He smells like a man, builds you a dream kitchen with his own hands and rides a horse—backwards. He’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, the Old Spice pitchman played by Isaiah Mustafa. Before he was on TVs across the country, Isaiah was just another struggling actor bartending in Los Angeles.
When the Old Spice auditions first made the rounds, Isaiah tells Oprah: Where Are They Now?, the bartenders at his place of business, all of whom were “pretty athletic dudes,” were auditioning for the role. People couldn’t stop talking about it, so he decided to try it himself.
At his first audition, he says, the casting team asked if he could “do it more like a magician.” Apparently, his performance was successful because he received a callback. When he got there, he says, the building was full of 50 or 60 shirtless guys reading the script, which was pretty wild. The first thing they wanted to know when he walked into the audition room: Can you ride bareback? Without pause, he responded with a joke: “I just did.”
The team laughed, and the line just may have set him apart because the audition ended up lasting an hour and, the day after Christmas, he got the call saying he’s got the part. “The first quarter of 2010, my bills will be paid,” Isaiah says. “That’s all I was thinking about.”