I Met Puss in Boots!

It's hard to say which of Antonio Banderas's swashbuckling characters is most memorable. To me, he will always be the sexy Zorro bandit, stealing away into the night with a corseted woman slung onto the back of his horse. Yummy. I have had the pleasure of meeting Señor Banderas a few times before (at industry events, claro, it’s not like I’m a fixture at his home in Spain, chatting with Melanie about how crazy it is that her breakout movie Working Girl was filmed over 20 years ago).

But at last week's celebratory launch for his newest fragrance line, The Secret, he looked a bit different than I had remembered. He's older, but he wears his years well. His hair is now a salt-and-pepper blend, but his face is still openly expressive and eager to smile. And he was as warm and charismatic as ever, talking (in that adorable Puss-in-Boots way!) about the work he does with Puig, the Spanish company with which he develops his fragrances, and about his charity efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This is where his true passion lies—in humanitarian commitments that plainly influence his work, even in fragrance. He often donates portions of the proceeds from his fragrances to Broadway Cares.

Oh, and The Secret actually smells pretty spectacular, too. It is by far my favorite of Antonio Banderas Seductive Fragrances. Why? I don't really know. It just smells like a grown-up, dignified, crazy-sexy man.