Meet Mike: Muscles and Brains!
Mike Keute's attention to detail is clear in his incredible organizational skills and well-toned physique. This has led him to an impressive national and international modeling career that includes regularly serving as Calvin Klein's main underwear model and working for prestigious clients, such as Giorgio Armani, Brunello Cucinelli, Saks Fifth Avenue, GQ and Men's Health. As if that weren't enough, he is currently pursuing his law degree and MBA simultaneously at Fordham Law School through an accelerated three-year program—a first for any student at the university. Brains and good looks? Be still, our hearts! Read on to get to know Mike a little better. Then, catch him on the series premiere of Built Monday, January 28, at 9/8c on Style!
How did you get your start in the modeling business?
I was approached while I was walking around in New York City three summers ago. I was between semesters. My final exams ended two weeks prior. I told the guy that I wasn't really interested, but he gave me his card. He said he was an agent from a top agency. After doing some research, I went to the agency the next day. It turned out that they were legit and they really liked me. Two weeks after that, they sent me to Milan for 10 days to do fashion week. Ten days turned into 3 1/2 months overseas. I wound up doing really well. I went from Milan to Paris to Germany to London. When I was in London, I found out that I booked a Westfield campaign in Australia, which is one of the biggest campaigns I've ever done. I was in Australia for three weeks.
How was it doing fashion week and the big campaign?
It was a great! One of the best things about modeling is the ability to travel. I come from a very small, tight-knit family, but we never were able to go on vacation and travel. Prior to modeling, I hadn't really left the state, let alone the country. I had only gone to Florida once. All of a sudden, two weeks after I was scouted, I'm in Europe. Then, two months after, that I was in Australia. Any country I was at, I made sure to live each day to the fullest and see as much as I could. I never expected to have that experience.
What do you love most about doing home makeovers?
I excel at orgranizational-inspired designs. Let's say you have a small apartment, I'm very good at looking at a blank canvas and making something be functional yet fit inside that small space.
What's something that most people would be surprised to know about you?
Based on first impression, people look at me and have no idea I have a brain. I'm pursuing an accelerated law degree and MBA simultaneously at Fordham Law School, which is No. 2 in the nation for my program.
What kind of home do you live in? How's the décor?
I got my place two years ago. It was after my buddies and I finished college. There's four of us. We were looking for a nice place to rent. We found this beautiful 2,000-square-foot penthouse apartment that's massive. It's a duplex, so it's got two floors. It was originally two bedrooms. I talked to the landlord and asked him if he could build a third one downstairs. We converted a two bedroom into a three bedroom apartment. After the first year, when I went to renew my lease, I offered to buy it. Now, it's a rent to own. My rent is paying toward my mortgage. I recently redid the roof, which is a private roof. I have a private roof. I enclosed the whole entire thing in bamboo. There's tables, chairs, canopies and a grill up there. It's very unique for New York City and everything was done by hand. My design sense is pretty modern. The roof is very natural. But my interior décor is modern with vintage elements. I like antique, rustic things in moderation.
Are you dating? Do you have anyone you're fond of?
I'm attracted to a lot of females, but I can't say that I have a crush on someone. Unfortunately, to be honest, I'm more into studying books right now than studying females.
What's the first thing that catches your eye about a girl?
I like eyes. The eyes are windows to the soul. You can look in the eyes and read someone. Unfortunately, with my legal background, I can tell what kind of person they are by looking in their eyes.
What do you find is the sexiest thing about a woman?
I like a girl who has motivation. For me, beauty is only skin deep. Once I'm speaking to a woman and she's a solid 11 out of 10, if she can't hold a conversation, I can care less about her. She instantly drops in my book. That's not being harsh. I just like to have someone who can hold a conversation—and if that conversation is about shoes or eye makeup, that's not a conversation to me. I want something real and intellectual. I find that if people are self-motivated to reach their potential and beyond, that's what I find to be most attractive.
What's the kind of thing you like to do on a date?
I'm very much a dinner kind of guy. I'm not the best cook, but I do dabble in that area. I am by no means cheap, but I find it to be more fun sometimes to have a home-cooked meal. I wouldn't say I'd cook on the first or second date, but I wouldn't mind coming back together to either of our apartments and cooking for her.
What's your favorite signature dish to cook?
I like cooking a Chicken Cacciatore. But if it's in the summertime, I'm a master griller.
What's your favorite food to eat?
Italian is my favorite kind of food. It's very clear that most Italian dishes are extremely carb-heavy and fat-friendly. I eat it sparingly.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style depends on my activities, but I wear clothes that portray either a "bad boy" image, such as tight T-shirts, or that of a professional, such as suits and ties.
What jewelry pieces are you attracted to?
I like wearing very fancy and expensive watches, both with my professional and casual attire.
What's in your eyewear collection?
I have quite a few sunglasses, ranging from Ray-Ban aviators to Armani shields.
What's been your most memorable splurge?
My most memorable splurge would be my $2,000 platinum Movado watch that I bought for a speech I had to give for law school because it matched the suit I was wearing perfectly.
Catch the series premiere of Built Monday, January 28, at 9/8c on Style!