In three seasons in the Minors, James went 5-2 with a 3.79 ERA in 35 games from 2016-18. (Turlington)
So as the summer of 2018 drew to a close, Carter came to the painful but unavoidable conclusion that it was time to put his baseball career to rest. Though he would go on to pitch a little bit in the independent Frontier League immediately after Great Lakes’ season for one last ride, he made his exit from the Dodgers’ organization official with that conversation in Shoemaker’s office.
“It was tough to get the words out,” Carter says. “I had played baseball my whole life.”
Of course, he had been photogenic his whole life, too.
And soon, that would open other doors.
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Much like his model aunt, who didn’t let her superstar status prevent her from pursuing a master’s degree in public health from Columbia and the higher purpose of her charity work, Carter greatly valued his education. So when he put baseball behind him, he re-enrolled at UCSB to chase the final credits he needed for his history degree.
It was only natural, though, given his looks and his roots, that Carter would view modeling as a potential path. So during a visit to New York to see his family, he reached out to some casting directors in the city and, within days, was signed by IMG. (By the way, that family referenced includes Carter’s stepfather, who is screenwriter Brian Burns, brother of actor and director Ed Burns, who is married to Turlington. The two couples live within a block of each other in New York.)
Carter’s first real photoshoot this past summer was actually accidental. Turlington was shooting a cover for Vogue Brazil with the renowned photographers Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi, and she had Carter come visit the set so that he could network with people from the industry.
“The photographers were in awe of how much we looked alike,” Carter says. “So they styled me up immediately.”
While Turlington was getting her hair and makeup done, Carter was whisked away for an impromptu shoot.
“They were gone for like an hour!” Turlington says. “I was like, ‘Hey guys, don’t we have work to do?’”
From that shoot came the image that Turlington put out to more than 800,000 followers on Instagram, with the caption, “When your nephew visits you on the set and steals the show!” The post got more than 40,000 likes.
A headshot that Christy Turlington posted on Instagram vaulted James to stardom. (Photo by Luigi & Iango)
A star was born.
Carter has since done several shoots for upcoming projects, including his first magazine cover, and he’s strutted the catwalk for Rag & Bone, Brandon Maxwell, Giorgio Armani, Fila, Missoni and Bottega Veneta at Fashion Week in New York and Milan.
“It’s kind of the same as walking out to the mound, in a way,” he says. “That confident walk.”
Carter used to devote himself to bulking up his body. Squats. Deadlifts. Protein.
Now, he’s eating fish and vegetables and doing cardio and ab workouts constantly. He pitched at 215 pounds. As a model, he’s down around 170.
“The diet,” he says with a sigh, “definitely got stricter.”
Instead of sharing a clubhouse with his A-ball teammates, he’s found himself rubbing elbows at parties with famous athletes, movie stars, musicians and, of course, many, many models.