The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE VERVE -

PRAC­TIS­ING mar­tial arts has made Graeme Richards more ap­pre­cia­tive of how his body works. Be­ing an Ex­presso pre­sen­ter, a film and TV ac­tor as well as fre­quently grac­ing SA’s sex­i­est man lists has made him grate­ful. He took time out of his sched­ule to take us through his per­sonal style. Yours is one of the first faces most peo­ple wake up to. How has pre­sent­ing Ex­presso been? Life chang­ing, to say the least. I have formed an in­cred­i­ble bond with the pre­sen­ters and crew. I have been able to throw my­self into the most amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and have the op­por­tu­nity to be a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on both in­di­vid­u­als and South Africa as a na­tion; what a priv­i­lege. I cer­tainly don’t take a sec­ond of it for granted. Which in­ter­vie­wee has im­pressed you the most in your 20-year ca­reer? The in­di­vid­ual who has made the great­est im­pact was Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus Des­mond Tutu. I was lucky enough to in­ter­view him and his daugh­ter and thought it would be a stroke of ge­nius to bring my mother, who lives by a very sim­i­lar ethos of love and com­pas­sion, with me and turn it into a family af­fair. He ended up miss­ing a flight and spent hours re­gal­ing us with in­cred­i­ble sto­ries and in­sights. When he qui­etly took her aside to tell her that she had raised a won­der­ful son and man… prob­a­bly the proud­est mo­ment of both our lives. Which celebrity’s closet would you like to raid? David Beck­ham. Tell us about a fash­ion faux you ex­pe­ri­enced? At age 19, my first re­ally big gig on TV was be­ing part of the very new and ground­break­ing, for SA cer­tainly, SABC1 Simunye con­ti­nu­ity team. Ar­riv­ing for our first ever promo shoot, very ner­vous, pasty white and com­pletely in­hib­ited and in­tim­i­dated amongst all the bona fide celebri­ties, I pa­tiently watched as every­one was given out­fits in which we would be groov­ing to the still ridicu­lous Bar­bie Girl song.

I saw tuxe­dos, sporty and ul­tra trendy gear leave the rail un­til I had to step up to re­trieve what looked like a 10cm square of Ly­cra, a hat I as­sumed... I was wrong. And my first ever ap­pear­ance in front of mil­lions of peo­ple danc­ing in a pair of bright red hot pants fol­lowed shortly. All I can say is thank good­ness my scene also in­volved a gi­ant beach ball. You’ve re­ceived a few style awards and been nom­i­nated as SA’s sex­i­est man for a cou­ple of times now. How do you de­fine sexy?

My style is mas­cu­line, sim­ple and clas­sic and more of­ten than not hugely in­flu­enced by the bril­liant stylist I had at my side at the time. I think sexy has some­thing to do with be­ing com­fort­able in your own skin and ob­vi­ously hav­ing a strong sense of phys­i­cal-self, maybe even an en­ergy you put out. Ul­ti­mately it’s im­por­tant not to put too much stock in these kinds of com­pe­ti­tions per­son­ally. That be­ing said, I re­ally do ap­pre­ci­ate those who vote on these plat­forms. Take us through your groom­ing rou­tine. What are the things you ab­so­lutely must do and which ones do you steer clear of? I have been lucky enough to learn so much from the var­i­ous stylists, brands and beau­ti­cians that I have worked with, so now I have a pretty solid rou­tine of wash or scrub, mois­turise and a lit­tle some­thing for the eyes. Also sport­ing a beard most of the time now, I have found a bril­liant twoinone face and beard mois­turiser from Clin­ique. Some­thing else I now live by re­li­giously: sun pro­tec­tion, I spend a huge amount of time shoot­ing out­doors and never step out in any­thing less than a fac­tor 40 or 50. What were your favourite fash­ion trends last year? In gen­eral, a move to­ward in­di­vid­u­al­ity. We seem to be liv­ing in a time of both retro and pro­gres­sive fash­ion trends. What is most im­por­tant now is to find a look and mode that works best for you and your life­style... Lov­ing that clas­sic suits; cuts are also back in a big way. What fash­ion and groom­ing trends are you look­ing to try out in 2017? Train­ers! I have de­vel­oped a bit of a trainer fetish so I’m sure I’ll be hunt­ing down as many as I can this year. I also have a very full year of high pro­file ap­pear­ances and op­por­tu­ni­ties lin­ing up so re­ally go­ing to en­joy get­ting prop­erly turned out. What can we ex­pect from you in 2017? A beau­ti­ful baby boy. I can’t wait to em­brace be­ing a fa­ther and par­ent with Lind­sey. Can you be­lieve what started out as a lit­tle chem­istry do­ing the rumba on Strictly Come Danc­ing a cou­ple of years ago is about to be­come the great­est jour­ney of our lives. Ex­presso prom­ises to break new ground and take our pos­i­tive in­flu­ence to an even higher level and I have some amaz­ing projects on the go that will al­low me to do that on a per­sonal level as well.

Graeme Richards.

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