Nationwide — Raquel Riley Thomas, a distinguished U.S. Army Captain Veteran, Entrepreneur, Pageant Queen, and Humanitarian, has evolved into a media and entertainment mogul, reshaping industries and inspiring positive change. With over 30 years of combined military and private sector experience, she has seamlessly transitioned from the battlefield to the boardroom, leaving an indelible mark on the Beauty, Fashion, Celebrity, Lifestyle, and Music industries.
Raquel is the founder of An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC (AOAGWLLC), a Veteran-owned media and entertainment company headquartered in Washington, DC, with satellites in GA, NY, LA. Since its inception in 2011, AOAGWLLC has earned acclaim, winning over 75 awards. Raquel, as a Publicist and owner of AOAGWLLC, has led her team to support clients in achieving over 700 appearances in print media, television, in-person, and radio/podcast appearances.
Military Service and Entrepreneurial Journey
Raquel’s journey began in 1990 as a decorated military Veteran, serving nine years in the U.S. Army as an Enlisted photojournalist and later as an Ordnance Officer. In 2002, she started her first business, Photography By Raquel, LLC, capturing actors, celebrities, and Jet magazine swimsuit centerfolds. Transitioning into the world of modeling, Raquel signed with Elite Model Management and later Ford Model NYC, showcasing her versatility in the industry.
The pivotal shift occurred in 2011 when Raquel founded AOAGWLLC, making history with over 75 awards and producing pageants at renowned venues such as the Kennedy Center. In 2020, she expanded her entrepreneurial footprint with the launch of Raquel Riley Thomas Beauty Line (RRTBeauty), a performance-based makeup brand.
Education and Community Involvement
Raquel’s commitment to excellence is reflected in her educational achievements, including a degree in Psychology from Hampton University and a certification from Harvard Business School in Mastery of Negotiations. Actively engaged in the community, she serves as an Advisory Board member of Operation Renewed Hope, Public Relations Chair on the Executive Board of Fashion Group International Atlanta (FGIATL), and is a member of Veterans of Foreign War and Veteran’s In Media.
Raquel’s accolades include induction into the Library of Congress, Army Commendation Medal (2x), Army Achievement Medal (3x), “Veteran of the Year” 2011 by Women Veteran’s Rock, and recognition as a “Leader of the Future” by Ebony Magazine, among many others.
Personal Life and Advocacy:
A native of Maryland, Raquel, alongside her husband, West Point graduate Ron Thomas, Esq, and their entrepreneurial daughters, Maria Raquel and Sophia J, exemplifies a commitment to family and community. In remembrance of her late mother, who took her own life by suicide, Raquel supports the American Federation of Suicide and initiated Queen V Day, pampering deserving Veterans.
She attributes her success to the skills honed during her military service, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, leadership, and adaptability. These attributes, cultivated on the battlefield, seamlessly transferred to the world of business, guiding AOAGWLLC towards success.
Recognizing the challenges Veterans face during transition, Raquel offers valuable advice for a seamless shift from the military to entrepreneurship. Leverage military skills, seek mentorship, understand cultural differences, translate military experience, invest in continuous learning, and proudly embrace military background.
Raquel stands as a pioneer in creating positive change, proving that even small steps can lead to meaningful impact. Her journey, marked by a profound shift in roles and responsibilities, serves as an inspiration for fellow Veterans seeking a new mission beyond the uniform.
For press inquiries and media interview requests, contact L. Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org