David Beckham On H&M, Harper’s Hair & Why Haters Shouldn’t Underestimate Him

David Beckham in the H&M Modern Essentials campaign. Photo: Courtesy H&M

A warning for too-cool women everywhere: once you meet David Beckham, you will fall in love with him. It’s annoying. It’s inevitable. And that’s exactly what happened to me last week, when I met Mr. Posh Spice at the Bowery Hotel in New York City.  

He was there promoting his latest project, H&M’s Modern Essentials collection, which hits stores on October 1. Created to help men leave the house with their style and bank accounts intact, the range was curated by Mr. Beckham and worn by comedian Kevin Hart in a very funny campaign. (Released today, the full commercial shows Hart trying to “become” Beckham for an upcoming movie role. He imitates his accent. He tries to kick soccer balls. He fails beautifully. It’s glorious.)

We spoke with the 40-year-old superstar about his family, his pasta recipe, and his underwear—though we promise, he was the one who brought it up.  And now despite ourselves, we are totally in love with his huge smile, his crazy accent, and his tattooed everything. Oh to be Posh! 

Yahoo Style: You helped create The Modern Essentials so men could dress themselves easily. Does that mean you styled yourself for the ads?

David Beckham: Yeah, pretty much. It’s my essential collection, so it’s things I selected from H&M that men should have in their wardrobes. For a few shots, they did say, “Okay, we’d like you to wear this piece, but if you want to wear that other thing…” I mean, it’s a give-and-take. Fortunately, I like everything in the collection! So whatever I wore worked for me. Which is kind of the point of the whole range—everything works. Why not make it easy for yourself?

You had to share screen time with both Kevin Hart and a giant bulldog…

The dog is the real star, out of any of us, just so you know. She was amazing. And she was treated like royalty on set.

Kevin Hart and David Beckham in the H&M Modern Essentials campaign. Photo: Courtesy H&M

Is that your dog?

No! But you know the crazy thing? That bulldog is called Coco. And my bulldog is also called Coco. But my dog will never win an Oscar, and this dog might. She is unbelievable.

If you had to review Kevin Hart’s performance of you—Kevin Hart playing David Beckham—what would you say?

I would say he was brilliant, but the British accent—you know, we did a scene that was about 15 minutes long, and the whole time, he’s just trying to do my accent. That made me laugh more than anything else on set. But I have to hand it to him, he did a good job, because I can’t do any accents. I definitely can’t do an American one. So it’s lucky nobody wanted me to try playing him.

Your old coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, says you’re a very smart player. But there’s a stereotype that athletes can’t be intelligent. How do you feel about that?

That’s a great question. People just assume, over the years, that soccer players are not too intelligent. As with most assumptions, they’re wrong. I’ve got some friends from my playing days that are very intelligent, in a scholarly way. I wouldn’t say I’m one of them. But I also wouldn’t say I’m stupid, at all. I guess I’m quietly intelligent.

How so?

Well, people over the years have questioned my intelligence.

Only Ali G!

No, a few more. A lot more. But I kind of go with it. If people want to think that, it doesn’t bother me. It’s their own opinion and I can’t tell them what to put in their mind. But I doubt those people have ever actually had a full conversation with me.

But you’re a successful businessman. Don’t they understand how smart you have to be in order to pull that off?

I know, right? That’s exactly the thing.

On another note, I heard your mother was a hairstylist?

Yes, she was!

You have great hair. Did she teach you how to do it yourself?

No, she didn’t! I wish she did. I do cut my sons’ hair from time-to-time. When they have a buzz cut, I do it. If I have to use scissors, the boys know not to ask—she never taught me how to do that.

Do you do ever do Harper’s hair in the morning?

No, but you know, about a year ago, my wife said, “Maybe we should cut Harper’s hair.” And I was like, “No! We need to grow it. Do. Not. Touch.” Since she was born, we haven’t cut it. That’s why it’s pretty much down to her knees.

You saved Harper’s hair!

I had to. It’s just so good, isn’t it?

Your Wikipedia page lists you as Jewish. Did you celebrate Yom Kippur this year?

No, actually. My grandparents—my mom’s parents—they’re Jewish. But nobody ever pushed religion onto us. It wasn’t something I ever grew up with. But I would like to celebrate the [Jewish] holiday at some point, because it’s special, and it means something to so many people. I’m proud of where my granddad is from, but I don’t practice any religion, really.

David Beckham in the H&M Modern Essentials campaign. Photo: Courtesy H&M

I wasn’t sure if you were making latkes on your day off or something.

I don’t, but I do cook! I cook fresh pasta and Ragu sauce. I make the pasta by hand, the dough and everything. It’s my best dish.

You should make a cookbook like Gwyneth. Oh wait—are you starting a skincare line? I heard that…

Not that I know of! You heard I was staring a skincare line?!

And I heard you were auditioning to play James Bond, but I know that’s not true.

Definitely not true. No skincare, and I’m not gonna be James Bond, either. There’s always opportunities being thrown at us, but right now, neither skin care nor James Bond is in my immediate future.

What’s the craziest rumor you’ve ever heard about yourself?

Oh, easy. I heard that I only wear each pair of my underwear once, and then I throw them away. Someone phoned me up, and was like, “someone just said you refuse to wear your underwear more than once.”  Come on, really? That’s not even possible. Not true.

In general, do you dress Victoria, or does she dress you?

It’s equal. We’ve been together for 18 years, married for 16. We trust each other’s judgement on everything. I trust her more than I trust my judgement! I’ve never turned around to her and said, “you don’t look good in that; change.” Frankly, it’s hard—very, very hard—for Victoria to look bad in anything. But there are definitely times when I’ve worn things and she’s said, “Nice try, go back upstairs.”

What’s something major that she vetoed?

There was one suit jacket that I bought. It had a pink bra hanging out of the pocket. I don’t know why. This was a while ago. She saw it, and said, “No, sorry, definitely not.” So that one got returned.

Like, you actually took it back to the store?

Of course! Is that the next rumor—we never return clothes?

Oh gosh. Okay. So what’s your favorite thing in Victoria’s closet?

I actually like her wearing jeans and sneakers the best.

Your wife owns sneakers?

She wears our son’s pairs of Converse sometimes. But my favorite is when she wears jeans and a pair of Stan Smiths. I think she looks really cool.

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