Born and raised in Los Angeles, Fred Scarf is every bit as sunny and cinematic as his origin. Named after his grandfather, a theoretical space physicist who discovered lightning on Venus, Scarf has big shoes to fill. With a childhood spent waiting the whole year for it to be Halloween, he grew up understanding delayed gratification and the meaning of creative expression, even if it's only for one night. In high school, Scarf started a nonprofit for teens with cancer who may not live long enough to attend their own proms. Scarf graduated salutatorian and got scholarships to the University of California, Berkeley, then transferred to Cornell, and then transferred back to Berkeley to make apps. During college, Scarf wrote for the Wall Street Journal classroom edition, made apps, and danced in San Francisco. Scarf graduated with a degree in politics and technology in 2014. After graduating, he moved to L.A. to join Silicon Beach (the Los Angeles tech scene). It was there he fell into modeling and started training at world renowned dance studios. Scarf moved up to San Francisco and started dancing at clubs. During the pandemic, Scarf started transitioning from modeling to music and his skin care company (Stop Guessing Skincare) to a skincare app (Stop Guessing App)
The Advocate: Are you in a relationship?
Fred Scarf: I’m single.
Share a fun fact!
I have a part time job as a phone sex operator. My most popular character is a straight man. (Insert ironic wink emoji here.)
Why transition from modeling to music?
It felt like the natural next step. I’ve been modeling and dancing for a long time, and then COVID happened and I had to think about how I can stay creative and what my life will be like after the pandemic. Will I still get modeling gigs? Will I still get dance gigs? So I started developing my voice and learned to write songs, which has been very fun.
Why transition from skincare company to skincare app?
I’ll be honest, it was actually an app idea all along, I just had to create the skincare company first. As a model I had to Stop Guessing. Modeling all around the globe gave me the chance to meet formulators from all around the world. So I found the best ingredients and created Stop Guessing products, which believes that great skin doesn’t happen by chance, but by superior ingredients. I’m actually an app developer, too. I’ve made 6 or 7 apps (I’ve lost count). So my idea is to make your skincare as smart as your smartphone by creating an app that uses artificial intelligence to figure out what skincare ingredients you need and sends you that. That’s why the app is called Stop Guessing!
Does your work as an entrepreneur affect your work as an artist? And vice versa as well?
When I first started modeling, I really tried to keep the two worlds separate. It was as if I thought that if people knew I modeled and danced, they would take me less seriously as a professional. I came to realize that keeping them separate is to deny the inevitable connectivity that exists between the two. As an artist I think through everything I create and am very methodical. As an app developer you need to think through everything before you start creating, too – so the crossover there is undeniable. Also, I feel that my art gives me access to industry insiders, which helps me create better products for stop guessing customers.
What are your strengths/weaknesses as an artist?
My weaknesses would be my voice. I don’t have the best voice so I use autotune and have backup vocals to add power. My strengths would be keeping my eye on the ball. The goal is to create a great piece of art (song, aesthetic, music video, etc). And in order to do that, the best idea needs to win. If a producer, director, choreographer, or sound engineer has a better idea than me, I need to be honest about it and go with their idea instead of mine.
My other strength is my ability to tell a story and load my music with “easter eggs.” Easter eggs often inspire an “awe” feeling. So I choose album covers, write lyrics, create melodies/hooks/instrumentals that will inspire the “awe” feeling.
How do you create a song?
I start with the album cover, then song title, then the song. I find an instagram photo that has already been successful, then I look for song titles that match the picture I chose. Right now I’m pulling from romance novels (LOL). And then I write the song.
Any songs coming out soon?
I’m working on one called, “Love on the Range”
What should we notice about your music?
My music is going to start sounding more fluid and velvety.