If you flipped through magazines back in the '90s, you might remember Tyson Beckford from those iconic Ralph Lauren Polo ads.
And, as it turns out, there are hundreds—yes, hundreds—more of those preppy, shirtless snaps you never got to thirst over. "The amount of pictures that have never been seen are incredible," he recently told E! News' Lilliana Vazquez. "Everything's now digital. Those images are from film, which most photographers don't usually do anymore. I would love to create a coffee table book of my photos that were shot on film. That's such a monumental time in fashion history that we'll never be able to see again."
In the meantime, you can likely find Beckford and his photos popping up all over Pinterest. "Sometimes I go on there and it brings back to so many memories," he added. "Some of them I don't even remember shooting."
Since the '90s, he's solidified himself as more than a model. The 49-year-old is an activist fighting for racial justice, an entrepreneur and, most recently, the mind behind the new cologne line Orion Skye. Read on for more form his interview with Vazquez for E!'s Style Collective.
E! News: How did quarantine help inspire Orion Skye?
Tyson Beckford: There's going to be two types of people that come out of this. There's going to be the doers, the people that created and said, "I can't work a regular job, but I can do this. What can I do?" Those are what I call super entrepreneurs. They create work for themselves from home. It's people who are taking charge of their lives, whether it's working out at home, educating your kids, making clothes, making masks, creating brands like [Orion Skye]. I think that it's such an American thing for us to create a business when we don't have one and to then propel that into something bigger than it is.
E!: How would you describe the scent?
TB: Fresh, invigorating and climatic. As soon as you spray it, let it sit for a while and then it builds up into a climax to the point where maybe an hour from now, it smells better than when you sprayed it. It propels you into another world. It continues to get better the longer that you wear it.
E!: Is it unisex?
TB: It's just for men, but I've had female customers that buy for their brothers or their boyfriends and they're like, "I'm just going keep one for myself!" I would love to try to make a women's fragrance, if Naomi Campbell were to help me. You need it from a woman's perspective.
E! How is your dating life in quarantine?
TB: Quarantine has really messed up the dating life. There's no way to really date or see anybody. You can do the virtual thing. Anyone who's locked down with a boyfriend or girlfriend is lucky right now. For the rest of us who don't, we just keep creating things, reading books, and keeping ourselves busy.
E!: How do you keep busy?
TB: I've been working out, sometimes twice a day just to kill the boredom, making sure I'm on my meal plans and I'm eating correctly. I call to check on friends. I have a lot of friends who are veterans. I reach out to them making sure they're alright. We go to the doctor all the time to check the rest of our body, but we never do a checkup from the neck up. I call it the spiritual check. I try to do that with everyone I know.
E!: How do you stay so positive and uplifting?
TB: I was always surrounded by loving friends and family. You grow different when there's love and we see what happens when there's hate. When there's hate, people don't grow and they don't get to manifest into what they're supposed to be and who they're supposed to be. I feel like this pandemic is changing the world and how the world views each other because we're all in it together. You can see who's on the right side of history and who's on the wrong side. I want people to always look at your surroundings and if you feel like you're in some place that's not good for you, get out of it. This is the time for change. This is the time for people to come out of this and become better.
E!: How do you use your platform to educate?
TB: Whenever I post something, you then should take your time and research it yourself. Don't just base everything off of my opinion. What I'm hoping is that I spark a nerve. Therefore, then you go and do the research. I always tell people, 'Do your research. Find out what's going on, what's happening in your area, how can you assist, what changes you can make to make us have a better future?' Right now, I just got all of my paperwork to do the absentee ballot. Because of coronavirus, I personally fear going to the polls. I recommend others who are like me, who don't want to interact with a lot of people and who are worried about their health and this pandemic, to do the thing. Give yourself as much time as I'm giving myself.
E!: You have a big birthday coming up! What is your secret to great skin at almost 50?
TB: You need water for plants. You need water for trees. The human body is kind of the same thing. You need to water it, you need to keep it moisturized, especially like your skin. I would say it has done me a very good deed because at the age of 50, a lot of my friends are seeing wrinkles in their skin and they're like "What are you doing?" I'm just drinking water, working out, eating clean. I've cut meats out. I love fish, I'm sort of like a vegetarian-pescatarian.
E!: What's your birthday wish?
TB: Just being around family, continuous success, and longevity in life. I've had a good 49 years so far. Although a couple bad ones, but the funny thing is I don't even remember them. I've always trained my mind to remember the good and also remember the good in people, but to not forget. I think just being alive, especially with what's going on in the world, being able to have a roof over your head, having food on the table, and having people around you that care about you. That's pretty much all I can ask for at 50.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.