By Corey Atad.

Jacob Elordi is confident in himself.

The “Euphoria” star is on the cover of GQ‘s first-ever “Hype” issue, and in it he opens up about starring in the HBO hit and bucking his critics to become an actor.

Some have spoken out about the experience of shooting “Euphoria”, including criticizing creator and director Sam Levinson for long, intense days on set, but Elordi has no problem with that.

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“For me, working on that set is an absolute treat,” he says. “When I’m working with Sam, I’m in the trenches with him, and I trust him, and I work myself to the bone for him. I think I’ve read people saying, ‘Look, that’s a bad image to set, you shouldn’t have to work yourself to the bone for art.’ F**k that. I enjoy it.”

While Elordi explains that he doesn’t intend to minimize the experience of others, he does feel that the elements that have made the show successful come from the intense style of production.

“What everyone’s seeing on television, the shots that people are talking about, the feelings that they get, the conversation that’s around the show, that’s because certain shots take 30-something takes,” he says.

Elordi’s passion for acting began at age 12. Throughout school, he maintained a life both as an actor and an athlete, playing on his school’s rugby team, which helped him feel secure when other kids said he was effeminate and questioned his sexuality.

“From the moment I did a play I was called ‘gay’ at school,” the actor recalls. “But I had this abundance of confidence in myself. Because I could do both: I was quite good at sport and I think I was quite good at theatre. I felt like I was above it, or it made me feel older. It made me feel wiser. I never was worried that my peers would think that I was less than a man. And also, there’s the classic thing of, I was doing plays with girl schools. I’m spending my weekends with the most beautiful women from the school next door, reading the most romantic words ever written.”

He also shares how he dealt with claims about his sexuality while starring as the Fairy King Oberon in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“When they said I was gay, I remember leaning into the makeup,” Elordi says. “I was like, if I’m going to be the King of the Fairies, I’m going to be the f**king hottest King of the Fairies you’ve ever seen…. I started welcoming those kinds of characters. I started welcoming the femininity. I started speaking with my hands. I started really playing the thespian.”

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He adds, “I enjoyed playing the actor. I stepped away from beer culture and from sport culture, and I was like, ‘Well, if you think this is gay, I’m going to be who I am when I was your friend, which is this hetero guy, but I’m going to play the arts. I’m going to do it, and I’m going to show you that’s bulls**t.’ I could never understand, how could you label anything, ever? How could you label sport as masculine? How does your sexuality inform your prowess as an athlete, or your prowess as a performer?”

Talking about his recent rise to fame, Elordi says, “I don’t want to lose the entirety of who I was when I was little, and when I grew up, to whatever this—I won’t say beast, because it’s not at all negative—to whatever this public version of myself is now. I still want to be in touch with my younger self, which is everything that I am. I don’t want to look at everything from the outside. I want to be in it. I want to see it all from my eyes.”

Read the full cover story “How Jacob Elordi Became Gen Z’s Leading Man” by Clay Skipper in GQ’s Hype issue and on GQ.com


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Ellen Bullock