Actor, Model, and Influencer Al Tarek Explains Offers Valuable Insight for Brands

Tarek Al is an actor and social media influencer focused on lifestyle and travel. He’s worked along with some A-list co-stars, including his recent role as the lead in Cigarettes and Coffee with Candyman actor Tony Todd, a guest star role in a new under-wraps HBO Max series, and his cameo appearance in Spider Man No way Home.

In 2019, Al Tarek launched his own advertising company. As a fashion and lifestyle influencer, Tarek has created content for well-known brands, such as Mont Blanc, Adidas, Dior, Chanel, MVMT, Zara, H&M, and more. He was one of the Top 5 Miami Fashion Influencers and featured in Buzzfeed’s Sexiest Men with Tattoos article.

Because of his extensive experience in art direction, production, and success in the industry, he launched his own advertising start-up in 2019. He’s traveled the world making campaigns for high-end luxury brands and has managed to keep them all as loyal clients. It all started as a reaction to being rejected by some modeling agencies after getting tattoos.

Though tattoos have never gone out of style, the fashion industry has always been reluctant to hire tattooed models. I don’t know why that is because it’s so apparent that brands are missing out on advertising to a vast demographic of potential customers.

Anyway, I was one of those models that experienced rejection, which forced me to get innovative and show that models with tattoos speak to a significant audience of potential buyers. I started out with some simple photos showcasing outfits I put together and immediately noticed I was gaining a lot of attention.

People on social media connected with my style and my tattoos because it was unique. I guess I was showing that people with tattoos could be stylish and that not everyone with tattoos has to dress grungy. There are brands that still have this stereotype about tattooed individuals like they can’t be fashionable.

My hand tattoo gave their product “an edge.”
I was acquiring more followers who were asking me to post more photos of my outfits and my daily shenanigans, so I did, and the response was positive. As my Instagram account continued to gain more followers, I got more eyes on me from photographers.

Then a photographer reached out to me, and we did a photoshoot. After posting those photos, I got my first official/non-official paid Instagram gig. Fossil reached out to create posts wearing some of their watches. They said they liked how my hand tattoo gave their product “an edge,” so they wanted to collaborate. After that, other brands started reaching out.

Be inclusive and diverse in choosing Influencers to promote your brand. This experience taught me a lot about the industry. So far, the brands that have wanted to collaborate have said that my social media presence has a genuine feel to it. Essentially, they would like to appeal to a different audience using the trust I have built with my following.

It may sound disingenuous, but it’s good because brands are open to my recommendations since they rarely target this kind of demographic. Most brands are hip to the idea of influencers, but I think the biggest takeaway is to be inclusive and diverse in your choices if you want to reach a broader audience.

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