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Carmelo Anthony may be the new face of Ultra Sheen Men hair care products, but don’t ask him to grow his locks long.
This story first appeared in the June 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I had hair at one point in time,” said the New York Knicks star forward. “I wish I was with them then, but I’m done with that now. I won’t let my hair grow.”
The Brooklyn-born/Baltimore-raised Anthony, who joined the Knicks in February from the Denver Nuggets, was in a fashion studio instead of on the court earlier this week for a marathon eight-hour photo shoot for Johnson Products Co., the grooming company that has catered to the African-American community for 55 years. Although his team was knocked out of the NBA playoffs in the first round, Anthony has been watching the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks mix it up with interest.
“I have a lot of friends on the Heat,” he said, “but I also know some of the guys on the Mavericks, so all I can say is, may the best team win. I really have no clue [who’s going to be champion.] It’s really up in the air.”
Nevertheless, he’s hopeful that the Knicks will manage to go even further next season. “We’re working,” he said. “We’ve laid the groundwork so we just need to build on it.”
But until he hits the hardwood again, Anthony is focusing on raising his personal profile. He’s launching an updated version of the Melo M7 sneaker Friday, and is expected to march in the Puerto Rican Day Parade this weekend. And this fall, his face will be featured prominently in national advertising for Ultra Sheen.
Robert Hudson, brand manager for Ultra Sheen Men, said the NBA superstar, who had owned a barber shop in Denver, has “an affinity for these products.” He’s also active in the community, has his own foundation for disadvantaged youth and runs kids camps. “We see him as a transformative person and think people will want to emulate him. Our bull’s-eye market is the 15- to 25-year-old guy and Carmelo has mass appeal with this audience,” Hudson said.
“I was trying to redo my brand book and this opportunity came up,” Anthony said. “It really fit in to where I wanted to take my brand. My mother used the product for years and it’s known by everybody in the inner city, so it was a perfect fit.”
Anthony is also known for his keen fashion sense, although he said his choices are not too extreme. For the Ultra Sheen shoot, for example, his stylist, Khalilah Williams, dressed him in a Dolce & Gabbana vest, a Beckenstein Bespoke shirt, a John Varvatos suit, Gucci shoes, Silver Lining glasses and a Breil watch.
“When it comes to fashion, I don’t like to go too over the top,” he said. He said he likes to go to events and dress up and welcomes any and all feedback. “I like being critiqued,” he said. “It only makes you better.”