March 23, 2011
Ex-college football players who decide to cash in on the "Tall, Dark and Handsome" thing have taken this blog in some, let's say, unexpected directions before — I never had any intention of writing about Old Spice body wash, for example — but former Iowa State quarterback killer Kurtis Taylor is about to take us way off the beaten path:
That's the audition tape Taylor (aka "Dreamer Ken") made in December for toymaker Mattel's "Genuine Ken" series, a competition between eight "Ken-testants" — Compassionate Ken, Artistic Ken, Party Ken, All-Ameri-Ken, etc. — to earn a modeling contract as the face of the company's redesigned Ken doll. (To make a long story short for the non-dads in the crowd: Ken and Barbie "broke up" after a 43-year-courtship in 2004 — that is, Mattel discontinued the male doll — and "got back together" on Valentine's Day, when the company announced it was bringing Ken back to shelves.)
Of the eight, Taylor emerged as the winner, according to the New York Times, ultimately more for his generosity than his more obviously model-y aspects:
Spotlighting Ken comes after the toy maker's recent update of Barbie, who turns 52 this year, as a fashion plate with high-style outfits. The eight contestants in the "Genuine Ken" series competed in an array of "Bachelorette"-style challenges to determine who had the ideal qualities to fill Ken's customary role as the "ultimate boyfriend for every occasion."
The redesigned Ken doll will resemble the contest winner, Kurtis Taylor, a 25-year-old former defensive lineman for Iowa State, who won over the judges in the romantic gesture category. […]
With $500 to buy gifts, [Taylor] edged out his rivals when he won the romantic category by giving each judge a penny and donating the remaining money to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Six-year-old girls across the world will no doubt be impressed by his selflessness. As for their parents, the next time you feel the urge to question Ken's manhood, remember first that he's 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, can put up 225 pounds on the bench press 35 times, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds and was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 pick as a senior. Even your daughter respects that.
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