From the YMCA to Milan Fashion Week: Interview with Aaron Miller

Societal conformity is one thing that is constantly being challenged. It’s strange, isn’t it? We can be progressive as a collective when it comes to technology but not when it comes to an individual’s social behaviour and beliefs. Go on, you can admit it that there are some things you choose to do in life because it’s the ‘norm’, because everyone else is doing it, because being different isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Aaron Miller is signed to modelling agency AMCK and is changing the fashion game, not least by being one of the first models with dreadlocks paid to run the catwalk in Europe. His distinctive look and personality have caught the attention of some of fashion’s biggest names like Vivienne Westwood. During his modelling journey, Aaron made a life changing commitment to Buddhism and one of the ways he wanted to spread his message and positivity is through his music. Ruthless Magazine was able to catch up with the young influencer and ask him about his journey so far, how it began and what he plans for the future.

How did it all start?

I started modelling when I was 18. At that time I was homeless and living in the YMCA, it was a difficult time in my life and I wasn’t doing anything, refusing to work. My aunty said to me ‘Aaron, what are you doing with your life?’ and encouraged me to try modelling because she thought I could go far with it. So I tried it, approached every agency in London – but I was refused because I didn’t fit their standard image.  I had dreads and because of that they didn’t want to take me. If you’re mixed race you have to kind of have smooth hair and all that, that’s what their models look like.

Patrick at AMCK believed in me and said I could be one of the first dreadlock models to make money – and I was, I was the first ever dreadlock model to walk in Milan. I proved to the industry that you can be alternative

I’ve been modelling for five years now, and I turned Buddhist during that time and slowly I just started to feel mad bored with modelling. My ex-girlfriend’s dad was a producer and he was connected right to the top. I was interested in music, and he told me that it’s not about what you rap about – people like 21 Savage just go ‘nanananaana uh’, it doesn’t matter what you’re saying it’s all about the energy you’re making and you can make it if you market it correctly. I had a big Buddhist message and I wanted to show that through my rap. The next thing I know, I’m out in LA and Def Jam’s watching me – and this is all after just a couple of voice notes.

I believe my life is going so far right now because of my belief and my faith. You heard of law and attraction? That works, but you have to completely change the way you think because you’ve been taught by Babylon to think a certain way. They don’t want 7 billion powerful people achieving their dreams. My mission and my dream is to spread nam-myoho-renge-kyo (it’s a chant) but fundamentally I want to show people you can be young, my age, look cool but be highly spiritual at the same time and use the universe to achieve your dreams and let nothing stop you. That’s kind of me in a nutshell.

How do you divide your time between two demanding industries?

Time-wise I have all the time in the world because I don’t work. I wake up every morning and think ‘what do I wanna do today?’ It’s an amazing feeling. I don’t have to pay rent right now, I live with my mum, so that’s also part of the reason. I’m very realistic and mindful – if you need to work in Urban Outfitters then you got to do that but don’t ever stop chasing that dream. Plan B is to chase plan A, everything should always only be to achieve your dream.

What’s the biggest fashion show/campaign you’ve ever done?

Right now on Oxford street my face is on JD sports, that’s no doubt my biggest thing. It’s for supply and demand I’ve been the face for it seven seasons straight, globally which is pretty wavy. I did Julien Macdonald a couple of weeks ago which was huge for me and I was with the top supermodels which was just crazy. Another catwalk I got to do was Philip Plein in Milan and I was walking behind rapper Tyga as he was rapping and I was fucking drunk as fuck as he was walking, it was the live-est situation! Those are the three I am the proudest of, and I don’t even want to be a model no more, I want to achieve big things like Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger and I wanna do ASOS even.

You’re all about positive energy and stuff but does the modelling industry sometimes contradict that?

I think two years ago that would’ve been that case but now I don’t think it matters no more. People like Ian Connor for walking for Kanye West, dirty mother’s bruv dirt, disrespectful. People like Winnie Harlow is peng! Madness, she had the vitiligo and she has proven you can be alternative. People like me, just a guy from YMCA with dreads walking on top catwalks. It’s time now innit, there is a lot of models with dreadlocks who are only getting signed because they have dreads – people are bored of clone white models from select. Everyone values still, we’ve got albinos, people with one arm and dwarfs. I will NEVER tell someone they can’t model because what kind of ego is that for someone? Every single person can model, anyone it’s just about what the client wants. And I think people now see that the boundaries are changing and it’s about ordinary people. Life is about being ordinary, when I’m around these super model people they are so normal actually it is a joke how normal they are.

Get ready to be rejected enough, you have to have a heart of stone and people saying you’re not good enough – but if you know you are that’s all that matters.

How would you describe your style, fashion-wise or music-wise?

Music-wise I am spoken word, no doubt about that. I don’t like the word rap I think too many people have ruined what that is.

In terms of style, I just wear whatever the f I want. I just bought these massive tailored long trousers, they were baggy as anything and I just said I’m going to wear them and she said no they are like that so you can tailor them to your size and I said screw that I am just going to wear them like that.

There are certain things I like – military style, I like to wear green things, things that are ripped. I just like to look ordinary. A Gucci sweatshirt and a regular one is the SAME thing why are you gassing yourself? And I love two brands: Ordinary, they really push that message that everyone is the same; and another brand called Headless which I’ve done campaigns for. Other than that, most of my clothes are from thrift shops, I don’t really buy clothes because most of the stuff I wear is just what brands wanted to give me, so I kind of feel a little manipulated with what I can wear because it’s just what I have. I’ve only just started to get some serious money recently where I can go out and buy shit. I want to start dressing smarter because being the face of JD I don’t want people to think I am a road youth.

Any brands you wouldn’t want to wear?

Burberry I wouldn’t want to wear. Timberland, I gave mine away to a charity shop – they are a highly racist brand. The tree was specifically designed as the tree they used to lynch black people on and you can go back to history and discover this. I would never buy fur but I’m just a simple brother, it’s just whatever I like I’ll wear.

Are you more passionate about modelling or music?

Music 100%, I don’t even think I’m that good but I just know that’s where my energy is supposed to be. The world will change because of voice, as a decipher of the Buddha we are told to use our voice to carry on talking for the Buddha, it’s the only way. In this industry they try to shut me up, man I am big conspiracy theorist, I believe that the world is run by one family and I believe in illuminati and all this. So they try to slow you down and stop you from talking but I just say whatever I want. The worst thing is they are hiring me even more now it’s madness.

Have you gotten in trouble?

My agent has told me to be careful, I’ve never gotten into trouble but I’ve lost friends and lost clients like suppose someone can love me all day and then I can go you know Jesus was black right? And they just look at me a certain way and the next thing you know I’m not hired again, so I know in my heart the issue.

You’re part of SGI, tell us about journey?

I’ve always been quite spiritual, I’ve called myself the indigo child for the last 7 years, which is an ordinary person who is becoming enlightened. I am not saying I am enlightened but I am becoming, we are all becoming enlightened.

So about two and a half years ago I was breaking up with my girlfriend at the time and I met this woman who told me there is a chant you can do it’s called nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Long story short, the second I started chanting I knew I had done it in many lifetimes, suddenly I realized that I had many life times it’s energy never dies. It’s like I had mushroom or something, I started sweating and I knew that this was something powerful and ever since that day I’ve never stopped chanting.

By the way chanting is an external prayer, so I am praying in my head whilst doing sound vibration. Most people don’t understand it but they believe that wifi will come through this phone and go somewhere else, but we can do this more powerful than a phone. My body is a million times more powerful than a phone, people don’t understand. It’s like ‘ommmmm’ – so om is the primordial sound of the universe, and NASA discovered that. So when we chant that it changes us on a vibrational level but when we chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo it’s a million times more powerful.

I am a Nichiren Diashonin Buddhist. People don’t realize that there is different schools of Buddhism just like Christianity. We wear normal clothes, we are completely aware that it’s all about humans and not about priests. Why does a priest get to talk to god before me? It’s all about power and I don’t understand that. Nichiren Diashonin was a monk from 700 years ago that took Shakyamuni and finished all of his teachings and spread it. I don’t want to be a religious rapper, don’t get me wrong, I want people to just listen to my music however they want – Intoxicated, not intoxicated, whatever – but have you heard that song “smack my bitch up?” Imagine it just said “change your life cuz”. It’s the same vibe but the message is not demeaning to women and it’s not violent.

I was the first Buddhist in my family, my mom is a clairvoyant and she just doesn’t want to label herself as anything and my brother just lives in the streets with his hood up but I love him and he is going to be very strong. And now my mom chants everyday with me. I got famous people chanting and I tell them to just try it, I am trying to create a tidal wave of spiritual people in this media industry and give the power back to the people.

Did you think social media helped you?

I think it’s very relevant, I have got a tiny number of followers, not even 10K, but even if 100 people listen to me when I do something on Instagram that’s fine. I really hate social media, my girl as soon as her alarm goes off she looks at her notifications and I hate that shit it destroys your mind, you don’t know what you’re doing. Instagram has algorithms and shit that are controlling what you see and I don’t like it. But people remember from Instagram I used to go on rants just being like f the system and I want to do that again but I need to do it smarter. I hate the word social media, but I just feel like I need to go on and talk more and even if one person is listening to me talking about Buddhism that to me is amazing. The Buddha said one to one dialogue will change the world, you have to change your neighbour’s life or your best friend’s life, and that’s what the grass movement is all about.

On veganism.

 “If slaughter houses had glass walls then no one would ever eat in them”- Paul McCartney.

anyone that says you can love animals and eat them, I understand where they are coming from because Ethiopians love animals but they kill that cow, and it’s a slow beautiful procedure where they chant over it and that make everything from that cow to the skin. It’s a lifecycle but bruv not one person in the UK has had meat that has not come from a factory, it might say organic and all this shit but it is a disrespectful lie. You go and sit on an organic farm with a chain around your neck and tell me if it’s blissful and especially because the world is about to explode on itself and it’s all because of factory farming; it’s two things: methane gas and factory farming and these two things are destroying the planet. So when you become spiritual you start to realize how much of a responsibility it is, that’s why we are born not be selfish but to change this energy but you slowly start to step away from that.

I’m a pescatarian it’s because of how slow I want to take it, don’t ever get gassed. But I will be a vegan one day, I’ll be a raw vegan, won’t even cook anything. We are old souls the older generation it’s so difficult to teach this to. But I’m not going to lie I love cheese so much, I love halloumi it’s so hard man!

Nowadays everything is becoming more vegan-friendly and people are learning more about it but do you think that’s genuine?

There is a fad going on right now, which is spirituality and veganism. There are a lot of girls who go to topshop and go and buy a Hamsa hand and think they know everything about eastern philosophy. I think it’s good and it’s necessary for awareness but it’s for the people who want to take it deep and want to change for the right reasons. Now there are like huge vegan and vegetarian adverts for McDonalds now which is mad but they are not doing it because they care about us, they are doing it because they want to sell us and we should take advantage of that wave. I know so many girls that have the Buddha on them and I go what’s his name? and they don’t know the name but they got it tattooed on them? And I think for that reason if so many people are getting tattooed then I am going to take advantage of that and teach people whilst it’s relevant.

What are your top 5 future aims and goals by the time you’re 30?

  1. I represent a new style of music where I am king of that shit fully UK or London based at least and before I go on stage all my crew and family can chant together
  2. To have a son or daughter, someone who by birth can be a vegan and I can teach them
  3. Prove to the world that you can start from the bottom not from luck but from faith and become a leader
  4. I’d like to see a major change in the power system in the world and I think that will come from ordinary people stepping up into the light and that happened after Grenfell
  5. To see my mum through the faith I have found to become healthy through spirituality and not through western Babylon force medicine and all that stuff.

Check out Aaron’s latest project


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