Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Sage Karam on stage with a MAVTV girl during driver introductions. (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Sage Karam was known around the track as SK Money.
The Indianapolis 500 driver can make a few more dollars these days because of his fashion sense.
Strike a pose, Sage.
The one-time IndyCar sensation could trade cars for the catwalk thanks to a blossoming career as a male model. The 22-year-old Karam recently signed with the Wilhelmina Models talent agency and has already appeared in the Saks Fifth Avenue fall fashion catalog.
— Sage Karam (@SageKaram) October 6, 2017
"I was in this pretty puffy, like, fur coat kind of deal. It was pretty fly looking," Karam said, laughing. "I wanted to keep the jacket but it was a bit pricey. I couldn't keep it. I think we get some sort of discount but not for that price."
Karam is still found more often inside his firesuit rather than tailored suits with his day job driving in the IMSA sports car championship series. But his newfound side gig comes with a few more perks than, say, driving for Chip Ganassi _ like attending a party hosted by supermodel Bella Hadid.
"She's like a really, really good looking model," he said. "A couple of Victoria Secret models were there. You get to see these people in the flesh."
Karam's flesh and blond locks got him noticed by talent scouts almost as much as his racing talent once did driving an open wheel car. Karam's Instagram feed was full of shirtless photos as he rose the ranks and won the IndyCar Series' developmental league championship. He even ran a social media contest to find a girl to model his T-shirts and even tweeted, #nodudes just to make the contest rules clear.
"All the drivers gave me a lot of hard time for posting photos of my shirt off," he said. "And how here I landed a real cool modeling gig. I think they're going to see more to come."
Karam, who has competed in the last three Indianapolis 500s, said he arranged a photo shoot this year so he could have some lifestyle photos of himself. He ended up making a portfolio book and dropped them off at a few modeling agencies.
Wilhelmina sent a scout to the Long Beach race in April, snapped some photos of Karam and he signed with the agency about a week later.
Who knows? Maybe Karam will get his own Funky Bunch and start posing in Calvin Kleins.
"Nobody else is really doing stuff like this," Karam said. "I think it opens a lot of doors."
With or without a shirt, Karam could be the next fresh face used on billboards and in advertising campaigns.
"They like me with my shirt off, too," he said. "I'm just chiseling it out a little bit right now. Hopefully, there will be some more shirtless pics to come. I like doing shirtless pics. They're fun."
Karam, who has no IndyCar ride for 2018, set a track record for the GTD class in qualifying at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July but has yet to score a podium finish.
He remained optimistic he could again drive for Dreyer & Reinbold next year in the Indy 500.
Karam has some test shoots scheduled but is otherwise waiting for his next shot in front of the lens.
"I don't know what's next for me in the modeling world," he said. "Hopefully down the road I can get in front of the Fashion Week scene. I don't know, if my name gets big enough in that industry, maybe you'll see me on the catwalk."