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DEBORAH FULSANG sat down with the distractingly handsome Nick Youngquest, the professional-rugby-player-turned-model and now face of Paco Rabanne’s Invictus fragrance, and talked about heroes and fragrance, tattoos and juicing. And for the record, he took his shirt off without being asked.
DEBORAH FULSANG: I wanted to ask, with the heroic mythology concept around this Paco Rabanne Invictus men’s fragrance launch, who your hero was when you were growing up.
NICK YOUNGQUEST: My hero was definitely my grandfather; here on my right bicep is a [tattoo] tribute to my grandfather. He played professional sports too when he was much younger. Sadly he is no longer with us, as you can see with the tribute to him.
FYI: “Invictus is Latin for “unconquered”, and this brand plays on the concept of athlete as hero, and aims to evoke the belief of ancient times that athletes possessed super-human characteristics verging on the divine.
FULSANG: What is the tattoo?
YOUNGQUEST: It says “My Grandfather, My Friend, My Hero” in Swedish, his initials and dates of when he was born and passed away. Growing up, he was my idol—my father too, but in more of a sportsman aspect. And definitely [the surfer] Kelly Slater. I always wanted to become a surfer, but wasn’t good enough. I wanted to travel the globe surfing, but instead here I am travelling the globe representing Paco Rabanne, which is kinda cool too.
FULSANG: What professional sport did your grandfather play?
YOUNGQUEST: He played soccer, back in Australia—or football—whatever you guys call it.
FULSANG: I wanted to ask what your idea of a good smell is.
YOUNGQUEST: My idea of a good smell is definitely the beach. That salty smell: It reminds me of my childhood walking to the beach in the morning and going surfing. I have fond memories of that—Cronulla in Sydney, a small little [beachside] suburb south of the city.
FULSANG: What did you know about Paco Rabanne before this partnership.
YOUNGQUEST: One Million was everywhere; I was familiar with that, I was playing sports in England at the time, where One Million does vey well—a lot of my teammates would use it. I knew it was an iconic brand in style and fashion and then it had evolved into fragrances.
FULSANG: I wanted to ask about your surname, and if it is your real surname. It sounds quite literally cast for this brand.
YOUNGQUEST: Yes, it’s my real name. It originates from Sweden—[my family were] some of the first settlers in Australia—it was actually “Lyungqvist”. For some reason, they changed their name—I actually prefer Lyungqvist—it sounds more unique and European. They tried to change it to Youngquest because it sounded more Australian.
FULSANG: It sounds like such a great mythological name for this!
YOUNGQUEST: Yeah it’s perfect!
FULSANG: Favourite part of your sport?
YOUNGQUEST: The hard work and mental aspect it taught me for life outside of sport, the resilience and never-say-die attitude. It took me a lot to become successful as an athlete; growing up as a teenager I was never the best player or the fastest or strongest, so it took me a lot of hard work and that has [flowed] through into my adult life. Hopefully it will help me be successful in the future.
FULSANG: What’s your personal approach to wearing fragrance: Less or more?
YOUNGQUEST: I normally apply fragrance after I shower, and I shower a lot. I use it on my back and on my wrists, and then when I put clothes on I spray it on my clothes. Maybe I go a bit overboard sometimes, but I guess its better to smell nice then not to!
FULSANG: I wanted to ask how many grooming products you use in a day.
YOUNGQUEST: I was lucky enough that my mom taught me to use skin products from a young age. I was always using face washes and cleansers when I was a teenager. Daily, I use a facial scrub, a moisturizer, then I shower again and use another moisturizer at night and then a night cream as well.
FULSANG: Favourite Movie?
YOUNGQUEST: Remember the Titans. As a sportsman, it’s inspirational. I used to watch it a lot when I was playing sports to get pumped up.
FULSANG: Favourite drink?
YOUNGQUEST: I really am into juicing; I really like green juices. My green juice is two apples, two kiwis, a cucumber, kale and romaine lettuce.
I always used to blend—rather than juice—and then I met this guy who has been juicing for 20 years, which is insane because if you think about it, juicing only became popular recently. He told me all about it. His name is Joe, he has a blog—Joe The Juicer on tumblr [www.rebootwithjoe.com]! He’s like 53 and in awesome shape.
FULSANG: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and what would it smell like?
YOUNGQUEST: Definitely near the ocean, so the smell of the ocean and surfboard wax. Or if I went to Australia, it would smell a little bit like the ocean and…diapers. My sister has two little kids.