With its eye-popping visual double-entendres, it was the banned Super Bowl ad that had millions salivating, and not just over the All Natural Burgers.
The Carl’s Jr. commercial turned 21-year-old model Charlotte McKinney into an overnight sensation, boosting her social media following to half a million. That’s likely to increase even further with the new season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (Mondays at 8/7c beginning tonight).
So we asked the Orlando native for her thoughts about dancing, dieting, and dudes.
“I’ve been very involved with the costume designing and saying how short or long I want it to be. I think it’ll be sexy when I want it to be, and showing different style.”
The Carl’s Jr, spot was huge—how did it feel to be famous overnight?
I’ve worked so hard to be where I am, so when I finally got to that moment it was so amazing for me. I’m extremely blessed and grateful for everything that’s happened lately. Everything I’ve gotten from it—Dancing with the Stars and other stuff coming up—has helped my career so it’s definitely changed in a good way.
Do you like all the attention from guys? Has your love life improved?
It’s always kind of been there… I don’t think so because I don’t have as much time on my hands as I used to.
What’s the number one thing you look for in a man?
Humor for sure; funny, cute and a good person. A deal-breaker for me is someone who’s rude to people, not nice. That’s such a turnoff.
So how are the dance rehearsals going?
They’re exhausting! I’m very tired because I’m also working other jobs too—shooting, having meetings. I’m trying to make it all work. But I’m still having fun with it.
Why did you want to do the show?
My agent brought it up to me and I had a meeting and discussed why it would be good for me and help my career in a different way. It’s a different outlook on me and lets you see more of my personality. So I changed my mind. They talked me into it.
Do you have a winning strategy?
The strategy I have to win is just showing my and my partner Keo’s personality, because it’s not just about the dance, it’s the chemistry between you and your partner, the way you work together. I think that’s going to be a big part of it too.
Her Instagram game is certainly on point.
So is sex appeal—do you plan to use the sexy costumes to your advantage?
Yeah, I’ve been very involved with the costume designing and saying how short or long I want it to be. I think it’ll be sexy when I want it to be, and showing different style.
What do you hope the show will do for your career?
What I hope to get out of it and why I really joined it is to show America the real Charlotte. Nothing everyone’s seen of me has shown me talking or shown my personality. So I’m excited for people to see me as a person, not just the “burger girl.”
You’ll make your movie debut in Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser. Did that happen because of the Carl’s Jr. commercial?
No, that happened before Carl’s Jr. I met with David Spade to do a show that never went through, but he asked me to do a scene in Joe Dirt 2. I play a logger, a lumberjack. I was really excited because I was just getting into acting. I’m super excited for that to come out this summer.
You started modeling at 17. Did you always see it as a stepping stone to other things?
Modeling was what I wanted to do and it has always been my main passion, to be in front of the camera and in the spotlight. But the first two or three years were hard. It was a lot of nos, a lot of rejection. It didn’t come easy. I wasn’t booking jobs so I put a lot of my work online, on Instagram, and clients saw it and that’s how I booked my Guess campaign.
How do you stay in shape? Are burgers part of your diet?
I’m into hot yoga, every day, or Pilates. I’m always working out. I stick to a diet during the week, very clean eating, all organic, not eating out too much, no processed food. Very healthy. [When I indulge] it’s all about proportion.
What goals do you set for yourself?
I want to keep working, staying busy with modeling, TV and movies, everything I enjoy. My goal right now is to keep doing what I love and being happy while I’m doing it.
Lead photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC