We met up with Elliot Tomaeno in NYC to talk about life, style, and how he found his PR calling. Elliot is the founder and CEO of boutique PR agency, ASTRSK. At 31, he is behind the launch of over 200 companies. His approach to startups and new brand identities sets the agency and their clients apart from the crowd and makes a name for small businesses in big markets. A native of Chicago, Elliot has lived all over the world, but currently calls New York City home. Living in the center of the modern world keeps the ever-active Tomaeno on his toes and inspires him to do creative and culturally relevant work. Sporting the new Haxby Hooded Topcoat in navy, he lets us in on his simplified style secrets and his New York uniform.
Name: Elliot Tomaeno
Place Of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Occupation: Founder/CEO of ASTRSK PR
Please introduce yourself and your role at ASTRSK PR.
I’m the Founder/CEO of ASTRSK PR and have been working in PR for the past 10 years. I’ve worked in San Francisco, London, Paris, and lastly New York, where I started ASTRSK 4 years ago.
Question: Do you remember the earliest memory of when you wanted to do what you do today?
Answer: I always wanted to work very closely with people. But, I don't think I even knew what public relations was until my first PR class in college. My first class in PR was taught by Rebecca Self, and she continues to be a big inspiration for me.
Question: You have lived and worked in some of the most amazing cities in the world including London, Paris, San Francisco and currently New York City. What separates NYC from the rest?
Answer: New York City truly is the center of the world. It’s not the center of tech like San Francisco is, but it has so much more to offer. Industries such as fashion, finance, music, and art all have a real presence here, and I've never found a city that incorporates all of my loves in the way that New York does.
Question: Do you have a mantra?
Answer: “Suffering ends with compassion.” I actually got this tattooed on myself at the age 17.
Question: You have an excellent sense of style. How would you define your own look?
Answer: Thank you! I don't know what I would call my look - it’s just my relaxed New York uniform. I mostly wear black jeans and a t-shirt, so I don't know if I consider myself stylish. It’s really all about functionality and not having to think about it.
Question: Have there ever been times you doubted yourself and the path you’re following?
Answer: Yes, I think it’s important to challenge yourself in what you’re doing all the time. I think it’s easy to question the path that you're on when things are hard, but I think it’s more important to reflect on the path you're on when things are great.
Question: Do you have a nickname?
Answer: My family calls me El.
Question: What’s one thing every man should know in life?
Answer: I think everyone should know that they are a source of creative energy, and the way that they move throughout the world has a tangible effect.
Question: Who do you go to for advice and why?
Answer: My mom. She always knows the right thing to say.
Question: If you could have dinner with any three dead or alive historical figures who would they be?
Answer: Freddie Mercury, Dalai Lama, and Nikola Tesla.
Questions: Are there any personal possessions you just can’t live without?
Answer: As a PR guy, my phone.
Question: What’s your worst fashion faux pas you’ve ever committed?
Answer: Camo cargo shorts (college).
Question: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
Question: Describe your perfect day off when you are not working.
Answer: Hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming while discovering some place I've never seen before.
Question: You’re driving across country with only three albums. Who are you listening to?
Answer: Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (the album that has Rhiannon on it)
Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Refreshments - Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy
Question: Which three Instagrams should we be following?
Answer: @astrskpr, @britneyspears, and @justinliv
Question: If you’re closest friends were to describe you, what would they say?
Answer: High energy. ADD. Hungry.
Questions: Who are your style icons?
Answer: Adrien Brody, Roy Orbison, and Joey Ramone.
Question: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Answer: Doctor Who.
Question: Last, but not least, If you could go back and give your 16 year old self some wisdom, what would it be?
Answer: Enjoy the journey.