Nick Youngquest always knew his good grooming habits would come in handy. The former professional rugby league footballer spent his formative years in locker rooms with teammates who would barely shower after a game, much less partake in a lengthy skincare regime. But luckily, the face of Paco Rabanne’s newest scent Invictus Intense has been a grooming ambassador-in-the-making for years.
“My mum always made me take care of myself and my skin,” says Youngquest. “Since I was 14, I’ve been using a litany of products, all my friends thought I was weird. When I was playing, I was always the last guy out of the locker room. It’s always just been ingrained in me.”
We doubt anyone is making fun of him now. Youngest credits social media with putting out the word that it’s okay for men to care about skincare, fragrances and grooming in general. “You see so many more guys taking care of themselves nowadays and knowing their favourite brands like the back of their hand,” he says. “Invictus Intense is great because they’ve developed a contrast between sensuality and masculinity, it’s complex in a way that men are being afforded now that they weren’t before.”
We sat down with the Australian athlete to talk about being the face of a major campaign, the best smelling man he knows, and the worst thing he’s ever smelled.
Who is the best smelling man you know?
Oh, wow. I would say it’s my grandfather. He’s sadly not here with us anymore, but I really remember as a young kid that he had this unidentifiable scent that is linked with my childhood.
What are some of your best memories you have tied to scent?
Definitely the ocean. The salty morning air on the beach is something I’ll never forget. Even the smell of seaweed that a lot of people hate, I love it because it reminds me of home.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?
You have no idea how bad locker rooms can be. You think they’re bad and then you smell it and you’d probably want to vomit. It’s horrible. And it’s interesting to see how large groups of men deal with hygiene. It’s so gross for the most part. I don’t miss that aspect of sport.
What are your favourite scents?
Paco Rabanne Invictus Intense. [Laughs.] I do a lot of yoga and eucalyptus gets used a lot and it reminds me of Australia. Lavender too, it’s so relaxing. It helps me decompress.
What’s been the best part of being the face of the campaign?
It’s all so different from what I was used to playing rugby, the team aspect of it and the schedules. I really enjoyed shooting. We shot the campaign in a stadium, which was great because I felt totally comfortable, then felt uncomfortable being in front of the camera with 200 people looking at me. It’s been a cool learning experience. People seemed to like it so I think I probably did okay.