Rob Lowe brought his effervescence and his new scent and skin care line for men to the Seattle Nordstrom. He was greeted by a long line of fans, who know him from “The West Wing,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Behind the Candelabra.”
Clearly, I had walked in on a bro-ment.
“It’s a charcoal exfoliating scrub,” Rob Lowe was telling a male reporter.
We were in a room off the menswear department at the downtown flagship Nordstrom in Seattle, where Lowe came last Friday to launch his new fragrance and skin-care line, called Profile.
The reporter was holding a tube of Revitalize detoxing face scrub, which Lowe couldn’t say enough about..
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“We’re rolling out that extra weapon,” he told the reporter. “This is what the pros use, all right?”
The reporter looked at the tube and rubbed his chin: “It’s hard to find something really good,” he admitted.
Oh, come on: If you’re a guy in the market for a charcoal exfoliating scrub, you want the one Rob Lowe is pushing. The man is 52 and still looks like it’s 1983.
Which is why the line of people who had come to see him stretched from 7 For All Mankind all the way back to Valentino, and why no one blinked at spending $89.50 for a bottle of his Profile 18 Amber Wood fragrance in exchange for a moment and a photo with Lowe.
“We’ve been in each other’s lives forever,” Lowe told me of his fans. “Since I was 18.”
The fragrance features a magnetic cap and a six-years-in-the-making mix of Sicilian bergamot, pink pepper and crisp fig leaves.
Lowe described it as “This iteration of me.”
“I wanted to start with the red-carpet version,” he said. “For me, it might be the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the Oscars, but for another man, it might be the big date, the big meeting. It’s when you need to make a statement and plant your flag.
“Do you know what I mean?” Lowe said.
Here’s the thing about Rob Lowe: You have watched him for so long (the 1980 ABC Afterschool Special “Schoolboy Father” ring a bell?) and seemingly everywhere (“The Grinder,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Parks and Recreation”), that to see him in the flesh is no big deal. He is very tan and very shiny, and his hair, threaded with gray, stands straight up in the front.
But enough with the facial scrub and man-scent. Can we talk politics?
“As if I know anything?” Lowe cracked, shifting in his seat.
Well, he did spend seven years on “The West Wing,” reciting writer/creator Aaron Sorkin’s whipsmart lines about how government really works.
“I played a person who knew,” Lowe said of his character, Sam Seaborn.
He let out a sigh.
“You don’t even know where to begin,” Lowe said of the current campaign.
He recently read a quote from the late political commentator Andrew Breitbart: “He said if the GOP doesn’t figure out how to play the media, they will end up with a celebrity candidate someday,” Lowe said. “Talk about foresight.”
Lowe had his own political play with the media in 1988, when a videotape surfaced of him having sex in a hotel room with a 16-year-old girl during the Democratic National Convention. It was one of the first commercially available celebrity sex tapes, which Lowe later mocked on “Saturday Night Live.”
I didn’t bring it up.
Out on the floor, Gina Simmons, 36, of Seattle, was first in line.
“I adore Rob Lowe,” she said. “Not only is he gorgeous — I’m gonna try to cut myself on his chiseled chin — he seems like a nice person.”
But her devotion paled in comparison to Terry Burrell, 63, who came up from Vancouver, Wash., in an autographed Rob Lowe T-shirt, carrying a bag of gifts, since she knew that his 52nd birthday was March 17.
She brought him a Seahawks T-shirt because she knows he loves football. And she brought him M&M’s because she knows he loves them, too.
How does she know that?
“She knows everything!” Simmons said.
Another fun fact, courtesy of Chris Slope, one of the group of Nordstrom sales associates who listened to Lowe talk about the line, and his regimen:
“He shaves at 9 p.m. every night so he can wake up with a 5 o’clock shadow,” Slope said.
Just to the side of the table where Lowe was signing and posing stood his wife, Sheryl, who had her own bit of business at Nordstrom. She is a jewelry designer and hopes to sell her line there, as well.
“In early talks,” is how she put it.
Just then, Burrell was walking away. Lowe had hugged her, accepted her gifts, posed for a photo and shared a moment.
“It went great, he remembered me,” Burrell said, then lowered her voice.
“He’s a very good actor.”