Isaiah Mustafa has spent the past four years being ‘that guy’. His profile is so synonymous with his character on the Old Spice commercial that he is now just known as ‘The Old Spice guy’. But Isaiah doesn’t mind. He doesn’t even have any qualms about spending the rest of his life as ‘that guy’.
In fact, he welcomes it. Having spent almost 10 years as an upcoming actor in Los Angeles, Isaiah says he is very grateful for the opportunity he received when he became Old Spice’s global ambassador.
“At my core I am an actor. In the beginning it was only supposed to be one commercial. It was me taking a job and being happy and thankful that I got this job. As it moved on it turned into more things and opportunity. It could have been anybody else so I am a very lucky individual,” he says.
“Now that it has happened, I respect the fact that it is not something that happens to everyone. It is something that needs to be researched and I need to make sure that I know exactly the message I am sending across for the brand and getting across to the different markets and consumers.”
But who is the man behind the commercial? Born in Oregon, Isaiah attended Arizona State University where he graduated with a history degree. Attaining a scholarship to play football at varsity level allowed him to complete his degree. After getting his tertiary qualification, Isaiah continued to play football for several years, and eventually ended up working as a bartender. That did not last for long though as he soon clinched the Old Spice ambassadorship.
“The job has allowed me to travel and go to beautiful places. I appreciate and love it. It’s been going on for four years and I can’t say enough about it. I’ve been having so much fun.”
On the lifestyle sacrifices he has had to make being that “guy”, Isaiah says he has spent the better part of his career single.
“I’ve learned that with the brand comes this persona. People think that I am the character and I’m not. The character is a very tongue-in-cheek man and that’s not me. I happen to be the person that embodies the character.”
“In the four years that I’ve been the ambassador, I’ve not had a girlfriend. When I first got the job I had a girlfriend and I think having the job destroyed that relationship. People think women must love you but its actually the opposite (laughs). They have an idea of who the character is and who I am so therefore they may not approach me and think ‘You must have a woman in every country of the world’. Actually, I don’t. It’s kind of tough to meet someone because I’m family oriented and I would like to settle down some day. It’s tough to meet someone because I’m traveling and doing different things. Right now I’m not looking, just working and trying to take care and provide for my daughter. Once things calm down, I’ll be able to look for someone to settle down with.”
According to Isaiah, he has always wanted to visit the country.
“I was extremely excited to come here. They had told me I may be coming here a year and a half ago. I thought that was cool because I really wanted to come here. The history hits you especially because you know what happened in Apartheid.”
Undeniably, Isaiah has contributed to Old Spice’s rebranding as a young, elegant, cool and exciting brand. Of this, he is candid as he explains that his ambassadorship has turned the brand around.
“I helped the brand grow from what many people thought was an older brand to helping it re-emerge as a younger, hip, fun brand and product.”
After four years at the helm of Old Spice, it has become clear that Isaiah is definitely doing something right.
For details on Old Spice’s Manliest night of your life click here.