“I’ve seen guys waxing, using tinted moisturiser, and face masks all in the changing room!”
England Rugby and Harlequins stalwart Ugo Monye has finally decided to hang up his boots. Relax….it’s definitely not the last we’ll be seeing of Mr Monye. With current initiatives including working with the Urban Rugby squad, to provide support to disadvantaged youngsters through rugby, as well as professional commentary, we can’t think of anyone better to be the voice of The Rugby World Cup.
Guys who want to look good, perform well, and embrace a grooming routine to stand up to the to the stresses of sport should look no further. Thanks Ugo for dropping by to share the secrets of the locker room and best of luck in your new career (s)
Firstly, congratulations on your career with Harlequins and England Rugby! How are you filling your time now you’ve retired from professional rugby?
Well, I just got back from a holiday to Thailand and Bali which was fantastic! Now I’m back in the real world my plans are to go into commentary. I’ve signed with BT Sport to cover the Premiership and European Rugby for the next few years and also signed with ITV to cover this year’s World Cup. Let’s just say it’ll be great to just take some time off and enjoy not having to do pre-season for the 15th time!!
The rigours of rugby must leave you bruised and battered post-match; are there any particular products you use to relax and soothe?
Recovery is just as crucial as training, where you get battered and bruised. We have lots laid on for us in terms of ice baths, massage etc… but when I’m home and need something extra, I’ve found Epsom Salt works incredibly well to get the toxins out of your system as well as relaxing the muscles.
So what’s the truth, are rugby players hulking brutes or well groomed gentlemen?
Men in general are breaking the mould, as rugby players our focus has always been how we play, but now we do focus on our personalities and how we look. I’ve witnessed guys face masking, using tinted moisturiser, and waxing all in the changing room… I even found an empty bottle of fake tan in the opposition changing room from use pre-game!
You’re an ambassador for rugby, is personal presentation really that crucial?
It’s very important for us to conduct and present ourselves in the right manner as our behaviour and the way we look filters right through to the young kids that watch us on a weekend. My main drive has always been my performance on a Saturday, but being a role model for the game also extends off the pitch too. It’s no longer just a job; it’s a way of life.
The Grooming Guide interviewed your teammates Danny Care and Chris Robshaw recently; did you all used to share grooming tips in the changing room or on the training pitch?
Mr Care is definitely more into a good grooming regime than Mr Robshaw! Chris would just be happy to whack on a bit a face moisturiser after a quick shower and get out of the overheated changing room, but Danny would definitely take his time. I don’t want to give too much away, but the man looks after himself!
I’m sure you’re more than used to the scent of mud and sweat, but there must be other fragrances you prefer? What are you wearing currently?
The scent of mud, Deep Heat, and sweat has haunted me for years, it nice to replace that with Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille; I love his men’s range of Eau de Parfum – that coupled with Escentric Molecules works really well.
How do you keep your skin looking fresh? Do you think this’ll change now you don’t have the demands of regular rugby?
I’m going to put a lot of it down to my genetics, but on top of that I do exfoliate, use face masks and moisturise regularly. I also take Imedeen ManAgeMent supplements once a day as they fit easily into my regime and ensure I get an added boost of proteins and Vitamin C. I’m in my 30’s now I don’t want to start seeing the effects ageing has on my skin. I love the odd facial and steam too which all help.
Many rugby players talk of superstitious pre match routines; what’s your routine? Did this include any particular grooming habits pre or post-match?
Despite not having much hair I always had to have a haircut the day before the game. I would always make sure I made the trip to the barbers for a catch up and made sure that my hair was looking sharp! We always said, “Look good, feel good” – often when you feel good you perform well.
You’ve had plenty of motivation to keep in shape in the past, how do you think this’ll change now you don’t have to be at training every day?
I think this is the hardest challenge for most retired sportsmen and women. I’ve always trained with a purpose – to be strong, fit, powerful, and fast for matches at the weekend; which is a massive driver. That’s now all gone, so what I’d like to do is a challenge for charity as personally the motivation of vanity isn’t enough. I’m hoping a charity based fitness focus with the Urban Rugby Squad might get me up in December when it’s dark, cold, and wet outside.
Joe Marler is always seen to be sporting a pretty powerful beard, has this not ever tempted you to embrace that the current trend?
Joe Marler’s beard is a strong look for him as well as his bleached Mohawk. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to join the beard brigade just yet. I grow something for Movember every year, but I’m still most comfortable with just a little bit of stubble at this stage!
Interview by Danny McCance
1. Ugo in action for England
2. Photo by Gary Bowden
3. Westlab Pure Mineral Bathing Dead Sea Salt - £4.99 for 1kg from Boots
4. Teamates Chris Robshaw and Danny Care celebrating a big win
5. Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum - £145 for 50 ml / £215 for 100ml from Harvey Nichols
6. Escentric Molecules - Molecule 01 - Iso E Super, £38 for 30ml from Net-A-Porter
7. Imedeen ManAgeMent Capsules - £30.63 for 60 capsules from Holland & Barrett
8. Charity based fitness focus - Ugo with some of the Urban Rugby Squad
9. Ugo's former teammate Joe Marler with a look he is not quite ready to follow
10. Ugo sporting a Mo for Movember