Michael Strahan had quite the professional football career. Currently 10th all-time in sacks and the official single season sack leader (at 22.5), the former defensive end wreaked havoc on opposing offenses during his 15-year stint with the New York Giants. But millions more know him as a repeat personality on a few popular TV shows: Live! With Kelly and Michael (in place of the late Regis Philbin), Good Morning America, GMA3 and FOX NFL Sunday.
The shows span the spectrum of TV programming, from early AM with Live! and Good Morning America to mid-afternoons for GMA3 to late nights for FOX NFL Sunday. But Strahan doesn't miss a beat. He's almost always on, arguably as energized as he ever was on the field. And this energy has carried over to his off-screen efforts, too, which all fall under the Michael Strahan Brand. He's made suits, sportswear and other apparel and now skincare products — an expected twist from an ex NFL-er, but he says the inspiration stems from his playing days (hence the name: Michael Strahan Daily Defense).
We caught up with Strahan to discuss transitioning from anchoring a defense to anchoring a newscast, waking up early to be on set, confidence and, of course, his skincare routine.
Michael Strahan on Transitioning to TV, Selling Skin Care Products vs. Playing Football, Golfing on His Days Off and More
When do you remember first being interested in skin care? Did you always have a routine?
Skincare has always been important to me. From the sweat under the helmet, to the gym and camera lights, there are so many factors that affect your skin. I realized I needed to make sure my skin was consistently looking and feeling healthy because when it wasn’t looking good, I didn't feel confident. The routine has changed a bit over the years through some trial and error, but I was always doing something. Now I have a consistent routine in place, which is so important with skin care...
I didn't really have acne [before], but I think that's the misconception about skin care and a skin routine — you shouldn’t be reactive to a specific problem once it appears. Guys like to have a problem and then solve it right away, but things like skincare should be like a great defensive line: have a good defense and routine in place to lessen the appearance of any problems and you’re golden. That’s the genesis of the name Michael Strahan Daily Defense for the line.
You describe your routine as a 'daily skin defense.' Is that a play on your professional football career?
Nailed it. I mentioned acne earlier, and that’s generally how guys look at skin care; they react to a problem. We wanted to create a line of products and a routine for guys to get into the habit of defending against skin problems that can come up in the future. I love how the brand ties back to my football roots, but also helps reinforce this defensive, routine habit for men.
How different is running a beauty brand from chasing down quarterbacks?
Both are stressful in their own ways. I think the one similarity though is that no matter what job or point in my career I'm in, I give it 150 percent. With Michael Strahan Daily Defense, I'm not just putting my name on it — I’m in every planning and development meeting, testing all samples, reviewing all marketing plans.
To keep the analogy going…I would say I'm doing the two-a-day workouts, putting in the hard work – not just showing up to the Super Bowl party and collecting my ring.
Was the transition into television hard? Did hair and makeup and all that seem weird at first? Did it have an impact on your skin?
The transition from athlete to entertainment wasn't easy for so many reasons. I was nervous to step into something new, but I always tried to set myself up for success by putting myself together well. When I look good, I feel confident. I would wake up, put on some good music, put on a sharp suit — all these little elements of my morning routine led to confidence throughout the day.
I can't stress enough the importance of a routine and consistently good habits. As for hair and makeup, my skin has been through a lot of varying elements over the years and that’s why skin care has always been so important to me.
Does your morning skincare routine look the same no matter whether you're on-screen or not?
It really does. The five products we picked are the essentials I use every day. We wanted [my line] to be for all men, all ages, all skin types. It can tackle many conditions a guy may face during the day, whether he’s been sweating it out at the gym or getting ready for a big event and styling his beard.
All guys need skin care; it’s not just for someone like me on camera. How you walk into a room and how you present yourself is so important. The same way you put on a nice outfit for a big meeting, your skin and your face are equally as important to set yourself up for success.
Are you really a morning person? And, how do you stay awake through evening NFL broadcasts?
Some days are long, but I compartmentalize. I focus on the task at hand and don't get too overwhelmed by everything else coming my way that day. There are some nights where I regret staying up late binging TV.
Are you sleeping in on your days off then? What's a morning look like when you're not on TV?
If the weather is nice, you can find me on the golf course.