Guy Sebastian is one of loveliest people I’ve met in showbiz. And, funnily enough, he was one of the first people I interviewed when I first started out in magazines. I was working at TV Week as a reporter and was sent to interview him. He told me at the time I was one of his first interviews, so we bonded over that. Now, 20 years later, we finally met again, this time at the glamorous launch event for his new fragrance Embrace, which is available exclusively at Chemist Warehouse. When he arrives for our interview, he is warm and charming, and as I discover over the next forty minutes, he’s also incredibly thoughtful and intent on changing lives. Below are the points I took away from our chat.

  1. Guy is a fragrance connoisseur and has A LOT of scents at home

“I’ve always been obsessed with fragrance. I’ve got a whole lot. I sent a picture [of them all] recently to Keith Urban, who I work with on the show, he loves fragrances. Because we travel so much, I get to sample different fragrances from [where] I’ve been flying through, [like] Dubai, all the ouds and I also like the scent of tobacco and woods. I always wanted to make my own fragrance and make something that I was proud of.”

Guy Sebastian and his wife Jules Sebastian at the Embrace fragrance launch

2. His love of fragrance started when his Dad would go away on business trips.

“My dad is a geologist, [and would go away for work] for a month. When he’d say goodbye, we knew we wouldn’t see him for a month, so it was always really sad, but we’d smell him because his Drakkar Noir would linger all day. [Fragrance] is the first thing people get when you walk in a room and [it’s] still there when you leave.”

Guy Sebastian performing at Port Macquarie for 3 buzz-filled nights

4. Embrace is about two parts of one whole, coming together and completing one another.

“For me, there’s a lot of talk about love languages. [My wife Jules and I have] been together for 20 years, I’ve known her since I was twelve and so she worked out pretty quickly that I just need a hug and cuddles. I’m very physical and I just love touch and that’s how I show love. But really the deeper meaning behind Embrace is that there are few things that can extend the life of an embrace, but fragrance does.”

The romantic ad campaign for Embrace
Guy Sebastian and Jules Sebastian getting ready for Kyle Sandiland’s wedding

5. Guy and Jules had family and friends affected by mental health issues

“Jules lost her brother to mental health and we’ve had family, friends, lost their lives. I had a good mate who was in my band who took his life as well. So for me, I just see it as their legacy.  Sometimes what is so tragic can also be used for good and to stop other things from happening. Things like, RUOK?, all of that is incredible. But we didn’t want to add to something that’s already there, we wanted to head into something that was more to do with early intervention.”

Guy Sebastian and his family in Japan
Guy Sebastian and Jules Sebastian travelling in Venice

6. Guy and Jules are now helping children in schools with mental health and wellness

“Jules and I have the Sebastian Foundation, and we’ve got the Open Parachute program. I said to our board,”My dream is to hire some clinical psychologists, develop an actual program in schools instead of waiting until it’s too late. Let’s just teach kids how to face this stuff and put in perspective [that] this has happened on social media, or you’ve got this exam coming, or this has happened in your friendship circle or facing issues of sexuality or identity or whatever.” So that’s [now] in 135 schools. It’ll make you cry if you watch some of the videos. It’s really cool. My kids are doing it at their school [Guy has two sons].”

Guy raised funds for The Open Parachute program by walking 500km

7. Social media is a minefield and he’s teaching kids how to manage it

“The media landscape changes so much. You’re constantly learning how to deal with it and you have kids, and then your whole view on how much you share changes. Sometimes you can get so caught up as a public person, even [with] things that are things that are said that are completely made up, or whatever, and you just can’t fight that fight. More than ever [it’s important] especially for kids, to learn that lesson, that you just can’t please everyone and you can’t control things. Let go of the things that are out of your control and concentrate on your community.

For so long community has been destabilized because of social media and it’s tearing kids’ minds apart. They’re so aware of their actions and things that they do, being suddenly, “Oh, my gosh, that just got shared on Snapchat when I fell over and did this silly thing, or made this mistake, now everyone in the school knows.” When I grew up, it was like, “I care about what Paul and Craig and James and my family [think]…” Now it’s [people who] don’t even know me. Everyone thinks they know people from their profiles.”

Guy Sebastian and his family celebrating festivities

Words by Sigourney Cantelo. 

In partnership with Chemist Warehouse.

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