Time to expand: Numéro Berlin in conversation with Anthony Ramos Martinez

21.06.2022, Interview
 
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“Make Your Move” is not only the message behind the new global Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2022 Campaign, but also a life mission for the American actor, singer, and songwriter Anthony Ramos Martinez.

It’s the second time that the Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated artist collaborates with the brand, following last year’s “Pass the Mic” Campaign. Amidst a diverse cast featuring a.o. Luka Sabbat, Alton Mason, Soo Joo Park, he celebrates both the fresh, new prep style Tommy Hilfiger is presenting to us but also his courage to finally put himself first and find new ways of self-expression.

When I jump into the video call, it is midday in New York, Ramos is awaiting the call with his dog. It takes a few minutes until he switches on his camera (I got lucky) and only a few seconds for me to understand: this man is real, honest and is simply himself. 

Sina Braetz: Hi Anthony, how are you?
Anthony: I’m good. I’m just sitting here with my dog, will walk him after this.

Oh, I can’t see, the camera is off. What kind of dog do you have?(switches on his camera) He’s an Eskimo Dog.

So cute. What’s his name? 
Prince. 

He really looks like one! Since we don’t have much time: let’s talk about making moves. What was the biggest move you ever did in your life? 
That’s a hard question. I think the biggest move I ever made in my life was putting myself first. For many years, I was putting a lot of people before me, and I think we also should often consider people before ourselves. But when you stop thinking about yourself because you’ve been doing that so much, you’ll lose yourself. So I started to do tons of things for myself, moving to Miami, deciding to do music, getting a studio in Los Angeles. I just saved up money and just went out there with my friend, I had no plans but to get a studio and write songs. There was no record deal or anything. I just went out there with a dream despite people telling me that I’m crazy, asking me what I was going to do after. Well, I had no backup plan but every time I’ve made a decision like that in my life, more times than not, it has worked out for me. 

What keeps you going, what makes you lose that fear even you’re told you’re crazy?
I think it’s the faith and the gut feeling you get. It is so cliché when people tell you to listen to your gut but I do believe that clichés are there for a reason. I think oftentimes you don’t listen because it tells you to do the things that we’re scared of. So it’s much easier to do the thing that is in front of us, the most comfortable ones. You don’t know what it feels like to get on a roller coaster until you get on it. Once on it and you hear the sound of it going all the way up, you get so scared. Then it drops and your fear turns into exhilaration as you realize that you’ve just done something that you were so afraid of. That is so exciting. I am convinced that most people are so happy to have taken that step. We are facing fear in so many situations in life, like the first time you learn how to swim, the first time falling in love and breaking up and you think Oh my gosh, is my life going to end like that? All those moments in your life where you’re like man, what am I going to do? But then you realize that things have turned out for the good. One of my favorite moments in the Rocky movie is when Rocky asked Apollo Creed: You ain’t even a little bit afraid? This is such a powerful moment. And then another one, where Rocky goes I still got stuff in the basement, his son is so scared for him and then Rocky asks him when did you get like this, when did you let people stick a finger in your face and tell you who you are?  So, I really think you just have to do things and be like – excuse my language – fuck it, I’m scared but let’s go.

“I had no backup plan but any time I’ve made a decision like that in my life, more times than not, it has worked out for me.”

Do you have something like a mentor in your life that also helps you not to lose yourself and to go for your goals? 
Yeah, I have a few. First of, many amazing friends who really encourage and remind me to keep going. You know, sometimes you just need encouragement, you just need to hear from someone come on, you can do it.  I’m grateful that I have a good amount of friends to do this for me and vice versa, we always help each other. Also my mom is so supportive, my family, my brother, my sister, my managers, my team. They all take their time for me because sometimes I get into trouble, I’ll be all over the place but they are always so patient with me. They remind me of all that I’ve been through. 

Yes, so important to have those kind of people in your life. With you leading the new Hilfiger campaign, let’s talk a little bit about fashion. What does fashion and style mean to you personally? Would you consider it as an extension of your character, your personality? 
I think fashion is definitely a way of expression. In the past, for most of my life, I didn’t really know how to express myself through my art, which is singing for example. I think fashion was another form of art that I felt was intimidating for me. I didn’t really have the confidence to step out and explore, unless I was with my stylist. But now, especially, having worked with Tommy Hilfiger and wearing my outfit from the campaign on the streets, multiple people are complimenting me and for whatever reason, now, if I had to choose from five things on a rack, I usually would go for the craziest looking thing. I really don’t care anymore about others asking me why I would wear this. If I like something, then that is what matters. I think fashion is an amazing form of expression that I’ve never explored until really the last one or two years. It’s been so much fun getting to explore that side of me.

What would you say made you start exploring that side?
Recently, I did a massive wardrobe change, also because I moved and went through a few transitional moments in my life. I just felt like I’m going to explore change and I think my style was one of the things that made me want to become more creative. I don’t know, maybe it was because I turned thirty, that felt like a huge light ball. I really became more clear about what I wanted and what I didn’t want, with which people I wanted to hang out and with which I didn’t. Well, maybe it was more of a changing mindset, because age really is like whatever but I think turning 30 was an excuse for me to start exploring things that I’ve never done before. To be honest, I love it now. I still wear my regular white shirt and black pants, my navy blue jeans and all the neutral colors that you can wear all the time and which are so easy to combine. But working with Tommy Hilfiger honestly helped me with this new found love for fashion. To be honest, I didn’t care much about fashion before I got to work with Hilfiger. I was so intimidated by the thought of going outside not matching. 

That is crazy, where does this fear and intimidation come from?
When growing up, we didn’t have many options for clothes, so I just think that my mind got so used to that. The thought of having options was overwhelming to me. To combine a white shirt with black pants felt good since I didn’t have to think about it and I it matched well. It really is all about the mindset, I admire people who can get creative for what they have.

Do you remember your very first Tommy Hilfiger piece or did you only start wearing Hilfiger recently? 
My first Tommy Hilfiger piece wasn’t even clothes, it was their cologne, it was my favorite. Since I didn’t want it to run out, I would only wear it for the right moments, like when I was going to my friend’s house or to a birthday party. Yeah, that bottle lasted me a long time.

Wow, that must be a while ago, do you remember?
Oh gosh, possibly late 90s, early 2000s. 

Do you still wear the cologne sometimes?
No, I don’t even know if they have that very same cologne anymore. 

We should find out. Since there is no time for more questions, I will end with this one: What are your goals and expectations for this year?
I think this year is a year of expansion, a time to make space so that you can enhance on the things that you actually enjoy doing. Don’t try to do everything, just do the things that you really want to do and do them the best you can, so you can be the best version of yourself, you know? Focus on less so that way you can actually achieve more. I really want to keep exploring the things that excite me.

Beautifully aligned, you really follow your mission. It was so lovely to speak to you, I really wish you all the best for everything.
Thank you so much. 

“Fuck it, I’m scared but let’s go.”

Picture courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

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