Hold your horses. Who is this guy, exactly? For the uninitiated and/or those who retire alone at 9:45 partly because they have jobs, Roman Jones isn’t just a fictional Google-results caricature of “miami club owner”, he’s the actual owner of Mokaï, Mandrake, Kiki on the River, El Santo, and a coming concept in the former Tarpon Bend space. Undoubtedly one of the most prolific nightlife hospitality mavens in town, the man just doesn’t quit with over-the-top concepts where people can’t help to flock.
But something’s happened in the past 18 months on his Instagram, where Jones very apparently went from a blank canvas of fairly tanned skin to his torso becoming a tattooed wonderland. We’d cue the John Mayer tune, but that would be borderline blasphemous to Jones’ bona fide rock spawn mantle, for his father is Mick Jones, the guitarist and songwriter of 70’s & 80’s behemoth Foreigner. That band moved over 80 million albums fueled by cranked-up radio staples like Urgent, Cold As Ice, Feels Like The First Time, Juke Box Hero, Waiting On A Girl Like You, Hot Blooded, Dirty White Boy and countless other anthems.
So MiMi had no other choice but to ask exactly why the magnificently bearded, perpetually-sunglassed Roman Jones tattooed himself to hell and back, and the meanings behind the ink. Behold our guided tour of Roman Jones’s body.
Where shall we start? Your head or your toes?
My head. I didn’t get a pedicure this week.
Your beard is beautiful, thick, lustrous and black. How big is the team of people who manage it? And who in your hereditary lineage made it possible?
Well, Rich the barber was with me for over a decade, but then I discovered this guy named Bryson Tiller, and now I use Kiko. And yes, it’s a mission. We spend an hour every other day keeping a skin fade, and keeping that beard looking like Leonidas in 300. Regarding the lineage, my French grandfather had Greek roots, so maybe that’s it.
It seems like a year and a half ago, you had a couple of tattoos. Why the tsunami of ink now?
I was just at a point in my life where I knew that I didn’t have to impress anyone. I had made an incredible comeback personally and with my businesses, and it began with the first of the new tattoos being my grandmother’s signature.
OK, it’s time. Take us on a tour of your body. The whats and whys behind each artwork.
So most of it has to do with my childhood memories or places that mean something to me, whether it’s the little prince with my beard and sunglasses dreaming, “I wanna be Roman Jones when I grow up”, or portraits of my great grandfather, who was a boxer in the Royal Marines. On one side is my ode to England, with album covers of The Clash and Sex Pistols God Save The Queen, again with my sunglasses drawn on. I have countless Foreigner song lyrics as an ode to my dad, including my dad’s guitar pick. One the other arm, I have more French-related ink, like Napoleon with my face drawn on. I have King Kong in my sunglasses swatting away the planes, like me swatting away the haters. Then other art like me as the pharaoh King Tut because I was obsessed with Egyptology growing up. There’s the number 305 in “Roman” numerals. The Yankees logo because I went to high school in New York. Hello Kitty because my first girlfriend always had Hello Kitty erasers that smelled like candy and I secretly wanted one. Also I have many pirate references because all my family in England were sailors. And then there’s silly stuff, like the word wanker on my right hand because, well, that’s the hand I use, LOL. Then there’s the Evolution of Roman which is the evolution of man, with myself at the end in my signature pink Uggs. I have the House Targaryen coat of arms and the House Stark coat of arms on opposite sides. And then more rock stuff like rock royalty in the Metallica font, and the album cover for Appetite for Destruction by Guns n Roses. The tattoos PAX ROMANA and the Roman Eagle signify prosperity in my world. The tattoo that says Real Hasta la Muerte was done because Anuel AA came to visit me at the tattoo shop when I was coming up with the next idea; plus those are words I live by. I also have the name tag of my best friend Dr. David Farcy, who runs the ER at Mt. Sinai replicated on my chest. I have the word balsero because of my love for Cuban culture, and as a nod to the fact that we’re all foreigners or immigrants to this country. I have the word savage written in the Instagram font but in Spanish as salvaje because … sometimes I can be one. And last but not least, there’s the epic Roman Jones drawn in old English on my shoulders, because no one else has my back or rather – let me rephrase that – you shouldn’t turn your back on anyone.
Let’s talk personal style. Where do you buy your rings and jewelry? What are you favorite sunglass brands?
Honestly, I just have two AP pounders because they weigh a pound of gold. One is iced-out and the other is all gold. I have Anuel AA’s old chain that our jeweler, Tito, at One of One Timepieces repurposed for me, including putting my face logo on the clasp. The rings are Ali Express, because I give them away to friends, clients and people I work with – mostly security who have my back. My assistant gets my sunglasses at the swap shop, because I think at this point half the girls in Miami have a pair!
Where did you get your tattoos done?
You’re frequently shirtless, but are there any tattoos hiding in your pants? Like, ”If you’re reading this, you probably want a Sunday table at KiKi on the River” message?
Obviously, sometimes when I’m getting rowdy with friends at Kiki or Mokaï, I’ll go shirtless. But generally, I either wear deep V’s or vests and I’m sleeveless underneath. Nothing hidden in my pants other than Whitesnake.
Hope the horse has retired from her nightclub days and is now peacefully retired as a therapy mare for children. Since you bought her, do you personally groom her?
It was a wonderful circumstance that my head VIP waitress is French and a horse enthusiast, so we were comfortable with adopting Hope. She’s with Hope three times a week grooming and taking care of her. I just pay the bills, but it was the right thing to do.