COMMITTING TO JONATHAN TUCKER

On Left: Coat by Canali, Sweater by Belstaff, On Right: Coat, Sweater, Pants by Missoni

Jewelry by Eli Halili

Photographer: Karl Simone @karl_simone
Stylist: Michael Fusco @mikeystyles
Groomer: Jeff Chastain @mascbyjeffchastain
Stylist Assistant: Merrit Rea @merritt.rea
Special thanks to Gem Saloon

Interview by Matthew Rettenmund

Jonathan Tucker is one of the best parts of all your favorite shows. The actor, who is currently playing devil to the women of Charlie’s Angels as the new film’s villain, is killer-with-a-conscience Frankie on the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck-produced Boston crime drama City on a Hill; was mercurial Low Key on American Gods; and was a highlight of Season 2 of Westworld as intense, self-unaware host Major Craddock, to name a few.

Perhaps most memorably, and in a role that will leave a mark, the Boston native trained like a fiend to play MMA fighter Jay Kulina on Kingdom opposite Nick Jonas — and still has the abs to prove it.

In an exclusive interview with Iris Cover Book, the 37-year-old actor talked about his myriad roles on TV and in film, what he’s carried with him from his youthful pursuit of ballet (#JayKulinaDancesToo) and how he hopes to be remembered.

On Left: Suit and Shirt by Missoni, Loafers by Gucci
On Right: Jacket and Shirt by Rag and Bone, Jeans by Helmut Lang

I’ve seen you in so many things over the last few years, but only recently connected that you were the teenager in The Deep End (2001), the dark, gay-themed story with Tilda Swinton.

That movie changed my whole life! I turned 18 the day I shot the sex scene with Josh Lucas.

It’s interesting how choices can lead us in totally different directions. I wondered how you decided early on in favor of acting over ballet, which you’d studied?

My second-grade teacher had seen an advertisement for a national call for a [1992] movie called Lorenzo’s Oil. I’d really fallen in love with ballet, particularly with being onstage, so I took him up on this offer and I went to the audition. I didn’t end up getting the movie, but I ended up getting on the radar of the local casting director’s office, and they’d call me back for national commercials they were shooting in Boston, and I ended up getting one for Fruit Roll-Ups. The moment I was there on set with the camera and the crew and understanding the process, I was like, ‘This is what I wanna do.”

 I remember coming back with my parents saying, “We need to get an agent — do you guys know what an agent is? I found a woman who I think is very reputable, I think we should have a meeting with her,’ so I certainly steered that ship early on, and I was very lucky to have supportive parents that helped make it happen for me. I was 10 years old.

Though you changed courses, have you retained anything from your ballet training?

I think self-discipline, the ability to listen and take direction, punctuality. As much as one can work on the interior of a character — we’re all spiritual vessels — physicality is a really important part of being a human being. That’s a critical component to the process of creating a character. Being in your body is something ballet dancers understand.

On Left: Trench by Belstaff, Tee by Mitchell Evan, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox
On Right: Jumpsuit by Kyle, Overcoat by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

Being committed physically is something you did for Kingdom. You can be committed to playing a doctor but you won’t be ready to go into surgery, yet on Kingdom, your training had you ready to walk into the ring and be an MMA fighter.

I was living that life. Actors are always toggling between “truth” and “truthful.” Everybody wants truth in their lives, but sometimes we have to settle for truthful, as an actor. Certain roles afford you the ability to get closer to truth, but it’s an actor’s responsibility to be the voice for at least truthful, as the bare minimum. No one’s gonna buy you as a fighter, if you don’t look like a fighter.

That must’ve been a tremendous commitment.

I like tremendous commitments and setting goals and achieving them, and discipline. I think my wife had a significantly more challenging time with what was required to keep and maintain Jake than I did; your mood is profoundly affected. When you hear about people who are imprisoned, they get out and the first thing they wanna do, they don’t care about revenge, they want to eat. That was very understandable for me at that point.

You’d been acting since you were so young, did you have a special bond with Nick Jonas when you were shooting Kingdom?

He’s a very important friend to me for a lot of reasons. I would say when you have been through the crucible of this profession and the craft, you then realize you’re always in it. It provides a great deal of wisdom that you can’t buy. People who have stood with you, people you thought would who don’t, people you didn’t think would support you when things were tough but who end up being the most supportive, making money, losing money, fame, no fame, successful movies, bomb TV shows — it’s a business that provides these artificial highs and lows until after a certain point in time, you start to realize what’s really important. Those people who have that understanding can spot each other from across a crowded room. I feel that way about Nick, and he’s had even more complicated experiences than I have. Growing up in the business and getting to see it for as many years as we both have is certainly a connection that we both share — and we value.

 

Trench by Belstaff, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

 Were there any older actors you’ve worked with who served as role models?

You learn early on there are many classrooms providing an education, not all of them academic, and the teachers are not always society’s notable ones. It’s not just the famous people, it’s the dolly grip sharing how they made a lot of money when they were young, but now their back and knees are gone but they can’t do anything else because they didn’t take a larger perspective on their life.

I wanna have people say, when I die, that I was able to honor different kinds of people and reflect honestly a variety of worlds, or a host of experiences. So, if I could bring that authentic light and shine it in those places or on those people, it’s exciting to me. I don’t see the world in blacks and whites. The more educated I am on certain topics, the less clear they become. What ends up becoming immutable are certain themes in terms of how I want to live my life, rather than unequivocal truths about kinds of people or certain political topics or certain systems. What I’m looking for is truth, and I find that characters that interest me are significantly more complicated than people think they are — sometimes more than even the writer thinks they are — and I’m interested in that sort of dynamic.

You’ve been in the industry long enough to see the push for diversity. Would you agree that Westworld is an example of a show that is diverse, and organically so?

Westworld was diverse before this was a national conversation, or at least a business conversation, and I think it’s a really important point to share because diversity, just throwing around “diversity” as a cultural token does a disservice, rather than trying to address in a meaningful way a system that hasn’t been able to offer the same sort of opportunities to groups of people that it should.

It also comes from the system that [Westworld creators] Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan have created and cultivated, which is, “How do we mentor different and unique voices and support and guide them?” versus trying to plug holes for the sake of optics. The business has a lot to offer every culture, every faith, every skin color, every economic background, we’re all storytellers.

Being on Westworld thrust you into the realm of a series where storylines are top-secret. Are you good at keeping secrets?

I like secrets. As an actor, you never want to tell anyone anything about your work. Your experiences are bifurcated between work and employment — you’re oftentimes working more than you’re employed. People say, “What’s going on?” What, are you gonna tell them about all the auditions you went on that you probably won’t get? About the movie that’s coming together that probably won’t come together? So, I’m pretty good about being tight-lipped. I might not even talk about it when it comes out — I’ll let you see it. I’ve sat next to people that have been cut out of movies and they had a great role and we’re at the premiere. [Laughs] It’s like — just keep your mouth shut.

Trench by Belstaff, Jeans by Linder, Sneakers by Geox

Can you keep your mouth open about Charlie’s Angels?

There’s something great about making a movie that’s simply a lot of fun, about three very talented young actresses kicking ass. It doesn’t need to say anything more than that. A great movie stands on its own, so if it happens to be about three young women doing things that we typically expect only three young males to do, I think that sends a greater message than having to explain to everybody what the message is.

 Your character in that seems thrillingly without merit as a human being.

I would say certainly without merit, but not without a clear intention. [Laughs] I think I was cast as the manifestation of violence against women.

How was director Elizabeth Banks, who also acts in the film, to work with?

She’s pretty, pretty outstanding. I’ve known her for quite a few years, so when this opportunity came we jumped on the phone and I said, “I’m gonna send you a text of what I think this character looks like, aesthetically speaking,” and she said, “You’ve gotta be kidding, check your texts,” and she had sent me the same model — different picture, but the same very distinctive model, so we were on the same page from the jump.

On Right: Helmut Lang full look, Boots by Saint Laurent

You’ve been in so many things, I don’t think there is a type that screams “Jonathan Tucker character.” Is there a role you’ve played to which you most relate, that’s closest to you?

I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that. It’s kind of like: you’re a pitcher, you have a certain kind of pitch you know you’re really good at, and you have a strike box you know you’re guaranteed to get an umpire to call a strike in, and you’re trying to work the corners a whole bunch. You’re always you, but if it’s not a strike, then at least you attempted it.

Being scared to throw in the corners, being scared of being unsuccessful with the choices you’re making as an actor is the death of a good actor. You have to be willing to throw a few balls or have that errant pitch.

Are you an actor who enjoys photo shoots, like the one you did for Iris Covet Book?

You gotta commit to those things. You’re relying on the team so you can walk in there and just jump. You wanna commit to things in your life. If you’re not willing to do that, don’t show up.

SK Manor Hill

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Photographer: Jason Rodgers @jasonrodgersphoto
Art Direction: Paul Hamann @pablomoses
Styling: Ian McRae @iannxo
Hair and Grooming: Matthew Tuozzoli @tuozzoli
Featuring: Alioune Badara Fall @aliounebf
Amber Chandler @ambermchandler
Dominic Sondag @skminorhill
and Garfield

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

Clothing by SK Manor Hill (Fall/ Winter 2019)

OTHERWORLD

Puff Coat by VERDICT STILL OUT, Dress by Videmus Omnia, High Boots by Paula Torres, Headband and Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

 

Photographer: Dustin Mansyur @dmansyur

Stylist: Julia Morris at Utopia @juliaamorris

Hair: Koji Ichikawa @koji_ichikawa at The Club New York using Laicale

Makeup: Daniel Avilan @danavilan at The Industry MGMT using Pat McGrath Labs

Floral Design: Marcos Toledo @influorescent

Set Design: Marcos Toledo @influorescent and Cristina Fitch @cafitch

Model: Reese Robert @reeserobert_ at Muse

Digital Tech: Johnny Vicari @johnnyvicari

Stylists Assistants: Beatrice Goudet and Bethany Mong

Hair Assistant: Megumi Kubo

 

Otherworld explores the existence of inner worlds through the lens of surrealism. The power of those called visionaries, artists, or mystics is the ability to identify this world, and through their works, synthesize it into reality. The internal fantasia is imagined as a surreal landscape, familiar but alien in its appearance. Layering imagery through the use of projections is a technique that furthers it’s quixotic, dreamlike interpretation. Heritage-inspired clothing depicts a world ambiguous of time. Floral themes reinforce the metaphor of the inception of an otherworld as germination of the seed, to its manifestation as it blossoms. Personal evolution occurs the more time spent inside this world. The idea of escapism becomes inverted, with an emphasis on the beauty and luxury of solitude.

– Dustin Mansyur

 

Dress by Aida Kaas , Jacket by Videmus Omnia, Hair clip and Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Jacket by Videmus Omnia , Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise, Floral arrangement by Influorescent

Floral arrangement by Influorescent

Beauty using Pat McGrath Labs, Jacket by Videmus Omnia

Dress and Veil by Victoria Hayes, Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Dress by Aida Kaas, Jacket by Videmus Omnia, Hair clip and Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Floral arrangement by Influorescent

Dress by Aida Kaas, Jacket by Videmus Omnia, Hair clip and Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Coat by Victoria Hayes, Jumpsuit by Elias Gurrola, Hair clip and Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Feather Coat by Khoman Room, Beauty using Pat McGrath Labs

BRYANT STREET

Top by Harris Reed, Pant by Jamal Studios, Shoes by MM6 Maison Margiela, Bow by Montana

Photographer: Kimber Capriotti @kimbercapriotti
Model: Leah Svoboda @leahsvoboda, @anthmmgmt
Stylist: Molly Haring @mollyruthharing_styling
Hair and Make-Up: Lydia Brock @lydiabrock
Style Assistant: Shane Mastel @mastonianwarlord

On the Left: Kimono by Jamal Studios, Bodysuit by Montana, Leggings by Off-White, Boots by Ganni, Balaclava by Jean Paul Gaultier
On the Right: Scarf by Jamal Studios

Top by Montana, Earring by Marni

Dress by Ganni, Shoes y Nike X Undercover React Element 87 Sneakers

On the Right: Dress by Ganni
On the Left: Blazer by Montana, Hat by Harris Reed

ALIX ANGJELI BY DENNIS STENILD

 

Top by Litkovskaya

Photographer: Dennis Stenild @dennisstenild
Stylist: Julia Morris @juliamorris
Make-up: Moises Ramirez @moisesartnyc for MAC Cosmetics
Manicurist: MoMo @ohmynailsnyc @SeeManagement
Producer: Sheri Chiu @sheri.chiu
Talent: Alix Angjeli @alixangjeli @thelionsny
Stylist Assistant: Bethany Mong @bethanymong
Make-up Assistant: Aya Tariq @ayaa.tariq

In Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine, each part of the national costumes have a sacred and often magical meaning to it. Shawls in particular have taken a special place in society and are still kept and worn by older generations. These headpieces are made from vintage shawls passed down to me by my grandmother who lived in a small Ukrainian village all her life. The 60-year-old pieces travelled with me all the way to New York City and had been given a second life by being transformed into wearable art objects. Inspired by the fast paced megapolis, these headpieces can change shape easily, symbolizing the flexibility and constantly changing energy of New York. Moreover, they still preserve the magic and spirit of the small Ukrainian village and the memories from my childhood. For me, this is the true task of fashion – with each season, providing a new perspective on something timeless.

Julia Morris (Stylist)

Dress by Videmus Omnia

Top by Hisaura

Dress by Hisaura

Top by Litkovskaya

SUMMER IN SWITZERLAND

Suit by Viktor & Rolf, Shoes by Dolce & Gabbana

Photographer: Fernando Gómez @fernandogomezphoto
Stylist: Roma Lansky @rljewel
Make-up: Rosa Matilla @rosamatilla for DIOR makeup
Hair: Rosa Matilla @rosamatilla for Mön ICON Team
Model: Anastasiia Matviienko @anastasiiamatviienko Women Management Milan

 Jacket and Vest by Ester Abner, Necklace by Chanel

Jacket by Ester Abner

Shirt and Skirt by Ira Kryuchkova, Vest by Saint Laurent, Shoes by Dolce & Gabbana, Earrings by Christian Lacroix

Shirt and Skirt by Ira Kryuchkova, Vest by Saint Laurent

Trench by Loewe, Boots by Guess

Dress by Alexander McQueen, Earrings by RL Jewel

Dress by Berta

Dress by Malina Fashion, Jewelry by RL Jewel

PRIVATE PLACE

Left pearl earring: Ana Khouri | Left gold ear cuff:  Jennifer Fisher | Right gold ear cuff: Ana Khouri | Pearl ring: Ana Khouri | Flower ring and necklace:  Versace | Lingerie:  Agent Provocateur

The line between IRL and online has quickly become indecipherable through our interaction with social media platforms. In our desperation for clout to garner an audience, clicks, likes, or hits as well as the all-too-real insecurity of fomo, we’ve become quick to expose ourselves (or a version of ourselves) online. Corporations, government agencies, and hackers all know us better than we know ourselves. Yet this disconcerting fact seems to render us unphased. We leave ourselves vulnerable and unarmed online. 

In the real life scenario of this, many are only comfortable exposing themselves if they work in a profession that requires publicity. Scopophilia in real life isn’t readily welcomed, especially when we aren’t aware of being watched. Private Place approaches this through the idea of fantasy, using the metaphor of exhibitionism and voyeurism as an illustrative contrast to this vulnerability. The exhibitionist’s strength is that they control just how much they choose to expose themselves to the voyeur, but their power is only as strong as the audience they are able to attract. Here the subject invites an audience to become her voyeur for the emotional release of strength, vulnerability, fear, and power. The idea of privacy invasion becomes inverted and something longed for, much like our attitude has become with online followers.

Photography: Dustin Mansyur @dmansyur | Model: Liz Harlan @f3mm3n1stn1ghtm4r3_ | Styling: Ella Cepeda @ella_cepeda | Beauty and Hair: Agata Helena @agatahelena | Set Design: Dustin Mansyur | Poem and Excerpt Summary: Dustin Mansyur | Digital Tech: Johnny Vicari @johnnyvicari | Video Editor: Ricardo Martinez Roa @ricardomartinezroa

Left pearl earring: Ana Khouri | Left gold ear cuff:  Jennifer Fisher | Right gold ear cuff: Ana Khouri | Pearl ring: Ana Khouri | Flower ring and necklace:  Versace | Lingerie:  Agent Provocateur

Jewelry by Laruicci | Suit by Missoni

Jacket: Erdem | Earrings: Laruicci

Corset: Graham Tyler | Pants: Alexander Wang | Jewelry: Versace | Bracelet: Jennifer Fisher | Shoes: Chloe Gosselin

Top and pants: Alexander Wang | Earrings: Jennifer Fisher

Top: Alexander Wang | Earrings: Jennifer Fisher

Blouse and bag: Versace | Lingerie:  Agent Provocateur | Glasses: Chris Habana | Earrings:  Jennifer Fisher | Shoes: Chloe Gosselin

Blouse and bag: Versace | Lingerie:  Agent Provocateur | Glasses: Chris Habana | Earrings:  Jennifer Fisher | Shoes: Chloe Gosselin

Top: Issey Miyake | Earring: Chris Habana

All Beauty looks created using Mac Cosmetics

AINA

Earrings: Iris Trends @eyeofiris | Dress: One Trieu Yeu @onetrieuyeu

Photographer/Director: Benjo Arwas @ Seen Artists | Styling: Maison Privee | | Model: Aina Faro @ MP Model Management | Hair and Makeup: Nicole Chew @ Art Department | Cinematography: Josh Hammaren

Earrings: Iris Trends @eyeofiris | Dress: One Trieu Yeu @onetrieuyeu

Jewelry: Iris Trends @eyeofiris

Left side: Jewelry: Iris Trends @eyeofiris | Dress: One Trieu Yeu @onetrieuyeu

Right side: Dress: Masaki Matsuka @masakimatsuka

Dress: One Trieu Yeu @onetrieuyeu | Earrings and Necklace: Iris Trends

Dress: Masaki Matsuka @masakimatsuka

Dress: One Trieu Yeu @onetrieuyeu | Earrings and Necklace: Iris Trends

Dress: Masaki Matsuka @masakimatsuka

 

CANDY PERFUME GIRL

Jacket by Michael Kors Collection | Earrings by G.Sherman Jewels | Feather Collar by BINCbodyBaubles
Fragrance: LOST CHERRY by Tom Ford

Photography: Katie Borrazzo (@katieborrazzo) | Model: Clare Crawford at IMG Models (@clareacrawford) | Styling: Kingsley Osuji (@kingsley_nyc) | Hair: Erin Taylor (@erintaylorhair) using Wella Stay Firm + Wella Stay Essentiel | Makeup: Megan Kelly (@megankellybeauty) using Mehron | Set Design: Karen DeMaio Weber (@kwyoyo) | Set Assistant: Jana Bergstedt (@janadoesthings)

Dress by Kalmanovich | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise | Socks Stylist’s Own | Shoes by Erdem

Dress by Alena Akhmadullina | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Jacket and Shirt by Gucci | Earrings and Ring by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise | Leggings by Alena Akhmadullina | Shoes by Clergerie Paris

Dress by Alena Akhmadullina | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise | Shoes by Marc Jacobs

Dresses, Earrings, Ring, and Shoes by Versace | Socks Stylist’s Own

Jacket and Dress by Tom Ford | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Dress by Erdem | Pink Cotton (worn as bow) by Erdem | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise | Bracelet by Marc Jacobs

Top, Bow Collar, Bracelet, Bow Belt, Pants, Socks, Shoes by Marc Jacobs | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Dress by Kalmanovich | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise

Dress and Pink Cotton (worn as bow) by Erdem | Earrings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise | Bracelet by Marc Jacobs | Socks and Shoes by Erdem