Tyson Beckford walks into Journelle, a quaint, sexy lingerie shop located on New York City’s Upper East Side, surveys his surroundings and quickly assuages any concerns of discomfort with one hell of a brag: “Oh, I’ve dated several lingerie models. I’m very comfortable here.”

The supermodel-turned-actor may be eye candy to the drooling saleswomen, but he casts his gaze on a few preferred pieces for the lucky lady who one day will get to spend quality time in his bedroom—or in any room. After thinking about it, Beckford designs his dream woman for EBONY: “She’s humble yet fun; adventurous; creative; a good cook; and she’s got to be a great lover because I’m passionate,” he asserts. The 43-year-old shakes his head vigorously and adds that his ideal gal doesn’t have to be—or even look like—a lingerie model.  His only true requirement is confidence.

That has likely been his most valuable asset while navigating Hollywood’s fickle terrain. This fall, we’ll finally see Beckford reaping the fruit of his hustle with a co-starring role (he’s portraying a playboy) in the highly anticipated Zane feature film, Addicted (releasing October 10). And there’s more: The actor inked a deal to play a stripper in the upcoming flick Chocolate City, which is being billed as the Black version of Magic Mike—hearts, be still. “I’m pacing myself,” he reveals, now in the back dressing room of the upscale boutique. “I’ve been trying to pick the right parts and show different levels of myself but don’t know if I’m fully in there yet. It’s so hard to make the transition because movie executives just think you’re a pretty boy and can’t do anything else. But I see myself cast in action and drama films. I’m a very emotional person, so I can tap into that for roles. There’s nothing I can’t do. I always tell myself I’m one gig away from that ‘it’ character.” And he’s hoping his fans will stick around while he gets his footing.

Read more in the September 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.