With his perpetually sun-kissed good looks, Oscar win as best actor for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and rave reviews for his HBO series “True Detective,” Matthew McConaughey’s latest role may be starring as Hollywood’s golden boy.
The 44-year-old actor, who lives in Austin, Texas, has also come a long way in the style department, evolving from roomy jackets and boot-cut jeans to sharply tailored Dolce & Gabbana suits. Since 2007, McConaughey has been the face of Dolce & Gabbana’s the One for Men fragrance and last year he made a foray into fashion with the launch of JKL (jklbrand.com), a men’s sportswear and swimwear line that shares a name with his Beverly Hills-based Just Keep Livin Foundation (jklivinfoundation.org), created in 2008 as a tribute to his late father.
Another part that McConaughey proudly plays is father to his three children with Camila Alves: 5-year-old son Levi, 4-year-old daughter Vida and 1-year-old son Livingston. We recently had the chance to chat with the actor (whose upcoming pictures include the sci-fi film “Interstellar,” movie sequel “Magic Mike XXL” and Gus Van Sant drama “Sea of Trees”) about fatherhood, fashion and fragrance.
In 2005, you said, “A man should smell like a man. I haven’t worn deodorant for 20 years.” Does that still hold true?
I do wear some deodorant and, at the right times, fragrance. Fragrance [often] makes a first impression; your scent can hit people’s noses even before they look you in the eye. It’s how they know you’re coming or “What is that that’s coming?” What I like about the One for Men is that it’s not so heavy that it covers your [natural] scent. The grapefruit and basil on the front end are nice and light, springlike and youthful, while the back end is more classically masculine.
Have you done a “fragrance journey,” associating scents with memories and places?
Absolutely! There’s a technique in acting called sense memory. My favorite one is [when I was] 8 years old on Getty Street in Uvalde, Texas — the smell of fresh-cut St. Augustine grass. It’s a thick-rooted grass that’s big in the South; no matter how hot it is outside, the roots are always very cool, even after mowing it. The days were so hot, and we were barefoot a lot. I also always like to have a really good Night Blooming Jasmine plant somewhere near the bedroom window at my house, because we open the windows a lot; that’s another of my favorite scents.
You always look dapper on the red carpet. Any manscaping or grooming tips?
I’m not a manscaper. No, no, no! Only for “Magic Mike.” I like to take care of myself, but I wouldn’t call myself overly metro. I’m not a big manicurer or anything. Kristan Serafino in New York does a great job with hair, and I work with L.A. makeup artist Felicity Bowring, who is introducing me to some new products. She turned me on to Mariana Chicet Day and Night Revitalizing Concentrate, a liquid collagen serum, and my face just sucks it up, especially at the end of the day. The easiest sunscreen for me is Kiehl’s [Facial Fuel SPF 15] for men. It’s super-light and has menthol in it, which is refreshing.
How would you say your style has evolved? Do you work with a stylist?
I probably enjoy wearing suits and tuxes more now, but I’ve had more times and places to wear them lately, you know what I mean? [Laughs] I worked with L.A. stylist Simon Robins for the 2014 awards season. I want to look classy, but I [also] want to throw something off just a little bit, whether it was the green velvet [Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo] I wore to the Golden Globes or the white and black [Dolce & Gabbana jacket, tuxedo pants and waistcoat] I wore to the Oscars. Nothing too busy. I don’t like to mix too many colors. I think people forget that your skin tone is the first color in your wardrobe; it’s your background and your primary color.
Tell us about your fashion line, JKL.
It’s lifestyle gear, everything from T-shirts that I author quotes and images for, to sportswear that is somewhat technical [performance fabrics]. We are going to be laying out more “Saturday wear,” so to speak…It’s what you’re most comfortable in, period. Flip-flops that I would rather wear than be barefoot, baggy cargo shorts with enough pockets because I carry things with me, loose-fitting shirts.
Any go-to brands in your off-time? What are you wearing now?
These are Dickies pants from “True Detective,” Dolce & Gabbana boots, and a plain white tee by JKL. My kids got me into fun socks; they got me to quit wearing white ones. They’re ahead of me. Their deal is that they also don’t wear the same two socks; they wear a different one on each foot. … It’s a good idea and it’s free.
How has being a father changed you?
A man’s a prince until he has kids, and then he’s a king. Everywhere I go, they’re not literally here, yet I’ve got them in my hip pocket. Everything I do leads back to them — how I take care of myself, how I handle myself, how I need to make sure that I stay healthy and literally alive, because they need me. That’s a great responsibility. I’m a shepherd to them. [And] a lot of times, I let them lead me, and you don’t know where that journey’s gonna go. Because we can go down a path that I’ve been down a thousand times, but for them, it’s the first time. When you think, “Yep, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. It’s ho-hum,” they remind you that everything can be brand-new. Things have grown. You’re looking at it from a different perspective, a different set of eyes. So that, in a sense, reminds me to stay young.
You get so much public attention; is it difficult to have private family time?
We spend a lot of time together, usually at home. We cook together. We play together. Now they understand that I can be in two places at once, that I can show up on a TV and be there and here, because they’ve come to the set and seen me do something live and then seen it played again on the monitor. That’s the magic trick of capturing time. It was very spooky to them at first.
Life lessons learned from your father?
Self-reliance. Self-respect. A work ethic. Respect women. Don’t lie. Don’t say “I can’t.” And have a great time. I miss him. He would have been hamming it up during this whole awards season.