“In real life, being a gentleman is not about playing a role, it’s about being natural and comfortable in your own skin… and not taking yourself too seriously.”
Simon Baker has been personifying the gentleman attitude for Givenchy for four seasons now.
From his first roles in various Australian series, to major Hollywood blockbusters, to the success of The Mentalist, and now his first film as a feature director, Simon Baker has confidently pursued his career while retaining the absolute charm that has earned him the respect of men, and the attention of women worldwide.
Simon embodies a new generation of gentlemen. A generation of men who know how to play by the rules, however are not afraid to break some. He shares with them the taste for elegance, the timeless art of giving the best of oneself, while also seeking the best in others. Today, he shares his insight on gentlemen at their absolute best.
G – Simon Baker, the person you embody onscreen appears to be the same person you are in life: a sort of masculine ideal. How do you view this role?
SB – In real life, being a gentleman is not about playing a role, it’s about being natural and comfortable in your own skin… and not taking yourself too seriously. I am a straightforward person who likes and respects people. I try to stay true to myself under life’s various pressures, and keep focused on what’s important. That is the approach I take in my daily life, and a perspective I hope to pass on to my children.
G – Is the gentleman attitude a lifestyle choice?
SB – Yes, actually I think it’s a modern and evolved concept. Today you can become a gentleman by how you conduct yourself. The idea of a gentleman — especially courtesy and elegance towards others —is more relevant today than ever.
G – In your work with Givenchy, you play a gentleman who’s self-confident, but also has a sparkle of humor and an informal touch.Is that how you see him?
SB – That’s how I approach my personal life, with a little humor, and irreverence.I respond to people that are real in their approach. My thoughts on a “gentleman attitude” is about being courteous and respectful, while still asserting a masculinity and independence. You can be firm in your approach while having a sense of humor… the idea is never to take yourself too seriously.
G – Some people have a rather stiff view of the gentleman. A man who pays too much attention to his appearance and style. What do you think about that?
SB – Working on your style is important, but I believe there is one rule to follow… when you put on a jacket, you should own it.It’s no good wanting to wear what looks good on someone else, that’s the best way to lose your own individuality.
G – Do you think seduction is inherent to being a gentleman?
SB – The idea of seduction can be interpreted in different ways, and every man has his own approach. I feel a gentleman will use a touch of romance, charm and intelligence in his approach toward the object of his affection.Showing a quiet strength, while being respectful, is the best way to behave like a gentleman.
G – What would be your definition of a gentleman at his absolute best?
SB – For me, a gentleman is at his absolute best when he embodies several qualities: elegance, intelligence, individuality, generosity, and a love of finer things.He’s a passionate person whose intelligence and sense of humor is always under the surface.
G – One last question, what are your plans now that The Mentalist has finished?
SB – I enjoyed playing Patrick Jane on The Mentalist for 7 years, it was a great experience that led me into other fields like producing and directing. I now look forward to exploring new territory and taking new risks. I just finished directing my first film, Breath based on the book by Tim Winton. Mark Johnson (who produced Rain Man, The Notebook, and recently Breaking Bad) gave me the book, and we developed it together over a number of years. We have just wrapped production in Western Australia. Directing the film was an incredible experience, I savored the challenge… and I’m excited to see where this next chapter leads.