About Derek

I feel very blessed with where I am in my life. There have been times in my life when I have been so concerned about where I was and how much I had with in reference to my age. I want to clear up somethings I have read online and on blogs that don’t know where I came from.

I was born in Kankakee, Il on July 20 to Craig + Lisa Saathoff.  My mother was 20 and my father was 23 and they already had my sister who was 16 months older than myself.  We moved a few times before I was 3 and ended up in Louisville, KY.  I went to public elementary schools and had a very middle class up bringing.

I have very few memories of my parents together but the ones I do remember weren’t pleasant.  I do feel that my parents were too young to have children and really hadn’t lived themselves.  My brother was born 3 years after me and my parents shortly there after separated and divorced.  I remember taking divorce classes with my sister in our elementary school with other kids to help us with the coping of our parents separating.  I doubt this is even done in schools anymore as divorce is now the majority.  This was a difficult time on everyone in my family and for me in particular because I always knew I was different.

I never wanted to play football or any sports for that matter.  I remember listening to Paula Abdul and wanting to be just like her.  I wanted rings and silk shirts.  Most kids wanted to be firefighters but no I wanted to be Paula.  I don’t remember anyone making me feel bad for being more feminine until I reached middle school.  I knew I was different when I reached 8th grade and I wasn’t like the boys in my class.  I was different they knew it and they wanted me to know it.  I was bullied by boys in my grade so much that one day I looked down and my backpack was gone.  I looked everywhere and then I heard a call over the intercom that I needed to go to the principles office to collect my belongings.  I wondered where I left my bag and why the principle wanted me in her office?

I went into the office and she told me that they found my backpack in the bathroom and that someone had urinated all over my books and belongings.  I cried and remember being most upset because they had ruined my leather journal my grandmother had given me to put my thoughts in.  I knew then that people hated me for something I could not change.  I never made the choice to be different and can’t imagine someone wanting to be put through things of this nature over and over again in their life.

I auditioned for the Youth Performing Arts High School in town and prayed that I would get in.  I worked so hard preparing with my dad and practicing because I knew this was my way out.  I could be who I wanted to be there and I wouldn’t be punished for things I couldn’t change.  I was accepted and I had never been happier in my life.  This school was the best thing that had happened to me.  I had always done plays and commercials when I was younger but never thought of it as a long term goal.

I came out of the closet at 14 in my freshman year and was treated like a celebrity.  It made me more popular and I didn’t care if you didn’t like me because I was going to be myself.  All of the pretty popular girls wanted a gay friend so they attached themselves to me and their boyfriends were forced to accept it.  High school was an amazing experience for me and I got offers from colleges with scholarships.  My parents wanted me to make sure that I wanted to go to college and I wasn’t sure I was ready.  I had met a boy and fell in love!!!

I differed my scholarships for one semester and hoped I would figure my life out by then.  I was a host at a restaurant and made plans to visit NY.  I booked a ticket and my life changed after I stepped foot on those glittering sidewalks.  My goal was to drop my photos off with an agency in hopes they would want me as a model for their agency.  Well after 2 appointments I was signed with Next Model Management and asked to move to NY.

WHAT?????!!!!! I was 18 years old and had $350 in my bank account. My parents couldn’t believe it and I headed back to Kentucky to say goodbye to my old life and pack as much as I could carry back to NY.  I packed it all and I moved to the biggest city in America on my own.  My future was uncertain and I loved it.

I modeled for 2 years with the agency and did some amazing things.  I lived in model housing and made friends with all the guys.  It was such an amazing experience to be living in NY on my own.  I ate nothing but ramen noodles because I couldn’t afford anything more but I remember thinking that my goal one day would to be able to travel back and forth from NY to KY.  Well it’s 10 years later and I own a place in KY and visit as much as possible.  I am on a TV show here in NY and I feel I am exactly where I need to be in my life.  I could have never imagined as a boy growing up in farm land U.S.A that I would have the life I do today.

I am not a millionaire but I feel rich in life.  I love what I have created for myself and I am proud of the person I am today.  So no I didn’t come from money + never had a sugar daddy that got me to where I am today.  I did it on my own and have since met Paula Abdul!  I’m still a fan. xoxo