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Scent of a Man
Nadine Jolie | Photo: Eric Guillemain | April 2, 2013
Simon Baker, star of The Mentalist, takes on his most glamorous role yet: fragrance icon.
As the Golden Globe-, Emmy- and SAG-nominated star of the hit CBS drama The Mentalist, Simon Baker is no stranger to the red carpet. His dapper, leading-man style regularly lands him on “best dressed” lists all around the globe, to say nothing of the fashion karma he acquired with his sexy, scene-stealing turn in one of the most sartorial movies of all time, The Devil Wears Prada. Now, Baker puts his sultry good looks to work as the face of Givenchy’s new fragrance for men, Gentlemen Only, a cedar-, vetiver- and patchouli-laced homage to the classic Givenchy Gentlemen. Baker joins the ranks of other Givenchy brand ambassadors, including Justin Timberlake and Liv Tyler. “I’m not really taking over any reins,” he says. “This fragrance begins a new pillar.” We caught up with the down-to-earth star mere hours after he received that most coveted of Tinseltown accolades: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Congratulations! You’re the new face of Givenchy. Have you always been a fragrance wearer?
I haven’t been a big scent wearer, no. I’ve worn them over the years, things my wife bought, but no scents that really stood out. Scent or fragrance, which should we call it? [laughs] But I was excited and honored when Givenchy approached me.
Givenchy has such a rich history, so I wanted to honor that. I talked to my wife about it, talked to my female friends about it, had to get everybody’s opinion. The idea of etiquette, of elegance, of a refined sense of style coming back, it’s a good thing. You know, men have this reputation for being… dudes [laughs], so it’s nice.
Scent is a very personal thing. Is there a certain smell that triggers a memory for you?
Oh, definitely. Zinc—you know, the sunscreen smell? It reminds me of the beaches at home, surfing, my childhood. Eucalyptus takes me back, too. And, oh, frangipani!
You’re always so elegantly dressed, both on-screen and on the red carpet. Is style an important part of your day-to-day life?
I can be quite casual. I don’t think of myself as overly styled. I mean, these glasses [points to his 10-year-old Oliver Peoples]—the shine is all rubbed off! I’m waiting for this style to become uncool again. I’m fine with that.
On The Mentalist, you have a perfect American accent. Are fans who meet you in person surprised to discover you’re Australian?
Well, not really anymore. I think in the beginning they were, yes, but now they mostly know I’m Australian. In Australia, there’s tall poppy syndrome: chopping off the heads of people who get too big [for their britches]. Honestly, if I ever turn into one of those guys trying to make eye contact at the restaurant, like, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ just shoot me!
You just received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. How did that feel?
It was quite an honor! Although, honestly, sometimes I still feel like an imposter.