We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron R. Tucker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron R., how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
I think risk taking is necessary. Every “next” phase of my life came from taking a risk. It’s the only way to truly grow into yourself. You learn what’s important to you by what you’re willing to risk to attain. Taking risks forces you to know exactly who you are, and to ultimately trust yourself, your knowledge, and your abilities. I think there’s more at risk, and loss to be incurred by avoiding taking risks. Personally speaking, there’s nothing riskier than hindering your own growth through stagnation and complacency…I’d take risk over regret any day. I know who I am, and I know I can bounce back from anything. Even if the risks don’t yield the desired results, I will have learned and grown from them.
Risk taking’s played a huge role in my life and my career. Sad as it is to say, living in a way that’s right for YOU can be risky. You’ll make choices everyday that are best suited for you, that may potentially upset someone else. Saying “No”, asking tough questions, having expectations, and being unafraid to separate yourself from people/things/places that don’t serve you, can always be risky business. But as aforementioned, I trust myself…More than I trust anyone. I’ve grown to know that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. My gut has never lied to me.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I think what sets me apart is who I am as a person; how I was raised, what I believe in, and what I represent. I’ve had signs all my life, but it took me actually being in my career to know that my work aligns with who I am as an individual. I’m proud to have passion and purpose at the root of what I do. I’m most excited about the opportunities my career’s afforded me and the ability to share my space and blessings with others.
I got to where I am professionally by fate. I was interning at a record label (just knowing I’d be working in music), when I accompanied an artist on a photoshoot. That was my first time on a professional set and it was love at first sight. I connected with the stylist on set, ironically enough our mutual connections ran deep. He took a chance on me, and the rest is history. Pursuing a “non-traditional” career as a creative wasn’t easy at all, on any level, but it’s all been more than worth it. I was able to overcome the challenges through faith and self-actualization. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I had to offer. I also truly believed that I was deserving of greatness. I never expected something from nothing, and trusted that my hard work would reap it’s rewards. Despite what may have been happening around me, I knew I had to stay true to my vision. Foresight is one of my superpowers.
The best lessons I’ve learned along the way are: 1) Believe in yourself and your dreams. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. 2) Trust God always. 3) Be patient. 4) Know your stuff!/Never stop learning! 5) Stay quiet. It’s best to not share everything you’re doing or plan to do.
I want the world to know that I am my brand. I have a company that umbrellas myself and other ventures. Those things will come and go, but I’ll leave this earth as Aaron R. Tucker. Therefore, creating a legacy that outlives me is paramount. I’m a Luxury Service Provider, but more importantly, aspire to be a PERSON OF SERVICE. Professionally, I want to be a person that clients and collaborators enjoy working with. I love my career, because a huge part of it is making people look and feel their best. That process starts with the initial interactions. I want those I work with to feel good from the inside out, and that’s achieved by me leading with kindness, affability, and authenticity. I want people to realize that I do what I do because I love it, and I’m not only passionate about, but invested in the people and projects I choose to take on.
As previously stated, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been afforded, and intend to share the space I hold and my blessings with others. That’s what I want people to know about my story. Hopefully we all now know and acknowledge the disparities and inequities experienced by too many people that look like me. I want people to know the damage caused by lack of opportunity, visibility, and vilification. A huge part of my life’s work is rewriting that narrative. I want those that enjoy my work and take interest in what I do to also take interest in the lives of those that have been disregarded and shut out. I want the greater part of my story to be realized through the work I do to not only empower and uplift my people, but all marginalized people.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
Ok this question requires a lot of thought for present day LA. Lol. There’s so much I hold dear to me, that’s heavily influenced my time here. Because I don’t know exactly what’s still functioning, I urge your readers to do their own research, and support when they can. I’m gonna be mindful of the current climate, but I’m still gonna mention what I’ve loved most.
Since I’m planning, I’m gonna tell them to fly in on a Saturday night. We’ll spend that night at my place, catching up. I’ll finally have someone else to cook for and indulge in the cocktail recipes I’ve mastered over the last few months. Sunday we’ll go to The farmer’s market on Melrose Pl. We’ll grab some produce, more fresh flowers (I usually have fresh flowers when I have company), everything from Brother’s (@brothersproducts), and a couple chili cheese dogs from Smok N’ Joe’s (@smoknjoeschili). From there we’ll hit up Melrose Trading Post. We can go to The Grove from there, because visitors seem to like that place. Lol. I think the waterfront in Long Beach is a vibe on Sundays, so we’ll have dinner at Parker’s (@parkerslighthouse).
Monday, we’d hike in Griffith Park. I think we’d start three of our weekdays there, because there are three major locations I’d want them to see: Bronson Caves, Cedar Grove, and the abandoned zoo. Afterwards, We’d have brunch at Little Dom’s (@littledomsla), because Ricotta/blueberry pancakes!!! We’ll keep it local that day and visit some of the shop’s in the area. Esqueleto (@shopesqueleto) being at the top of the list. Knowing me and my best friends, we’ve also been day drinking, so it’s time for showers and naps. Lol. Since we’re staying on the Eastside, we’ll have dinner that night at Castaway (@castawayburbank) where we’ll stay until they put us out.
Tuesday’s clearly are for tacos, so we’ll start the morning with breakfast tacos at Homestate (@homestate), then work our way further east to Carnitas El Momo (@carnitaselmomo). I think I want a strawberry doughnut now, so we might as well drive to Glendora, to visit The Donut Man (@donutmanca). (Yes, I’m aware they have a location in Grand Central Market, but this is my itinerary. Thanks. Lol). We’ll walk off our taco/donut bellies in the Arts District and grab some Birria tacos from El Jalisciense to round out the day. I feel another nap coming on…Now it’s well after 5pm and Ave 26 Tacos (@ave26tacos) is open. In a world before Covid, after Ave 26, we’d go to The Dime (@thedimela). There we’d drink Remy, and listen to DJ Alizay (@djalizay) spin for the rest of the night.
Ok, it’s Wednesday and we’ve already consumed more calories than we should in a week, so we’ll start the day with a hike to another one of our three Griffith Park Locations. Afterwards we’ll get smoothies form Earth Organic Juice Bar (@earthorganicjuicebar). Since we’re so close, we might as well walk over to Sunset Blvd Nursery (@sunsetblvdnursery). And what the hell, we’ll continue to walk down Sunset into Silverlake Junction. There’s never a time I don’t want to visit Mohawk General Store (@mohawkgeneralstore), so we’ll stop there first. Since you can never have enough shoes, we’ll hit up Undefeated (@undefeatedinc) next. We’re at the halfway point of the visit, so no more naps. We gotta make the most of our time together. We’ll go back to my place to get dressed and grab some blankets, before heading to Manhattan Beach to chill in the sand and watch the sunset. Before we hit the sand, we’ll pickup a Mothershucker and some Bangkok Dangerous Batches from Fishing with Dynamite (@eat_fwd). As long as I’m warm, I can stay at the beach all night, so that’s Wednesday.
We did a little shopping throughout the week, but nothing too serious. We might as well hit up Rodeo, Robertson, and the likes. But first, brunch on the rooftop at The Waldorf. Ok, shop, shop, shop…Get out of BH as soon as the novelty wears off, and head back east. On the way back east, we’ll stop on West 3rd and holla at the homies Maor and Juan at M. Cohen (@mcohendesigns), and Daniel at Parliament (@parliamenton3rd). Hopefully Joan’s will have some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. We’ll offset our little shopping spree by not spending anymore money, and having dinner in the house. Lol
Damn, Friday already. We’ll start the day with our last hike. I think this day will be for Cedar Grove. We can sit on the hill and look at the city, while I try to convince them to move to LA. It took almost a week of imaginary planning to decide that I’ll rent a drop top for their visit. Lol. So, following our hike, we’ll get fly in some of what we purchased on Thursday, and cruise the coast up to Malibu…Top down of course. We’ll take in some of the scenery, take some pictures to share with our friends and family back home, then head to Nobu for dinner. In a perfect world, The Word of Mouth (@womrsvp) family is still having events, and this is the “other Friday”. I always ran into people I know or meet cool new folks at these parties, so these nights seemed to never end.
Saturday! My best /closest friends know (or know of) ALL my friends, so they’re gonna want to see my LA friends. Even more importantly, they’re gonna want to meet my newer friends whom they may not already know. What better way than a cookout!? We’ll start our morning with one of my guilty pleasures…A trip to Costco!!! We’ll pick up drinks, paper plates, Solo cups (the official party cup), and plastic utensils. I normally enjoy manning the grill and preparing the food, but not this day. I’m gonna hire my good man, Chef D (@d.realchef) to handle the menu. He’s knows a good number of my friends at home and they’ll be happy to see/support him. Especially since in the days before Covid, anytime someone came to visit, we always pulled up on him at 8th Notch (@8thnotch). Pan Pacific Park’s become a favorite for gatherings during quarantine, so we’ll cookout there. If you know, you know my cookouts are a day within themselves, so afterwards will be the wind down at my place.
It’s Sunday, and because it’s been over a year since I’ve seen most of my closest friends and family, I’m sad just thinking about their departure. We’ll start our final day together at The Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, with Pastor James McKnight (@jamesk.mcknight). From there, we’ll hit up My 2 Cents (@my2centsla), where we’ll just split the menu in half. After eating enough to feed a small army, We’ll head to Inglewood, for Matcha Lattes and to see Amanda-Jane and Shanita at Sip & Sonder (@sipandsonder). We’ll spend the day in South LA, visiting the neighborhoods that resonate most with us and supporting the local businesses. Because it’s been a requirement of everyone that’s come to visit after March 31, 2019, we’ll visit some of the Nipsey Hussle memorials to show our love and respect. Now back to the beach, where we’ll remain until it’s time for their return home.
So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?Wow. A myriad come to mind. I’m greatly inspired by and appreciative of the smallest things. I’m also blessed to have had so many amazing people pour so freely into me. This is with their only expectation being to see me shine and reach my fullest potential. I’ll answer in regards to my profession…
If I had to choose one person, I’d like to shoutout Earl J. Nicholson. Earl gave me one of the most monumental opportunities of my career. He brought me on as a part of his Guest Wardrobe team at the Tyra show. The impact of my time there would prove to be immeasurable. Everyday, Earl groomed me and taught me to excel in my position, and in turn all that would follow. He gave me knowledge, experience, and most importantly, autonomy. I jokingly say that I was a project for him. Even though I was qualified for the position, I was just a little rough around the edges. My styling background and other professional experiences in NYC were in music, where my personality type (then) fit perfectly. Though I needed to mature and soften a bit, Earl never tried to change me. I’d always felt seen by him for exactly who I was, and even celebrated. His dedication to my growth and development will always be appreciated.
Before knowing we were starting our final season of Tyra, Earl expressed that he expected me to take on more of a leadership role in our department. Upon the completion of the series, it was expressed that I should no longer be assisting him. (Or anyone else for that matter). Both sentiments were huge motivators for me. This isn’t to say that Earl and I didn’t continue to work together. In every position following our time together, he’d outsource work to me. Currently, we’re working in (almost) the same capacity as when we met. Though I report directly to him as my Dept. Head, he doesn’t want to be referred to as my “Boss”. I think it’s funny, but in reality, he’ll always be so much more. He’s a mentor, a friend, one of the first people I share my new projects with, and my industry “Dad” (inside joke).
Honorable Mention: Wouri Vice, Tina Phan, Christopher George Latore Wallace
Personal images by Sincere NewNYer (@i_amsin) Works images (in order): 1. TOMAAS 2. Eric Hason 3. Mark j. Davis 4. c/o Warner Records 5. Vadim SkyVood 6. Luke Fontana