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At this point, it’s a pretty lengthy roster: male celebrities who have stripped down to their skivvies and been the face of what is perhaps the most iconic name in men’s underwear, Calvin Klein. Sleek and sexy but often deliberately controversial as well, the label was able to not only make underwear ads a key form of marketing but take them to new levels. And the titillating list of male celebrity Calvin Klein models who have appeared multiple stories high on billboards around the world (Klein was the first to sell fashion on billboards as well) spans actors, musicians and world-class athletes.
It was just last month when wholesome singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes caused a stir on the web by sporting a pair of CK boxer briefs (and nothing else) for a brand-new ad campaign. But Mendes’ photos are hardly the first male celebrity Calvin Klein underwear ads to get people talking. As we present below, that’s a tradition that dates all the way back to 1992.
Which celebrity stripped down best and looked sexiest while doing it? Well, that’s for you to decide. But below we’ve gathered our all-time favorites to get the conversation rolling.
Here are our favorite male celebrity Calvin Klein underwear ads. Enjoy!
18. Antonio Sabàto Jr., 1996
A cemented sex symbol after his years on the American soap opera General Hospital, he was a given for Calvin Klein underwear ads in the mid-’90s. Why does he appear so low on our list? Well, since then he’s spouted BS about President Obama being a Muslim and supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and we just don’t have time for that. Instant boner killer.
17. Frank Ocean, 2016
We’re huge fans of Frank Ocean, don’t get us wrong, but while this is technically Calvin Klein underwear, we’re gonna need to see a bit of skin to rank higher on our list.
16. Mahershala Ali, 2017
Now, that’s just a tease.
15. Fernando Verdasco, 2010
This Spanish pro tennis star looks great in a pair of boxer briefs.
14. A$AP Rocky, 2019
This rapper appeared in Calvin Klein underwear ads back in 2017 and again as part of the brand’s most recent batch, and boy, what an improvement. The shoot from a few years back looked more like Mormon undies than Times Square billboard material.
13. Oscar Emboaba, 2014
This Brazilian soccer star looks damn fine in a pair of CK briefs.
12. Justin Bieber, 2015
It’s hard to imagine these CK underwear ads are four years old. They’re commonly considered an attempt by the pop singer to prove once and for all that he was “a grownup” — and an opportunity to show off all his ink — though upon their release he faced accusations that the #BieberBulge was padded. And while these underwear ads are meant to make him look “hard,” we’re not sure any brand could pull off that Sisyphean task.
11. Noah Centineo, 2019
Part of the latest batch of celebrity Calvin Klein underwear ads, we can’t get enough of this young actor, who really shined in the Netflix movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
10. Shawn Mendes, 2019
The last guy on our list to appear in CK’s latest crop of celebrity models, the internet pretty much lost its shit when this wholesome singer-songwriter stripped down for his underwear ads.
9. Mechad Brooks, 2010
Calvin Klein does a body good, as this Desperate Housewives and True Blood alum can attest.
8. Kellan Lutz, 2010
He was an Abercrombie & Fitch model before he made it as an actor, appearing in the 90210 reboot, Immortals and the Twilight saga, so squeezing into this Calvin Klein underwear came naturally to him, and it shows.
7. Hidetoshi Nakata, 2010
The Japanese soccer player joined a few other international star athletes for his Calvin Klein underwear ads debut, and it’s not hard to see what got him the gig. Damn.
6. Nick Jonas, 2014
OK, so technically this isn’t an official Calvin Klein underwear ad (it’s from a photo shoot by Tagert Ellis for Flaunt magazine), but it’s just too hot not to appear high up on our list. Similar to what we saw with Justin Bieber the next year, these Nick Jonas images attempted to cement his adult sex symbol status. (The difference was, of course, that in Jonas’s case, it worked?) It was a smart move to imitate the ad of all CK underwear ads — a reference that if you don’t get, you’ll just have to keep scrolling.
5. Jamie Dornan, 2009
Like Kellan Lutz, Jamie Dornan was a successful actor before he took to acting. Clearly destined to become a sex symbol, one glance at his Calvin Klein underwear ads and it’s not hard to tell why he was given his big break in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise.
4. Trevante Rhodes, 2017
Right after Moonlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture, four of its stars — Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders — scored a much-deserved Calvin Klein ad campaign. Rhodes’ images were the only ones of the four that featured him stripped down and drool-worthy.
3. Karl Frederik ‘Freddie’ Ljungberg, 2005
This Swedish footballer was a Calvin Klein underwear model for years. You can tell why.
2. Mark Wahlberg, 1992
It’s the celebrity Calvin Klein underwear ad that started it all. Wahlberg’s ads quite literally inspired all of the brand’s future celebrity-driven underwear ads. It’s been mimicked and satirized many times (just take a look at Nick Jonas, number 5, above) but it’s nearly impossible to compete with the original.
“We were repositioning Calvin’s men’s underwear line, which at the time was a relatively small business,” says then CK Senior VP Neil Kraft. “It wasn’t like we were casting around for a celebrity, it was more like ‘What do we do for the new campaign for men’s underwear? Right at the same time, Mark was on the cover of Rolling Stone showing his Calvin Klein underwear. Both Calvin and I saw it and thought, This is the guy we need.”
1. Djimon Hounsou, 2007
One of the most striking ad campaigns in existence, the CK underwear ads featuring Hounsou — who had just been nominated for an Oscar the year before for Blood Diamond — are captivating and flat-out gorgeous … exactly what you’d expect since they were shot by Peter Lindbergh, the man responsible with creating the “supermodel” in 1990.
What do you think of our list? Which are your favorite celebrity Calvin Klein underwear ads?
All images courtesy of Calvin Klein