By Becca Nelson Sanky
Autumn Brockman has her fingers in every proverbial pie, but all have one thing in common: empowering women by helping them fulfill their dreams and look their best.
While studying to reacquire her real estate license, Brockman is also enjoying the fresh success of her new salon, ARock, located in the heart of Downtown San Angelo. She opened ARock Salon late last year, hot on the heels of launching her own line of lipsticks, ARock Cosmetics, something she knows a thing or two about as a makeup artist, stylist and longtime model.
But success isn’t anything new to Brockman, who moved to San Angelo from the tiny town of Vernon, Texas, at age 16. Fernando Deanda, a San Angelo photographer, discovered Brockman in 1999. (Deanda photographed Brockman for this magazine; Tiffany Chapoy of ARock Salon did her makeup). “I did my first photo shoot ever with Fernando,” Brockman said, adding, “I never knew I could photograph like that. I wasn’t self-confident.”
From 1999 to 2005, Brockman was hired for a number of promotional events and appearances at car shows. Her sultry, bombshell looks and curvaceous figure proved well suited for the edgy, sexy vibe of hot rod publications and men’s magazines. She appeared in Street Customs, Lowrider, Laid Low, Thunder Cycle, Spyder Streetz, Performance Auto and Sound, FHM, Maxim and Skinnie Magazine. She also modeled for bikini and lingerie calendars and a plethora of music videos.
In 2011, Brockman serendipitously landed her first major behind-the-scenes gig during a Las Vegas shoot for FHM, in which she appeared as centerfold. Brockman let it slip that she did makeup, so when the scheduled makeup artist didn’t show, she did her own – as well as that of five other models who were being photographed that day.
As doors continued to open for Brockman in the modeling industry, Playboy eventually came calling. Brockman declined the offer. “At the time it seemed like a lot of money, but it wasn’t worth my self-respect,” she said of posing nude, something she still refuses to do.
Brockman also turned down a role on the VH1 reality show, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels – a decision she doesn’t regret. “I don’t belong there,” she said of Hollywood. “I belong in a small city like San Angelo. I like it because it’s not mainstream; it’s not superficial.”
That Brockman works in an appearances-driven industry yet eschews the Mecca of fame is an irony that’s not lost on her. It is, however, evidence of her down-to-earth nature and earnest desire to help other women. The ARock slogan, “Inspiring Confidence in You,” is an apt description of Brockman’s end goal with her brand, but it also holds true of her hopes for the eight women who work at ARock Salon. “I wanted to help girls live their dreams,” Brockman said, “because I’ve gotten to live mine.”
ARock Salon is an innovative, one-stop shop for beauty services, including facials, makeup application, anti-aging treatments, micro-needling, chemical peels, eyelash tabbing, haircuts, eyebrow tinting, updos, hair extensions, waxing, hair coloring, perms, Juvederm fillers, Botox and more. The salon can also connect clients with professional videographers and photographers who specialize in weddings, engagement and family portraiture, head shots and everything in between.
Not quite open four months, ARock has been well received in San Angelo. “My reviews show it,” Brockman said. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback. I was very selective when I asked the girls to come to the salon.”
It’s a juggling act, but Brockman, who is a mother of four and a grandmother, is ready to add even more to the equation. She’s working on adding lip liners and mascara to her cosmetics line; wants to have “baby ARocks” throughout Texas; is putting together a San Angelo fashion show this summer; and has her sights set on another historic building as the location for an ARock health and wellness spa she’d like to open next year.
Somehow she finds time to work on renewing her real estate license. “I feel like with the access I have to the public, it would be an asset because I have such a huge clientele,” Brockman said. “I could help my clients be beautiful and help them find the house of their dreams.”
If the ARock brand were a fairy tale, Brockman would be the fairy godmother – albeit one who can do her own hair and makeup.