#shaveup #smoothup

Former Bear Israel Idonije is coaching men how to #smoothup and #shaveup he is also single and ready to mingle

Friday, July 29, 2016 Elaine Rau

If you don't already know who Israel Idonije is then let me introduce you. He is a 6'6'' 275lb hunk of a man who just retired from the Chicago Bears a year ago and is already a successful business man partnering up with global brands!

I had the opportunity to interview him about his views and approach on etiquette, dating, style, his personal style, his background, and his new partnership with BIC Flex, which is a must-have razor for all men who are serious about looking smooth! #smoothup #shaveup 


Q: Tell us a little about your childhood.
A: I was born in Nigeria and moved to Canada when I was four. I played football for the first time when I was 17.

Q: What was your dream career as a child?
A: My goal at 13 was to play basketball for the Chicago Bulls, to be a child psychologist, and to be a veterinarian because I love dogs.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: Understand who you are as a person, your skills, gifts, and abilities, things that you love and don't love, what you stand for and what you don't. When you know who you are, you know how you fit into your community and how you relate and connect to those around you. Once you know those things - put a plan together. Think, this is who I am today and this is where I want to be tomorrow and how do I become the best version of myself. At the end of the day, everything in our lives is based on relationships, people who have great relationships are accelerated through life because they want to see you succeed and add value to your life. The most important part of a great relationship is the ability to communicate. If you can articulate what is going on internally and express that externally to the people around you, that will ultimately be the cornerstone of whatever you do in your life.


Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about creating, whether it is a plan to help guys be more smooth or building an adventure park such as the one that we are opening next month in Missouri. I am all about the creative process and it really parallels to sport - you put a team together, put a plan together, you execute the plan, you win. I like winning.

"I am all about the creative process and it really parallels to sport - you put a team together, put a plan together, you execute the plan, you win."

Q: What business ventures do you have going on now?
A: I have a manufacturing business for church supplies, co-working space, digital company, fitness apparel line, and comic book, among various other things and am working with BIC now promoting their Flex5 razor.

Q: Tell us a little about your partnership with BIC.
A: The way you present yourself, the way you communicate, the way you look, all these things factor into how somebody engages with you and ultimately is the framework and foundation of how somebody will ultimately treat you and what kind of relationship you will have with that person. I think the beauty of this partnership is sharing the important message that presentation of self is critical to how other people engage and read you - so smooth up and shave up!

Q: Did you use the BIC Flex5 this morning?
A: I did! It is important to be clean shaven in order to represent that best version of yourself. BIC has made a commitment to being a part of the story that is "bringing the gentleman back", not just to the Chicago, but to men across the country. It is about advancing oneself and being smooth, being clean, your appearance is a major part of that.

Q: What has been hard for you post career?
A: The only thing that I have to fight through is working out like I used to and the fact that I am not working towards going against a 350lb guy. I have to psychologically pretend that I am getting ready for a season when I am not.


Q: What does good etiquette mean to you?
A: Good etiquette is rooted in the philosophy of putting others first. Generally, if you start with that premise of 'let me serve' as far as etiquette you will be well positioned. At the end of the day, it is about just being thoughtful of others around you.

"Good etiquette is rooted in the philosophy of putting others first."

Q: Why are you sporting the beard look now?
A: Well, I am recently retired and I haven't been able to grow a beard because you can't when you have to put a chin strap on. I have been growing mine since January 1, 2016 and my goal is to grow it out until the end of the year.

Q: According to the survey taken by BIC Flex about Chicago men (*survey attached at the end of the article): Why do you think scruff beat out the beard?
A: A full beard takes a lot of maintenance. You have to comb it everyday and put beard oils in it every day to keep it smooth.

Q: What beard oil do you use?
A: I use 100% organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is also a great lotion.

Q: How can men get smooth like you? Can you create a manual for them to follow?
A: It's about transformation internally and externally. The first thing people see is your outward appearance so the first part of the manual would be a shaving manual about the 101 shaving techniques for men. Step two of the manual would be the internal side which will include three sections: Confidence, Connection, and Control. The first part of Confidence would be directions on how to build it, followed by Connection and learning how to be articulate and direct, and the final piece would be Control, because it is important for a gentleman to be in control - the situation should never control him.

1. External - Shaving Techniques 101
2. Internal - How to Build Character
   a. Confidence - How to Build Confidence
   b. Connection - How to Direct Conversation
   c. Control - How to Control the Situation


Q: How did you decide on what to wear today?
A: I am big on comfort. Whatever you wear you want to be comfortable in it. Fortunately I have a great tailor and the stuff I wear is made for my comfort.

Q: What is your favorite color?

A: Red, all my suit jackets have a red focused interior.


Q: How would you set up a first date?
A: I would be the one to set up the date and have it all planned out for her. I am a theatre guy and think that going to a show would be a great first date, probably dinner first then a show. During dinner we would have the opportunity to get to know each other and have a deeper level of conversation and see if that connection is there. A first date should be exploring to see if that person is in the same sphere as you, but above all it should be fun. It should be something you walk away thinking, "that was a fun night."

Q: What would be a show that you would bring someone to?
Wicked because it is a classic or Newsies is actually my favorite musicals of all time. I would stay away from something like Les Miserables because it is too intense for a first date!

Q: Where would you bring a date for dinner?
A: Depending on what that person's cuisine was, if it was a steakhouse I would probably go to Benny's Chophouse. I would pick somewhere light, great environment, and great energy. We would enjoy a great dinner, watch a great show, and then drop her off at home.

Q: What do you look for in a woman you were interested in to date?
A: I am looking for someone who has passion. I don't care what it is that she is doing, but that person's life cannot be surrounded and focused by what I have going on. She needs to have her own drive and passions and I want to be her biggest cheerleader. I have been on some dates that the clarity of who they are and what they want to be isn't there and I think long term that will be challenging especially for me because I am very clear as to my goals.

"She needs to have her own drive and passions and I want to be her biggest cheerleader."

Q: What are your pet peeves?
A: I am a very organized person. If you look in my fridge, I only have liquids on my top shelf. But when it comes to dating there will be compromise on both sides so that would be something easy to change.

Q: Share an embarrassing (dating) moment that happened to you recently.
A: I was out and offered to buy this girl a drink, but this place did not accept any cards. So I was like "Listen I got it" but when I went into my wallet, I didn't have any cash and there was no ATM close so she ended up having to buy the drinks. That was the opposite of the plan and but thankfully she looked at me as was like "No, I got it."

Q: How do you receive love (*according to the 5 love languages link below)?
A: Understanding someone's love language and also accepting someone's love language is critical to having a successful relationship. Physical touch and words of affirmation (communication) are the ways I receive love.

Q: How do you give love (*according to the 5 love languages link below)?
A: Acts of service because I am a provider, words of affirmation (communication), and physical touch.

Q: What are your dating tips for gentleman trying to find a serious relationship? 
A: Put your phone away. Make it through the date without texting, which is a simple thing that we just have to do, which will help in not only getting a date but also setting the grounds for success. You need to give yourself a chance. If you don't really give it a chance, it doesn't have a chance.

Below is a picture of Israel and I! It could be you standing beside him next - he is single and ready to mingle ladies!


Q: If you had to choose between being smart or happy what would you choose and why? 
A: Happy without a doubt. I am a journey guy, it is all about the people that you are on the journey with, and it is about enjoying it with those people.

Q: What makes you happy?
A: Winning. I love when the people around me, the people I love, are all achieving in whatever the individual deems as successful. At the end of the day, I find joy in that and find pride in even being a part of that process - that is what a team represents. A win for you is ultimately a win for everyone on the team.

Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: Failure. The fear of failure is what drives me. Through my football career I would envision that the guy I was going against would have the best game of his life so I was driven by that fear and would run more, and push myself harder. Fear can be a good thing and can be the fuel to drive your success.

"Fear can be a good thing and can be the fuel to drive your success."

Q: Tell us a story about something close to your heart.
A: A story that I found very emotional was a number of years back now. We were in Africa and a mother came to us because her daughter was dying because she had blood pumping through her heart to her lungs. There was a group called the Heart Gift Foundation that was going to do the surgery for the girl in Texas, even though it wasn't our original initiative to do this, but we put the money together to fly this young girl to Texas so she would be able to get the surgery done. All the media coverage around that event was great, but the emotional part for me was when she came to Chicago. I got to see this young girl's life that had been completely transformed. I actually ran up and down Solider Field with her and the experience of being a part of this young girl's life and seeing her from being this really docile kid that could not run and get her heart pumping because it would be detrimental for her health to becoming this kid who you couldn't get to sit still. That was an incredible moment and I was appreciative to be a small part of this girl's story. And our stories will be forever connected because we just happened to be in this village in the middle of nowhere in Nigeria and her mother began to beg and plead to see if we could do anything to help save her daughter's life and now she is going to go on and do something incredible. These kind of experiences are the ones that are most heartfelt to me. Because of Heart Gift Foundation's commitment to this girl, we were as a team able to transform her life. That is a story that I will forever hold dear. I have a picture of her in my office. These are the things that really remind me of what is this journey about.


Q: What do you like to do during your free time?
A: I am always thinking about and working on new projects, but if you mean when I don't do anything then I watch a lot of movies. I am like a Netflix binge watcher.

Q: What kind of movies do you like watching?
A: Typically action and super hero type movies.


Q: What would you like to say to our readers?
A: The world needs more gentlemen so once you go through the manual and need more specific advice you can hit me up!

For more information about the BIC Flex5 you can contact Passion Hemphill at phemphill@c-k.com or their website at http://bicflexrazors.com/
*For more information about the 5 love languages: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
*For more information about the survey that was referenced email me at elainehilaryrau@gmail.com and I can send it to you!

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