Tyra Myricks is hip-hop royalty, and she’s here to make her mark on this earth. Serving as daughter to the legendary Jam Master Jay, it’s no secret that Tyra has been destined for greatness since birth. The young entrepreneur and creative leads by example, putting in the hard work necessary to make her dreams come true.
Describing herself as a “driven person,” Tyra states, “I don’t let things get in my way. A serial entrepreneur, very focused on my goals and aspirations, and helping other people achieve their goals and aspirations as well.”
In the fashion realm alone, Tyra served as Director of Design, Merchandising & Development for Drake’s OVO lifestyle brand, a coveted position for anyone in the entertainment industry. Beyond that, she is the co-founder of her own gym in downtown Los Angeles called The Method, serving as LA’s first black-owned fitness facility. She also plans to open her own pizza shop in the City of Angels, a collaborative effort with T’yanna Wallace (Biggie Smalls’ daughter) to bring the unmatched New York City foodie energy to LA.
Flaunt caught up with Tyra via Zoom to discuss her roots in New York, biggest influences, how she got into fashion, launching her own brand called WEALTH, moving cross country to work for Drake, opening a gym in downtown Los Angeles, bringing New York style pizza to Los Angeles, the meaning behind Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music, goals, and more!
How have you been holding up with everything?
Pretty good, can’t complain. Adjusting as usual, but part of life.
You stay focused, what are your goals and aspirations?
My main and ultimate goal is to help as many people as I can, and leave a legacy that’s standing when I’m no longer here.
Being the daughter of Jam Master Jay, was music ever in the play?
Here and there, but I realized that it wasn’t my path. Another thing was, I didn’t want to be compared to my dad. Fashion was never in the books, I actually went to college as a pre-med major. Right before I went to college, my mom made a statement after looking at my credit card bills like, “People will pay you to wear your name.” I said “That’s unheard of.” I started my fashion line when I was a senior in high school, and it picked up really quickly. I found a love and a passion for it, I said “this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
What does New York mean to you?
New York is a different ballgame. We’re more street-savvy, more street smart, so when people tried to play games or pull swindles, I was always 10 steps ahead of them. [laughs] New York is all about fashion. New York’s pretty fashion-forward, that’s why we have New York Fashion Week. Being around style and different elements, having that versatility… living in LA, I’d love to throw on a fur coat or be able to layer up. In New York, our weather allows you to have that versatility as well.
Biggest influences coming up?
There’s a lot of lowkey designers I like. I like the brand 99 Percentis. I like anybody that deconstructs garments. People who deconstruct garments and put it back together are super phenomenal. Turning a shirt into a hoodie and a crop top, people that see things for what they aren’t. Growing up, my biggest influences not even on a fashion tip: Lauryn Hill. Everything she stood for, the influences she got up, and Jay-Z. I had more musical influences than fashion influences because I wasn’t really into fashion. The most fashion I had growing up was playing with Bratz dolls. [laughs]
Who are your fashion icons then?
I love Kimora Lee Simmons because one, she’s a female. Two, she created a whole entire brand. They brought Baby Phat back recently, it was such a cultural influence. All of the urban brands growing up—Enyce Sean John, Baby Phat, Phat Farm—all of those brands to me were iconic because it was such a movement in urban culture. Giving us our own identity, not so much as adapting the identity of high fashion. We’re allowed to be ourselves in urban, but still have that twist. Also Dapper Dan because he’s the significant cross between urban and high fashion, the blueprint for it. I had Dapper Dan pieces growing up, he’s a super total fashion icon.
In 2009, you launched your own clothing line WEALTH. Significance in the name?
WEALTH had a more influential and substantial meaning than what we usually scratch at the surface. Wealth is not of monetary value, but of holding value, respect, and principles. When I launched the brand WEALTH, I had to pick a name that was ambiguous, but people could make their own context for it but could teach people at the same time about wealth. Starting with my old high school, I started going to schools and talking to the kids about things I may not have learned in high school, to let them get ahead of the game. When we speak about wealth, people need to know that one: money can come and go, but it doesn’t make you wealthy. What’s wealthy is your inner self or your soul, the practices and habits you have.
Was it difficult? What was the reality of starting your own brand?
It wasn’t difficult because I had a brand before everyone had a brand. The only hard part was I didn’t have the knowledge. [laughs] I didn’t study fashion. I did research online when dialup was still a thing, you couldn’t be on the phone and the internet at the same time. [laughs] So doing research online with limited resources and asking people who were into fashion what to do. Going from printing things out from the printer and ironing it on, learning about screen printing, heat pressing, and DTG, different methods that a lot of high fashion brands have. I had it pretty easy. In 2010 or 2011, Instagram came out. Before they were verifying people, it was easier to reach out to people, get your platform out there. There weren’t algorithms, there weren’t restrictions. I had an upper hand for sure.
How did you land the role as Director of Design, Merchandising & Development for Drake’s OVO?
I did Quentin Miller’s merch, he wasn’t super huge at the time. But I put my all into anything I do and that caught the attention of OVO. They offered me the position, I was living on the East Coast at the time. I said “hmm, I don’t know if I want to up and leave my family and move to LA,” even though I’d visited LA often. They contacted me again and upped the salary, I said “well, LA doesn’t sound too bad.” [laughs] I love it though, what we’re building. OVO as well as Drake are iconic, to be a part of that is phenomenal and amazing to me.
What are those conversations with Drake like?
Free game, honestly. [laughs] It’s always free game, and he’s really nice. A lot of people will fan out and see somebody for what their accomplishments are, but when I started working with OVO, I didn’t believe that Drake was that big. I said “He’s not that huge, it’s not a big deal. He’s a rapper, he’s dope.” The more and more I worked, I’ve literally seen his progression from 2017 to now, 2021. He’s one of [the biggest], if not the biggest rapper out right now. I love it. I love to be able to grow and be a part of that story because he’s already a legend. When we talk about 20 to 30 years, that’s going to be a crazy biopic or story to tell. He’s such an amazing, amazing person, a lovable and genuine person that’s down to help whenever.
Talk about co-founding your own gym in Los Angeles, The Method.
It’s funny, I don’t have a love for fitness at all, but I do have a love for people achieving their goals. A part of achieving your goals is being the best version of yourself you can be, feeling good about yourself. I’ve been in this state where “I don’t want to take pictures because I look too fat” or “I don’t want to do this because…” Everybody should have access to an environment where they’re able to work out without judgement, or be around people just like them.
It’s not a bunch of buffs in the gym that are judging you or eyeballing you, waiting for you to get off a machine so they can use it. We’re very class-driven, 1-on-1 driven. Even with the pandemic, having an outdoor turf has allowed us to be open. I like fitness. I won’t say I love it, but I love people being able to feel good about themselves and not be intimidated by the gym at all.
Who do you listen to when you workout?
When I workout, I like to listen to Drake, Meek Mill, anything fast-paced. Sometimes when I feel myself giving up, I’ll throw a little gospel on. There’s no range. If I feel like I have a goal: “okay my goal this week is to look good naked,” I’ll listen to love songs. It’s all about how my mind is and my mental at the moment.
How does New York pizza compare to LA?
There is no comparison, New York pizza is the total mecca. I started a pizza shop because I could not find good pizza in LA. Every time somebody sent me somewhere, “eh this is cool, but it’s not it.” Close, but no cigar. I started the pizza shop which should be opening soon because of the lack of good pizza in LA.
Favorite type of pizza?
I like the regular cheese slice, maybe a grandma slice. The purpose of the pizza shop I’m opening is to bring gourmet-type slices, slices you wouldn’t usually hear of to LA with a New York style.
Talk about raising funds for the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music as well.
The Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music is a foundation started by the Jam Master Jay estate, it allows kids to have music programs in schools. When schools and school districts have problems with budgets, the first thing they think to cut is music or gyms. When I was in school, we had flutes, we had violins. We had that opportunity to have that. A lot of kids don’t have that opportunity now, which I personally feel music is an expression. It can be a therapeutic outlet for children and cause behavioral cases to decline. It’s very important to my family and I that music programs are not the first thing to go when budgets are being cut in low-income areas or public school districts.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Travel, I love to travel. Eat out, which is one of my guilty pleasures. That’s it. Traveling and eating out are my top two things to do when I’m not working, which is very rare because I’m always working.
Goals yourself at this point of your career?
To be the best version of myself that I can be. Don’t compare myself to anybody else’s pace or anybody else’s speed. Knowing that I myself am doing the best I can do is my goals everyday: to be better or do better than yesterday.
What’re you most excited for this year with the world opening back up?
The opening of the pizza shop and possibly coming outside, having a little fun. [laughs] I’m really excited about the pizza shop. Fitness isn’t a passion of mine like fashion is, but food is definitely up there. I’m excited to bring New York style pizza to LA, have people try it and love it there.