So Ambitious: Tara Razavi
You could say Tara is a class act. That is, if rap videos are the curriculum.
Founding production company Happy Place in 2008--after years of whimsical trial-and-error jobs at record labels, in television and in film--the Persian first-gen American carved out a niche that has afforded her the opportunity to work with the biz’s top-tier clientele. Her hip-hop heavy résumé boasts work with award-winning pop star Jennifer Lopez ("On The Floor"), rap hitmaker Rick Ross, street politician Young Jeezy and, most recently, soul’s native son Frank Ocean ("Pyramids") and crowned R&B king Usher (“Dive In”). She speaks highly of the Ocean’s counterparts, as well, doting specifically on Odd Future frontman Tyler the Creator’s heightened sense of creativity: “They’re amazing. I can’t say enough good things about them. Tyler is a genius in his own right in so many ways. The amount of comfort and confident he has. He can walk in a room with President Obama, dap him up and say whatever comes to his mind.”
How exactly did the "Pyramids"-producer get familiar with the right side of the velvet rope? By keeping cool on the party scene. The Sagittarius-born beauty ditched the rigid law school route--to the chagrin of her Iranian folks--and became a full-time student of the music industry. Though it's easy to overdose on the fast life, she zeroed in on the blueprint of success. “People were in my ear like, ‘You need to network, you need to go to parties,’ but for me, it was all about the work.”
Trust, while she was buried under the rules and regulations of her business-minded mentors, she was double majoring in fashion, finding joy in effortless, high end style.
Albeit having to flex her bark and a little bite from time to time, it’s clear this leading lady has found her rightful happy place. —Niki McGloster
VIXEN: How did you get to the place where you wanted to start your own business?
TARA RAZAVI: On some level, I always knew that I was going to have my own company. If you asked me my goals when I was a kid, it was never simple. I either wanted to win a gold medal in the Olympics for swimming or be the first woman president; I wanted to be the first female president until like high school. I always had some huge, huge, huge goal in mind. When I was working for companies, I realized that I had my own way of doing things. I can’t keep complaining about the other way people do stuff, I got to just start it on my own company, take my own responsibilities and everything that comes with it, but with that I get to make my own rules.
You know the stigma of being a female boss. Do you ever feel like you’re being “bitchy” while you’re working?
To be honest, I’ve always been so focused on my career in a way that it’s almost been blinding. In the beginning, I really didn’t even know I was a bitch. Until some years into it, my friends and closer clients would make fun of how people are scared of me, then that’s where I took notice. I went through phases where I’d be a little nicer, but at some point you just realize it’s not about bitch, it’s just about the work. If you take me as being a bitch, that’s on you
You partnered with a slew of women on projects. Which female artist or model have you seen work the hardest?
The obvious answer is Jennifer Lopez. She was involved in every meeting we had, she was involved in every conversation, she was on set on time, very professional, and it was her first video she had done in a while. Our call time was at 6 in the morning or something and her first take was one of the best takes of the day. That was a moment when I was like, This is where you see professionalism at its greatest. To be a woman in this industry and to attain some kind of notoriety, you can’t just be lazy about it. Somehow some way, whether you work really hard or whether you’re quote-unquote “bitchy” about it, I think that they’re all really hardworking. Sometimes as a woman, unfortunately, people don’t want to necessarily give you your credit. They don’t understand: why is she there or how is she there? They’re looking for some other type of reason other than that she works hard. You have to work so much harder so that they can’t find another reason. You have to be that way as a female so that you really don’t get questioned and you can just focus on your work.
Do you remember a time when you were kind of like, ‘I don’t have to prove myself. My work speaks for itself’?
In the beginning when I would find myself in meetings or calls, I would suggest things and people wouldn’t pay it that much attention, then someone else would suggest it and they’d say that’s a great idea. It was almost comedic at times. That part, I’m not going to lie, was a little frustrating for me.
As a moving and shaking businesswoman, what’s your style on a daily basis?
I used to be on set all day in heels. That’s just a personal thing. I don’t really think you need to wear it to prove anything; I love high fashion.
I like Gucci ‘cause they’re classic. I love Alexander McQueen because of they straddle the fence pretty well. I like Versace, but sometimes I think they push it a little too much for my taste. But for real, I have a pair of Aldo heels and every time I wear them people are like, ‘Oh my God, where did you get those?’ It really doesn’t matter what color the bottom of your heel is. It depends on the heel itself, and the look and the color.
Your lifestyle is constantly on-the-go, so how long does it take for you to get ready?
I don’t spend that long getting ready, but I’ll spend 30 minutes just looking through an outfit honestly. I never like to pick out an outfit the day before; I want to wake up in the morning and see how I feel that day. I just walk in my closet with my array of clothes, stare and just decide.
So super effortless?
Yeah, it’s almost like meditative to me. People wake up and do yoga; I wake up and look at clothes.