In 2007, future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Michael Strahan hung up his cleats after a 15-year career in the NFL. Instead of moving somewhere warm and perfecting his golf game, the former star defensive end for the New York Giants has gone on to become one of TV’s biggest personalities and continues to evolve his own brand, which includes a talent and entertainment company, multiple clothing lines—and now, a skincare line.
On Wednesday, the sports commentator and cohost of Good Morning America launched Michael Strahan Daily Defense, a men’s skincare and grooming collection. Like his tailored collection of clothing, Strahan says the skincare products are all about helping men present the best version of themselves.
“When we were talking about our clothing brands, it was about giving a man confidence,” Strahan says. “Clothing is one way. Another way is your skin and presentation. For me, I’ve always been on a skincare routine, especially since I’ve been in front of the camera.”
When Strahan speaks about his entrepreneurial endeavors, he often uses words like we, us, and our. In 2011, he cofounded SMAC (Sports Media and Culture) Entertainment with CEO and partner Constance Schwartz-Morini. Their talent and management company reps the likes of Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa—and Strahan, himself. SMAC also produces programming for ABC, Amazon Prime, Showtime, and HBO, including $100,000 Pyramid, the game show Strahan hosts.
Strahan and Schwartz-Morini met over two decades ago while she was working in the NFL’s corporate sponsorship department and he was beginning his career with the New York Giants. Even back then, Schwartz-Morini says Strahan’s personality would liven up any room he walked into. “He had, what we call the ‘magic of Michael,'” she says. “It became a go-to for us. Whether it was playing in a golf tournament or bringing him in to help us dust off the NFL Lineman Challenge or do a sponsor appearance—he just had It.”
Strahan went from an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday to succeeding the late Regis Philbin on Live with Kelly to coanchoring ABC’s Good Morning America, alongside Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos; plus partnerships with Men’s Wearhouse on a tailored clothing line and the NFL on an athleisure apparel brand, MSX by Michael Strahan. With the global market for men’s personal care exceeding $30 billion in 2021, skincare made sense as the next progression for the Strahan brand, he says.
SMAC partnered with biotech firm Evolved by Nature to create the line, which consists of five products: face wash, shaving lotion, post-shave balm, beard oil, and moisturizer. The products, designed for all skin types and ethnicities, include Activated Silk, a liquid form of natural silk that can replace harsh chemicals and help lock in moisture (and which received honorable mention in Fast Company‘s 2020 World Changing Ideas awards). Bundled in black packaging with a gold “M,” Strahan’s skincare line is launching at CVS this month at $12 to $14 per product.
“Most men don’t realize it’s a routine to keep our skin healthy—and it’s not difficult,” says Strahan. “Most men just need a little guidance. I don’t know anyone who wants to have bad skin. I think everyone wants to present themselves in the best way with the most confidence possible, and skin is a great way to do it.”
“Hustle like you’re broke”
Even after rising to stardom in the NFL, Strahan admits he wasn’t always brimming with confidence. During his first gig at Fox, after having retired from football, he says he was so unsure he could do the job up to his standards that he considered reversing retirement and going back to the Giants. But he stuck it out and learned how to be on a panel with other personalities, which prepared him for a career in live TV. When he joined Kelly Ripa on Live with Kelly and Michael, he was able to fully be himself, he says, though he acknowledges that it took him two years to feel truly comfortable on GMA because of the complex topics he wasn’t accustomed to discussing previously. But now he’s holding his own.
“You have to remember that everyone had a first day, and everyone’s first day doesn’t go well,” says Strahan. “You just have to figure it out. I’ve taken those principles and have applied them to every job that I’ve done.”
“Hustle like you’re broke,” is a mantra at SMAC, and Strahan has definitely made it a lifestyle. During football season, his mornings start at 5 a.m. during the week. He’s in the New York studio for GMA until about 9 a.m. and spends the rest of his day in production meetings and working on his business. On Fridays, after he’s done on set, he flies back to L.A. for his only off day of the week. On Sundays, he’s on the set of Fox NFL Sunday for up to 12 hours before hopping back on a plane to New York to start it all over again.
Even with so much going on, Strahan says new projects, like his skincare brand, energize him.
“I like the challenge, and I love the stimulation of waking up and having something worth doing, something that you’re creating to see if you can bring a thought to reality,” he says. “I look at things like, If there’s something that’s interesting to me, I want to try it. I’m motivated by what I haven’t done, and I’m motivated by motivating others.”