In the first 15 minutes at the official after-party of the 2016 ESPYS, I shook Richard Sherman’s hand, met former Lakers’ player/coach Byron Scott and told him he got a raw deal after his recent firing, and got a selfie with former Detroit Pistons “bad boy” John Salley. The Spider’s body was made for selfies:
Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa is more than a pretty face with a a tightly toned torso and a voice like butter. At one point, he was a actually a real dude, just like you.
After running track in high school, Mustafa decided to try football and ultimately walked-on at Arizona State University as a wide receiver. He played in the 1997 Rose Bowl and caught passes from quarterback Jake “The Snake” Plummer.
Post graduation in 1997, Mustafa played on the practice squads for the Tennessee Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and even played a season in NFL Europe for the Barcelona Dragons.
After football and prior to landing the “Old Spice Guy” gig, Mustafa owned and operated a restaurant in L.A., won $47,000 on game show The Weakest Link and landed acting roles for shows on NBC, ABC, USA Network and The CW.
We spoke to Isaiah just prior to the kickoff of Old Spice’s year-long partnership with Tough Mudder at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, where he and thousands of athletes took on a grueling 10-plus mile obstacle course.
This week, for the first time ever, Old Spice Guys Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa joined forces at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood to celebrate their popular “Make A Smellmitment” campaign and the upcoming grand finale commercial, which debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN “SportsCenter.”
We spoke to Terry and Isaiah about getting over fears of smellmitment, picking up hot babes and their journey to Old Spice pitchmen.
Bullz-Eye: Terry and Isaiah, I feel like I am in an Old Spice sandwich!
Isaiah Mustafa: Is that good or bad?
BE: We’ll see! So far, so good though. Are you guys sitting there with your shirts off right now? Because every time I see you on TV, you are both shirtless.
Isaiah: No, not this time.
Terry Crews: I am completely shirtless underneath my clothes right now!
BE: Guys, I have a confession for you – I’ve always been a little bit afraid of ‘Smellmitment.’ I can barely even say the word. Why should I re-evaluate my stance courtesy of Old Spice at this point in my life? I’ve been burned in the past.
Isaiah: Listen, you don’t want to do the same thing forever – you want to change it up every now and then. Right now, you have three different scents to choose from. It’s actually more than that, but right now we’re pushing these three. You know what you need to do? Go buy each one and switch it up. One week you do Bearglove, one week you do Timber, and the next week try Swagger and see what happens.
Terry: You have to examine the repercussions when you change it up. If good things happen, you made the right move.
Isaiah: You’re only as good as your last mistake, know what I mean? Make a smellmitment, man!
BE: I need some insight on how to score with hot babes. I know Old Spice is a key ingredient in that mixture, but from the vantage point of a couple of studs like you guys, what’s the number one thing I have to do?
Isaiah: Tell the truth.
Terry: I like to take a different approach. A lot of times, those other guys will tell you their scent will get you a bunch of girls and I ain’t gonna lie to you – if you’re not a good man, and you’re not a good person, you’re not gonna get anybody.
What you need to do is work on yourself. To be the best “you” that you can be. There is only one you. And that will attract the right woman to you. It’s not about tricking women into sleeping with me or being with me and all this stuff. It’s about being a good man, respecting women, respecting the people that are around you and treating everyone with respect. That’s the Old Spice way. That’s the difference that we do. And that comes through in the advertising. It’s an amazing company to work with.
BE: What was the journey for each of you guys to end up working for Old Spice?
Isaiah: For me, I just went to an audition. I got an email, went to the audition, and then sat back and hoped I got the job. And when it happened, I was just hoping the commercial would run a full cycle of 22 weeks. And six years later, here I am!
Terry: I remember watching “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and I thought it was the best commercial ever made. That’s not even hyperbole, that’s the truth. Then, I was in the middle of something and got a call about doing an Old Spice commercial. And I was like, ‘YES, those are great, I saw that!’ And they said, they were looking for a ‘Terry Crews type.’ Because they were scared to ask me, because it was so weird.
“Charlie’s Angels,” ABC’s 2011 take on the classic chicks-kicking-ass concept, hasn’t exactly been setting the ratings on fire during its first few weeks on the air, but that’s not for lack of extremely dedicated actresses in the show’s cast. Take, for instance, Annie Ilonzeh, who plays Kate Prince on the series. Bullz-Eye had the chance to chat with the “General Hospital” alumnus just as “Angels” was about to take flight, and her enthusiasm and excitement about the series and her role proved decidedly infectious.
Bullz-Eye: So have you just finished a long day of filming?
Annie Ilonzeh: Yes, I have! So I’m sorry that I’m a little late calling.
BE: That’s quite all right. You have a good excuse, so you’re fine.
AI: (Laughs) Literally, it was perfect timing. I’m really surprised that it worked out. But after looking at the schedule, I figured, “Okay, we’re not going to be working ‘til 10 or 11 tonight.”
BE: Well, I’m glad you were able to finish in time to talk. I was at the TCA tour when you did the panel for “Charlie’s Angels,” but you all rushed off immediately afterward, so you weren’t around to chat at the party that night.
AI: Yeah, they had us in and out of there so quick! It was, like, “Get out of here and go back to Miami!” “Okay, okay!” So we were there for the panel that morning, and then we had a 2 PM flight or something crazy like that.
BE: You play Kate Prince on the show, and the one-liner ABC gives you in the press release is that you’re “a Miami cop who fell from grace, losing both her career and her fiancé.” Is that all they gave you to work with when you first got the role? Or did they even tell you which Angel you were going to be playing?
AI: Oh, yeah, I auditioned specifically for her. And, yeah, that was kind of the gist of it. Actually, I don’t think the ex-fiancé thing was in the breakdown as of that time, as in when I first auditioned. But when I auditioned, I kind of felt like things were a bit rougher at that time. They were still figuring things out. (Hesitates) Well, no, because originally I’d heard that they’d tried to attempt this a year ago, so I guess they kind of had an idea of the character. I just didn’t know about the ex-fiancé part very clearly. But slowly, through the four month audition process… (Laughs) …I learned more about her and figured her out more, which was good for me. It was a long process, which sucks for any actor, because you wrack your brain and you’re, like, “Well, they didn’t say this, but they did say this, and she looked at me this way,” and…well, whatever. You just start making things up in your head, and it just gets crazy. But throughout that process, it did help me figure her out more. And I got to see producers more, and they got to see more. So it all worked out.