EVELETH — Luke Gulbranson’s Eveleth-Gilbert Class of 2002 voted him “the most likely to be on the cover of GQ.”
Lo and behold, several years later, the Eveleth native did appear in an ad on the pages of the New York City-based men’s magazine.
He is now headed for television stardom.
Gulbranson — a New York actor, model and youth hockey coach — is one of two new cast members of the Bravo reality television series, “Summer House.”
The show follows a group of young New York professionals who share a house in the beach town of Montauk, N.Y., located on the easternmost point of Long Island, during summer weekends.
The fourth season of “Summer House” premiers Wednesday on Bravo, and will air at 8 p.m. locally.
Gulbranson is additionally playing the character of “Ethan” in an upcoming HBO series, “The Flight Attendant.”
His mom, Cindy Gulbranson, of Eveleth, said she and husband, Lyle, “are so proud of him.”
The 36-year-old is also the grandson of the late Tony and Marge Zadnikar, from Eveleth, and Lawrence and the late Marlene Galbra, of Sparta.
While Gulbranson has been living in New York since age 22, “he loves the Iron Range; he loves home,” said his mom. In fact, her son’s typical summer getaway is at his cabin on Long Lake, south of Eveleth.
Gulbranson’s journey to New York City actually began in Duluth, she said. Her son was shopping at the trendy Abercrombie & Fitch store at the Miller Hill Mall one day, when “he was discovered,” she explained.
He subsequently sent in Polaroids, thinking the modeling agent was located in Minneapolis. Rather, he was in New York City.
Gulbranson followed the calling to the Big Apple, where he is currently signed by the modeling agency, CLICK.
Even as a youth, her son, who was E-G homecoming king, was told he should be a model, she said.
But one of his biggest interests was hockey. “He received the John Mayasich hockey award in high school,” Cindy Gulbranson said.
He went on to play hockey at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, but “got checked from behind” and suffered a concussion, which halted his participation on the team.
However, “his love for hockey is still with him in New York,” where Gulbranson coaches young players at Chelsea Piers, said his mom.
“He has been modeling for many years,” appearing in magazines including Rolling Stone.
“Now he’s doing the TV thing, and we are really proud,” she said, acknowledging that there may be some moments during which, as a mother, she may want to look away from the television.
“Summer House,” after all, is described as a reality show with “booze-filled brunches, charity galas, bonfires and — of course — drama-filled romances.”
Gulbranson has also acted in a short film, “By My Hand,” and has been on an episode of the late-night talk and news satire show, “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver.
He is also founder and operator of Ranger Co. (R_CO.), a line of rustic luxury jewelry and clothes. Its website states that the brand is “inspired by the small blue collar mining towns of Northern Minnesota and the luxurious lifestyle of New York City.”
Cindy Gulbranson said viewers should watch for an episode of “Summer House” showing her son riding a motorcycle. It’s his actual bike, she said, and was shipped from his cabin to The Hamptons for the series.
The mom added that she can envision herself, one day, “sitting in the audience at the Academy Awards.”
“We are very proud of Luke’s accomplishments, and of all our children,” she noted.
But most of all, her son’s story is an example to young people that “a boy from Eveleth can follow his dreams” — all the way to NYC.
“If you’ve got a dream and follow it, your dreams can come true,” she said.