If it seems that Zac Efron has been in the public eye for a very long time, it’s because he has. For more than half his life, Zac has starred in several high-profile projects, from the very successful High School Musical series to his latest project, starring with Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman. NOBLEMAN founders, Doug and Lydia McLaughlin, spent some time with the young yet accomplished actor during a rare moment of downtime.
Congratulations on all your success [showing him the latest NOBLEMAN issue with Hugh Jackman on the cover]. You must be thrilled to see how your career is unfolding.
I’m happy I made it into the realm of Hugh Jackman! He is such a great role model. He is beyond what you want on a movie set. It truly was like watching a dream come true being involved with one of the coolest people ever. It was just nice to be a part of it.
Your latest project with Hugh was The Greatest Showman. It was great seeing how well received the movie was.
The Greatest Showman was a great subject; we were fortunate that it was such a great story, where characters were fully developed, while having a chance to bring our own sense of style, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.
We’d love to talk about Hugo Boss and how you got involved with the brand. How long have you been working with them?
I have been working with them for 2 years. We’ve been able to travel all around the world together. It’s been really fun! It was my first true relationship with a brand, and I had never done any sort of campaign or anything like this. Frankly, I didn’t really know what the responsibilities or expectations would be, but so far, it’s been just like hanging out with friends. They help bring a positive vibe to people, so I love it.
What is your favorite Hugo scent?
While they are constantly developing new ones, the classics are great. I really enjoy Hugo Ice, which we did together last year. I think the newest fragrance is cool, because it smells very masculine—it has woody undertones with a tiny hint of flower in it, so it’s sweet with woodsy undertones, while staying masculine.
Sounds like you’re becoming kind of an expert. [chuckles]
[laughs] I know what smells good when I put it on me, and I can really only go off of that. [Speaking of his personal preferences, he continues:] For instance, anything with grapefruit or citrus just smells weird on my skin.
Well, that’s more than most guys know—most guys just go with “that smells good” or “that smells bad.” It’s good you can identify what you like.
Yeah, it’s important to find the right scent for you. But Hugo is very versatile—it fits a lot of people.
Do you have a special occasion scent? A scent for when you’re going out or have a big night?
People tend to say I smell like the gym. [laughs] I’ll wear something subtle, one of the great Hugo Boss fragrances. Overdoing it with cologne is just a killer. Less is more, and finding something you can identify with is best.
Speaking of fragrances, outside of colognes or perfumes, do you have a favorite smell?
I think there are some things that are deeply ingrained in you from when you’re young, and it brings up happy memories…. Any time I smell hydrangeas, I think of my mom, because that’s her favorite flower. There are scents that remind me of Hawai’i and the beach and being there. I associate different scents based on different people. If I grow to love that person, I grow to love the scent.
So, talking a little bit about style… why should guys care about style?
It’s ingrained in you from when you’re young to sort of look your best. I think the old adages have changed for me drastically. Now, the way you dress is a form of self-expression, and there is nobody doing that better than young people. Everyone is finding their own style. We’re coming full circle with 90s stuff, which is now cool again. But nothing will ever take away from classic elegance. Men like Cary Grant, characters like James Bond… that classic elegant guy look. There is magic in that, there’s the Greatest Showman in that. I’m not really sure what my style is—it tends to change on a daily basis.
Do you have a favorite item in your wardrobe?
A lot of my favorite things are nostalgic—things that I’ve gotten at concerts, venues, or shows. The first time I met Chance the Rapper, he gave me a 3 Hat, and I still have that up in my closet. I also have go-to clean, white kicks, sneakers—something you can run in but also skate in. A nice pair of jeans. I’m trying to really limit myself down to a couple of options. I literally just cleaned out my entire closet.
Clean out the closet, invest in a few timeless item, get more versatile pieces.
Exactly! Once you find those versatile pieces, just hang on to them forever.
Any essential style tips?
If you haven’t worn things in 6 months, or if you notice it is at the bottom of the pile, or collecting dust, then give it to a friend. No matter how cool it is, if you haven’t been rocking it, let it go.
Switching gears… what does adventure mean to you?
So many things. Discover—finding something new. Adventure, to me, always brings up the idea of Peter Pan, the idea of staying young forever. For me, that means permanently staying a student for life. I’m constantly around very brilliant people. I’ve been very blessed in my life to, from a very young age, be surrounded by these people. People like Kenny Ortega [producer, director, and choreographer: High School Musical], Burr Steers [17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud]. Guys like Hugh Jackman and The Greatest Showman Director, Michael Gracey.
I get to really see what they have been through, what they’ve experienced, and I continue to learn from that. I also am very fortunate to witness their level of happiness and maturity, while still searching for answers with young eyes. They are still on the adventure! If you keep your eyes open and stay curious, the adventure never ends—you find adventure everywhere.
We live in a generation where almost everyone is on social media or has access to connected devices. We have so much power at our fingertips, but it can also stop you from getting out there. Follow your dreams, and find an adventure.
Favorite vacation spot?
Elon Musk secret laboratory
What is on your wishlist this year?
More time with my family and loved ones and to build a new studio/workspace for my company.
Most treasured possession?
I don’t have any one thing, and it changes from day to day. If I’m backpacking, it’s the flint or the right watch or my skateboards. My baseballs. My Kobe Bryant autograph.
How would you define a NOBLEMAN?
[points at Hugh Jackman cover] Simple enough.
A gentleman always…
Uses mindful thinking and careful movement.
Photography by John Russo
By Doug and Lydia McLaughlin