able to ask Marvin a few questions that we thought you might be interested in.
How did you get onto Americas Next Top Model?
I was discovered by an off-duty casting director at my job working in Zara. I was an hour late that day due to train delays, which in fact caused a ripple effect. My lunch was pushed forward and while I was working the floor during my scheduled lunch time, I was approached by Danielle, the casting director. Had I been on time, I would have missed her and never known about ANTM. Sometimes it does pay to be a little late. I auditioned with her help and stood out from thousands of applicants by simply being myself, next thing I know I was in LA as a semi-finalist and the rest is history.
Is it true that you never had modeled before ANTM?
Yes, I had only done a test shoot with a friend who had just bought a new camera lens and wanted to shoot with it. He said I was perfect to be a male model, he said I had the look and correct measurements for a great career. Little did I know in only a year I would be shooting with Tyra Banks, Jez Smith, Sarah Silvers, and many other extraordinary photographers.
Coming from such humble beginnings how has your family reacted to your fame and being on the show?
My family has been extremely supportive of me and proud of whom I have become. They see the dramatic change in my life and see that I have not let it change my morals or personality. My mom gets emotional because she has always wanted the best for me and seeing me on TV has been a dream come true for both of us. My dad is proud of the man I am becoming and just wants me to stay focused on what is right and not get caught up in the dark side of the industry. My family loves me very much and is proud to see me live my dreams.
You have a large family back in New York, can you tell us a little bit about your family?
I like to believe that my family is the modern day “Brady Bunch” or “Full House”. My mom stays home and takes care of us from cooking to cleaning. Embarrassing fact, my mom did all of our laundry up until I was 18. I still call her when washing certain loads I am unsure of. My dad works all day and comes home late night. He always makes sure we stay out of trouble and supports the entire family financially. My mom raised us most of the time since my dad was working. My mom raised 7 strong, healthy, and motivated men. My mom and dad are superheroes. I have a hard time taking care of myself and they were able to handle us and not break a sweat; superheroes. My brothers and I are very alike in terms of sense of humor and morals. Other than that, we have our own individuality. We each have very different goals in life from either being a musician, a cook, a lawyer, a cop, and now a model. We all wish to be able to buy my parents an enormous house one day and make sure they are catered to, that is the ultimate Cortes clan goal.
Do you speak Spanish?
Yes, my parents made sure that I spoke Spanish at home. Without my parents forcing us to always speak Spanish, since they won’t respond to us otherwise, I wouldn’t be bilingual and miss out on some serious Spanish commercial bookings.
Can you explain to us what your life was like before the show?
I worked two jobs while going to school full time at the local community college. I actually had a 4.0 GPA during my school career. Math and earth science are my absolute favorite subjects. I worked at GUESS and Zara as a sales associate. I had a good core of friends who I would spend my off days with. I had no time for a girlfriend but I still flirted a lot. I’ve only really had one girlfriend before meeting Renee on the show.
It must have been quite an experience living in the Bronx with your family and then living with the whole cast of ANTM in such a competitive environment, what have you learned about yourself?
It was not as different as living in my apartment in the Bronx actually. I was constantly competing with my brothers whether it was sports, grades, or attention. I found the bunk beds on the show to be extremely comforting because I slept in the top bunk in my Bronx apartment and on the show. It was different living with so many different people but once we found common ground, we became very close. I think the people this cycle was the best in history because they were good hearted and though it was competition, we genuinely want each other to succeed. It was hard to make these great friends and seeing their dream be taken away. When I befriend someone, I love them and wish nothing but the best for them so seeing them “go home” always hurt. I have learned that anyone can be great friends no matter where you come from or how much money is in your bank account, as long as there is mutual interest and common ground. I have learned to be confident in myself and realized that dreams in this world are achievable with the right drive and persistence.
Working on ANTM, you worked with some of the best in the industry – what an amazing experience; is this you want to continue to do as your career? How did that differ from your 5 year plan before you started this journey?
It was absolutely an amazing experience working with the talent that was on the show. I used to think that Tyra Banks was this superhuman model who I couldn’t look at too long or else I would explode. I have learned that everyone is just human and though they are famous they are relatable and are here just to bring joy to others and create art. I realize I want to do this for my career. I want to continue to work with amazing people and create art. I wish to become a household name like Tyra Banks or Rob Evans and show people that it can be done. I have begun by taking acting classes, dance classes, and even singing classes. I want to be a model that can act, sing, and dance. That is why I decided to live in Los Angeles instead of New York. My original plan was to go to school, get my degree in Math and minor in science. I have always wanted to be a teacher for high school. My high school calculus teacher inspired me to become a teacher and be a cool teacher that everyone wishes to have.
“Be yourself because everyone else is taken”
On the show you got close to Rene. Are you still seeing each other?
Yes, I and Renee got extremely close. She is moving to LA in January and we will continue to date. I am really excited about that because I have been able to explore LA and have been planning about 8 romantic dates that will blow her mind. I am a visionary and so I cannot wait to create the type of dates and moments I know we both want to share. We will keep each other focused and motivated to become successful. I believe we make each other better.
What do you do for fun?
I love to stay active by going to the gym, beach, hiking, or play sports. Thanks to Don Benjamin from the show, who is one of my close friends in LA, I have been able to enjoy the LA nightlife and party from time to time. I only have a few friends in LA and all from the show. I am just so happy that we have remained in each other’s lives because we were able to share such an experience. I like to be outdoors and be with people who are driven in their lives.
How do you keep yourself in shape?
Living with my brother who is a personal trainer, I have adopted the gym lifestyle. I go to the gym about 4 or more days a week and spend about 1 hr. and half there. I like to focus on different body parts certain days and I love the steam room. I don’t eat super clean, I treat myself with a nice burger or pizza every once and while. I am not too big on sweets or deserts, I know, I am crazy but my body has just accepted that it is not for me, ha-ha.
What was it like growing up one of the youngest of 7 boys all living together in an apartment in the Bronx?
My brothers and I are only about a year or two apart from each other starting from the 7th man down. It was actually really cool because I was able to get the most hand-me-down clothes. I knew my brothers would outgrow their clothes and I would be able to enjoy them for myself ha-ha. It was really educational because my brothers taught me a lot of what they were going through. Homework was easy because we would help each other out since it was not too long ago that one of us did the exact same type of homework. I am a big brother to the youngest Christian, and so I take that job very seriously and feel happy to set an example and guide him through life and now I have much more life experience to share with him. All of us love each other very much and help each other when we can. I am grateful that we have such close relationships. I honestly could not imagine my big family without any one of us, it wouldn’t be the same. We can see that you were really feeling the pressure of the competition by episode 13, in Bali. What was it that Tyra said to you privately? Did she kick your ass into gear? Do you see and believe in what she saw in you? I think I felt that I would soon being eliminated after Don and I were in the bottom 2. I was super surprised that Tyra herself was the one who was talking me off the ledge. I will never forget that moment because I couldn’t believe that it was Tyra. She gave me the boost I needed at the time. She really has the power to relate to how you are feeling and knows what to say to make you snap out of it. I understood what she saw in me and she made me use my feelings as an advantage. I believe I saw what she saw after that night and it was the kick I needed. Also her hugs are powerful; they make you forget about your worries.
How was Bali? What did Bali become for you? Any revelations?
Bali was incredible for me. It reminded me a lot of Honduras. It was beautiful and felt like a different world. Bali became my place of awakening. It made me realize who I was and what I was going to become in the future when I came back to the States. It made me realize that I am more than a normal guy. I am constantly dreaming and envisioning myself in many projects. Bali made me shift my thoughts into action.
The Bronx is a tough neighborhood.Do your buddies tease you for being a model?
My buddies still see me as the same Marvin. I am the same Marvin except not. My walk, voice and spirit are different. They see a new person who is on a mission. They don’t tease me too much except I don’t think me dressing up as a girl on the show will ever be forgotten and be a nice little joke to throw my way ha-ha. What are you currently up to living in Los Angeles post show? Actually, I have just signed up for an 8 week acting course with Lesley Kahn in Hollywood. I am taking Actors movement class with Chandra Che. Also I am joining the Upright Citizens Brigade, which is an improve group. I am signing with a commercial, theatrical, and modeling agency by the end of December. I have a spread in Runway magazine that can be found in any store or magazine stand on December 10th.
What is your dream clothing brand you wish to model for?
I wish to one day model for Burberry. It is one of my favorite designers of all time. I could never afford it but I will be able to in a year or two when I really start to entrench myself into my career.
Where can our readers follow you:
Name: Marvin Enrique Cortes
Home Town: Bronx, NY
Fashion style: Urban trendy
Favorite phrase: “Be yourself because everyone else is taken”
Motivation: My family
One thing must always do before leaving home: Make sure I have my house keys
Type of Music like listening to: Pop, Hip-Hop, & Dub step
What gets your attention? Colors and unique style
Turn off: Negativity and non-dreamers
Sexiest woman on earth: Katy Perry
Model: Marvin Cortes
Photo: Daniel Zahoul (naludamagazine.com)
Clothing: Novecento Boutique (novecentofashion.com), District Homme (districthomme.com), Yellow 108 (yellow108.com), Shade 55 (shade55.com)
Sports Accesories: Shoptika Store
Make-Up: Missy Garland (missygarland.com)
Location: L.A. Art District
Naluda Team: Daniel, Natalia, Lara & Michael Jonathan