He may have spent the last six years dazzling law enforcement with his psychic abilities on CBS’ hit show The Mentalist, but in real life, Simon Baker is just as clueless as the rest of us when it comes to mind-reading. “I know a couple little things, but nothing that is of any value in my daily life,” he says sheepishly. It’s a sunny day in early May and I’m sitting with the 44-year-old Australian actor in Louisville, Kentucky, where he’s come out to celebrate the 140th Kentucky Derby as the brand ambassador of Longine.
Dressed in a blue suit, grey tie, black horn rimmed glasses and a pink pocket square—a tribute to breast cancer awareness—he’s the perfect mixture of southern charm and LA cool. “Every man should always have an outfit that he feels comfortable in… something that he can wear out,” he explains. ” I had a hard time with this thing,” he adds, pointing at his pocket square, “but I needed something for pink day.”
Before heading out to watch the ponies and judge a charity fashion show with style guru Carson Kressley, Baker chatted with Haute Living about a few of his favorite things: fashion, food and film.
You’re obviously a very stylish guy. What items should every man have in his closet?
Fresh underwear. I happen to like watches, but they aren’t for everyone. I like the idea of wearing something that is incredibly well engineered, but is also an accessory. They’re practical as well.
What is a type of women’s fashion that baffles you?
High-waisted jeans. They look good on about two percent of women, and those women that they look good on, it doesn’t matter what they wear. But, I would say that 80 percent of the time, it’s one of those things where it’s like, fell for the old fashion magazines again!
So many prominent actors have guest starred on The Mentalist. If you could guest star on any TV show, past or present, would what it be?
Is there any actor or director that you’re itching to work with?
I worked with Martin Scorsese on a short film a while ago, but I’d like to work with him on a film again. There are a few foreign directors that I’m really interested in. I’m a fan of cinema so I appreciate well-made films.
Describe the perfect date with your wife, Rebecca Rig?
That depends. If it’s easy, I like to sneak off for a quick one. That sounded a bit suspicious! I mean, sneak off, like, let’s go and have a quick dinner together. I like spontaneity. Sometimes when it’s too organized and planned, there’s an expectation created and it doesn’t feel as easy.
What kind of things do you like to do together?
I like inviting friends over for an impromptu get together. Just wake up on a Sunday morning and have a BBQ. Or if it’s a rainy day in the winter, we’ll have a Sunday roast and invite some people over. I like simple dates too. Like, let’s go for a walk down to this restaurant, and if we feel like it, we’ll eat.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I make pretty good poached eggs. There are a couple little secrets: add a little splash of white vinegar to the water and use fresh eggs.
Since moving to the US, have you incorporated any American lingo into your everyday vocabulary?
I do notice that every now and then I’ll use an American phrase. A lot of people in America use the word “right” to punctuate stuff. Right? And I tend to do that on occasion. I really only notice it when I’m in Australia because all of my mates are like, “Right? What do you mean right?” Here, it’s this sort of punctuating statement.