Typically, Times Square isn’t known for being a quiet place. But on this sunny Wednesday morning, the half-block Michael Strahan walks on the street between the Good Morning America studio and the AKA Times Square hotel for our photo shoot is particularly bustling with fans.
The 50-year-old is, of course, recognizable. Between his morning gig, hosting ABC’s The $100,000 Pyramid, and commentating the pregame on FOX NFL Sunday, it’s hard to miss the smile when you turn on the T.V.—and even less hard to miss all 6’ 4” of his charismatic spirit in the flesh.
For some New Yorkers, he’s also one of the big factors behind bringing home a Super Bowl win via the Giants, a team he stayed with for his full 15-year pro football career. Then there are several clothing lines, sold everywhere from Men’s Wearhouse to QVC, and, this September, there’s skin care—in the form of Michael Strahan Daily Defense, a five-piece collection that he describes as less of another celebrity launch and more of “a natural extension” of what he’s always done.
And what he does is pretty amazing to watch: His team—many of them work for SMAC Entertainment, a company he cofounded—is a well-oiled machine (even in the short period of time I spent with them, I noticed Strahan referred to projects he had for the week with a “we,” never an “I”), dealing with a super busy schedule that would put even the super busiest of schedules to shame. One member keeps in touch with us to let us know when he’ll be on-set, one member helps set up the styling, one member helps arrange the skin care, and one member goes over his script for his next Zoom appearance later in the day.
A little more than an hour later (mixed in with several outfit changes, setups and a video interview), the shoot is successfully in the bag and Strahan is out the door and on his way to the next calendar item of the day.
It’s not even noon.
“You gave me the strength of meeting the drama of the day that’s left,” he says with that smile as he takes the elevator back down to the busy sidewalk. “I have a great group…you have a great group. Life’s too short to be angry at work. That’s a big part of what makes it all work.”
Why skin care and why now?
“I didn’t spend my life saying, ‘Yeah, I’m going to make some skin care.’ It really just happened organically—like most of my entrepreneurial endeavors and lifestyle brand categories. But it’s always been something I was into. I’ve always made sure I’ve taken care of myself and my skin to have a natural extension of I guess the life that I live—there’s a lot of makeup and grime and dirt from the city and all those things. When we started our suit line, it was because every day I’m wearing a suit and it was kind of a natural extension of my lifestyle. This is the same. It’s about confidence and taking care of your skin. One of the main motivations behind the skin care is about creating confidence. It’s about confidence in a routine and skin is another layer of confidence that I wanted to tackle.”
I’m all about confidence: Whether it’s wearing a nice suit or applying some skin care.
What do you think fans will appreciate about the line the most?
“I think the technology. [Strahan worked in conjunction with Evolved by Nature, a biotech company with a proprietary Activated Silk ingredient, to develop the line.] It’s the kind of technology that they are using in the high-end products like Chanel! We’re able to put it in our products at a price point that makes it great for our consumer, and I think they will appreciate it because it’s simple. It’s so simple. It’s a routine. Basically, it’s all laid out there for you and they’re effective. It will not take a lot of time, and it will not be a lot of steps, but it will still get you being able to take care of yourself.”
You clearly have a very busy schedule. How do you stick to a routine?
“I’m pretty good about a routine. When I started using my line, it really was just a few minutes added. Skin care, for me, is the same as taking a shower and the same has washing my hair—except you have something that says ‘face wash.’ I’m in the shower. I use my face wash to wash my face. When I get out of the shower, I put on the moisturizer, I put on lotion, I put on the beard oil. I don’t even think about it, to be honest with you. I think that’s what we went for the most; I didn’t want to make it hard. I didn’t want to make it, ‘Well, you got to do this, you got to do that. You got to wait 30 minutes with this on your face.’ No, wash your face, moisturize your face, condition your beard and get on with your day.”
Fall has to be even crazier with football….
One of my main motivations behind making skin care is about creating confidence.
“It’s another thing for me to dive into, so I can’t complain. I know a lot of people looking for extra work, so I can’t complain that I get to fly to LA every weekend to do something I love. I absolutely love the game. I love the guys that I work with—they’re my brothers. We have so much fun together and we get to have a little reunion starting every September. I’m really excited for the season.”
Do you do anything for self-care to unwind after a busy day?
“Yes! First of all, I’m a big lover of wellness and all that stuff. I do everything. I do massages. I do acupuncture. I do Pilates. I do yoga. I need to get better about meditation, but I am trying. That’s the one thing I want to get into because I haven’t quite had the opportunity to slow my mind down and I know that would really help me. I’m a big believer in taking care of yourself. I’ve tried to do it like a ‘pro football player’—when I played, we never just woke up and said, ‘Okay, let’s see what today brings.’ You always have a plan. Because your body is your job. In a lot of ways, my skin and my appearance and presentation of my appearance are all parts of my job now.”
What about the start of the day. Do you have any on-set rituals that help you get in the head space to go on camera?
I’m pretty simple. I like driving my car, I like playing golf, I like cooking.
“You know what’s funny, when I’m in my dressing room and I’m sitting there, the second I turn on that light, it’s go time! My hair and makeup team knows not to touch the light! They let me flip the switch and that officially means, ‘All right, it’s time to work.’ Once that bright light is shining in my face, it’s time. I also like the routine of walking in the doors to say hello to everybody and good morning to everybody. It’s gets me in the right mood for work. I try to always roll with the right attitude and the right energy.”
Is there anything you do in your free time? Is there free time?
“I’m pretty simple. I love playing golf. I love driving my car. When I have a lot of free time, I love cooking. I love hanging out with family and friends. I’m a pretty simple guy who has a lot to do, and when it’s time to go, there we go.”
Photographer: John Russo; Location: AKA Times Square; Groomer: Alyssa Shackil; Stylist: Ali Becker; Clothing: Michael Strahan; Shoes: Magnanni