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Star Power

What six famous Coloradans endorse—and what we think should get their stamps of approval.

—Illustrations by Grems

Before he rode off into the sunset, Peyton Manning grossed an estimated $12 million in endorsements in 2015—more than any other NFL player. But he left cash on the table: In addition to repping Papa John’s Pizza, Buick, Gatorade, DirecTV, and Nationwide insurance, Manning probably could have snagged a deal hawking organic sunblock to protect his ample forehead from Denver’s strong rays. Number 18 isn’t the only one skipping out on obvious endorsement opportunities, though. Here, six more local celebrities who might want to re-evaluate what they represent.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos wide receiver

This month, Thomas—a Muzik investor—becomes a face of the portable audio brand’s Muzik Convertible headphones: over-the-ear wireless headphones with smart capabilities, such as pushing a button to share a song to Facebook.

What he should endorse: Sticky gloves. You know, to catch passes during playoff games next season.

Martin Truex Jr., NASCAR driver

Truex has championed Oakley sunglasses since before he started driving for Denver’s Furniture Row Racing. But after he took second place at the Daytona 500 this past February—in the closest finish since the race started keeping electronic time—the driver needed his shades to block the sun and all the flashing cameras.

What he should endorse: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Because, as Will Ferrell famously notes, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”—even if it’s by one-hundredth of a second.

Melissa Benoist, CBS’s Supergirl star

In the midst of her two-season run on Glee, Benoist visited Manila, the capitol of the Philippines, on mall tours to promote Coca-Cola Mismo (the Filipino brand of Coca-Cola).

What she should endorse: The downtown Denver Performing Arts Complex’s renovation. The Arapahoe High School grad’s acting success pairs neatly with the proposed DPAC overhaul plan, which aims to improve the city’s cultural center.

Ben Higgins, Star of season 20 of ABC’s The Bachelor

Higgins gave McDonald’s a plug during a February episode of The Bachelor, when he took Amanda—one of his final four women—on a date to the fast-food joint. Here’s a free love lesson for you, Ben: A rose on a Golden Arches tray does not a romance make.

What he should endorse: Stoic & Genuine. Acorn. Work & Class. Or any of the myriad other fine restaurants in Denver. Now that he’s brought his fiancée, Lauren Bushnell, back home, we’ll even make the reservation.

Slacker, Radio personality for Alice 105.9

Radio host Slacker has been endorsing the work of Denver’s Facial Aesthetics medical spa for more than four years. Not that a radio guy needs to worry too much about his mug, but….

What he should endorse: Thomas’ Muzik headphones. We’d wager that over a decade as an afternoon radio host more than qualifies Slacker as a sound expert.

Mikaela Shiffrin, Pro skier

Chalk this up as a win for team carbo-loading: For the past four seasons, the 21-year-old Olympic gold medalist has represented Barilla pasta—see the patch on all of Shiffrin’s beanies—as she continues to rack up championship titles.

What she should endorse: The Container Store. With 19 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup slalom wins, two World Championship titles, and an Olympic gold medal, Shiffrin needs some fancy shelves to showcase her hardware.

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Star Power

The Hateful Eight wasn’t the only project to shine the spotlight on Colorado this year: a look at our state’s 15 minutes of (2015) fame.

Lucky Number Seven
After premiering in April, Furious 7, the latest progeny of the Fast and Furious franchise, became one of the top-grossing films of 2015. Colorado Fast-philes undoubtedly recognized Pikes Peak when Vin and the gang parachute from a plane—in their cars!—and land in motion on a mountain roadway. Now that’s entertainment.

Fallon Fawns
Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats made their first national TV appearance in August on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The host sure seemed to dig the band’s groove. After the performance, Fallon shouted, “Soulful!” and then called for a standing ovation.

By The Book
In Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Purity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), the title character relocates to Denver to work for an online magazine. Yes, just what Denver needs, another millennial. Shockingly, she does not ride a longboard to work.

Jazz Man
East High School alum Don Cheadle premiered his film directorial debut—Miles Ahead, a biopic of Miles Davis in which Cheadle also stars as the legendary musician—at the New York Film Festival in October. Evidently, Denver and its film fests aren’t fancy enough for the big-time Oscar nominee.

(Read “How The Hateful Eight Made a $60 Million Impact on Colorado”)