Thanks to Beyonce, we typically only think about women upgrading men these days and depending on how much you’re willing to invest in a little DIY man project, this is either well worth the effort or a big no-no.
When we talk about men upgrading women, we think of calculated moves, like golddiggers trying to trap celebrities and pro athletes. Although on the other end of the spectrum there’s the Cinderella stories of the average woman sweeping some billionaire off his feet and suddenly not having to lift a finger for the rest of her life—think Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan. But as enticing as the idea of a financial come up accompanying true love appears in the movies, Tyson Beckford’s recent comments on his regular-girl-turned-supermodel girlfriend are a quick snap back to reality.
The Evening Standard caught up with Tyson to see what the 41-year-old who’s fallen off of the supermodel radar for a while now has been up to and he said some interesting words about his girlfriend, Australian model Shanina Shaik, who has walked for some of the biggest brands in the industry from Victoria’s Secret, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and L’Wren Scott. Ironically, as Tyson talked about trying to warn his girlfriend that the fashion industry can be “ugly, mean and shallow,” he said this about her:
“When I found her she was a regular girl. I helped place her with the right people, get her teeth cleaned, her body toned up. Everything changed and now everyone wants a piece of her.
“I hear people say, ‘You can do better than Tyson.’ I’m like, ‘Really? Really?! I created her!’?”
While I get what Tyson is trying to say about people hating on their relationship, he might want to chill on the whole “I created her” attitude. You got her teeth cleaned and hired a personal trainer, what is this MTV’s “Made?” And who tells that? If my man had to do those things for me, I certainly wouldn’t want him bragging about it to a national publication and then trying to act like I can’t go anywhere else because I would just go back to being a “regular girl” without him.
Nowadays most women, black women especially, are focused on getting their own without a man but Tyson’s comments demonstrate what’s tricky about a man completely changing a woman’s lifestyle—she starts to seem like a trophy wife/girlfriend rather than a woman who they fell in love with as they were and then helped them achieve their own goals. I can’t say he wouldn’t have dated Shanina as she was when they first met but his comments definitely make her sound like a piece of eye candy—or that her being with him is the real driving force behind their successful career.
I feel like his “I created her” statement is one of those comments that come out in a heated argument and make you say, “oh, so that’s how you really feel?” At the end of the day I don’t ever want to feel like a man has something over my head by upgrading my lifestyle and showing me the “finer” things in life, as Tyson is apparently accustomed to waking up in “Dubai one day, Paris the next.” I definitely think it’s possible for two people to come from different classes or financial backgrounds and mutually improve each other’s lives but when a man is trying to act like he has to take me from Ragedy Brande to Halle Berry, I’ll pass.
What do you think about Tyson’s comments on his girlfriend? Could you ever let a man upgrade you like he did?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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