Sheltering in place has its challenges, whether professional, social, or personal. But Tyson Beckford isn’t one to fall prey to limitations of any sort–since the pandemic began, he’s not only launched Orion Skye, a brand new fragrance for men, but has also announced a wine and spirits project, all while keeping himself and those around him as safe as possible. Beckford’s will to pursue new realms of entrepreneurship in the midst of a pandemic comes as no surprise given the legendary supermodel’s life and career is in overdrive, and Orion Skye itself is an expression of the spirit and energy that’s led him here. And, it’s safe to say that his forthcoming rosé in collaboration with GrapeStars, an app centered around celebrity-backed wines and spirits, will be no different.
Here, Beckford gives DuJour a virtual look behind the scenes from his sunny home in Miami.
How did your fragrance launch with RivalWorld come to be?
It was a gift from heaven, I guess–you know how you manifest something and it appears? That’s kind of what happened with this. I had just been talking to the people at Ralph Lauren about wanting to do something again, and then this popped up in January when my marketing manager suggested doing a cologne, and I said that I’d love to. We discussed it and then the following week we were sitting there smelling different scents, so it happened really fast. It was a nice kick-off to the beginning of the year because, you know, we only came up with [the idea] this year. And that’s pretty fast in this business.
How would you say that this scent profile represents you personally?
I think it’s my energy. I’ve always had this amazing energy that people say is out of this world–my friends would be like, “Man, aren’t you tired?” And we’d be out all day, working out, going to day parties (back when we used to go) or wine and cheese stuff. I’ve just always had the energy to be the one who picks people up when they’re down. So Orion Skye really describes me, it’s a fresh breath of energy. Something that’s meant to lift you up.
I have to ask: do you wear the scent yourself?
Yes, I do! It’s going to be one of my all-time favorites. Not because I created it, but because it just smells great. People always ask me (even through the mask) what scent I’m wearing.
Any insider tips for spritzing?
Take the bottle with the nozzle pointed toward you, and then spray both sides of your neck. That’s all you really need. A little bit will be absorbed by your shirt, and then most of it is on your skin, where scents can live freely.
Speaking of bottles, you’ve also just joined forces with Jean-Jean Pelletier and GrapeStars. Can you share a bit about that?
I don’t know exactly when it will be ready, but so far we’re at the point where we know I’m going to do a French rosé from scratch. There’s something about France and the sun and the soil…I’m excited. I’m doing an ambassadorship as well, but the original conversation started with me and them wanting to do a wine.
Any interest in venturing into the spirits side of things?
We’ve looked at some vodkas and we talked about possibly a Cognac, so there are talks happening. We even got to the point where we know the shape of the vodka bottle and the name, and the artwork is done, but we’re not in any rush. You don’t want to rush production and you don’t want to rush perfection.
Having launched all of these new projects during these times, do you feel that the moral responsibility of businesses in general has shifted from what that might have looked like previously?
Oh, yes. I feel that we have to lead by example, so I never leave home without my mask–I actually have a couple surgical ones in the car that are still in the plastic, so if I see somebody without one I’ll ask if they need a mask and if they say yeah, I’ll give them one. But I’m in Florida and people can be defiant. I’m being extra safe and extra cautious because I care about myself and I care about others, and I think if someone sees somebody like me at my level [wearing a mask], I hope that inspires them to think twice about this and say to themselves, “Well, what’s it going to hurt?” It’s such an easy thing to do.
On a lighter note, when you’re not working or sleeping, what have you been up to in your spare time throughout the COVID-19 era?
I love riding and building things. I ride a motorcycle and I ride bicycles; I’ve built motors for cars from the ground up, as well as motorcycles and bikes. I’m quite the engineer (my dad is an engineer, so I think it rubbed off). I’m a creator, so that’s what I like to do.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.