Every year, People Magazine dedicates an entire spread to its chosen “Sexiest Man Alive.” Former winners have included Chris Evans (ew), Paul Rudd (fair), and Michael B. Jordan (beyond acceptable). This year, People named Patrick Dempsey as its 2023 pick. Now, I have zero beef with Dempsey, in fact, I’m actually quite a big fan of the man—specifically, I’m a big fan of his hair in both Enchanted and the McDreamy years.
That being said, I thought it was only apt that I nominate my own choice, particularly because the median age of a People Magazine reader has to be around 42, no offence. But my pick isn’t just based on sex appeal and good hair, that’s of course an important factor, however, what I’m really looking at is which man truly bossed 2023 in a way that a lot of other men just didn’t, Dempsey included.
And so, naturally, I chose everyone’s favourite chef, Jeremy Allen White.
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It’s undeniable that White had one hell of a good year—that is, of course, if we’re omitting his very painful divorce from childhood sweetheart Addison Timlin. But, you know, aside from that, the actor had a killer 12 months.
White went from a relatively unknown TV actor, starring in the US version of Shameless, to picking up a Golden Globe for his role in The Bear and getting hand-selected for roles in blockbuster movies, notably the upcoming flick The Iron Claw, which features Zac Efron and focuses on the Von Erich brothers who were legendary wrestlers in the 1980s.
While it’s relatively normal for someone with a viral show to be put under the media’s microscope, I would argue that the buzz surrounding White is on a whole other level. For one, the actor seems to very delicately and successfully tread the line between celebrity and normal individual. Unfazed by fame, the 32-year-old definitely appears far more invested in inhabiting his roles and committing to his work than making headlines or picking up accolades.
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In many ways, he gives off real Jeremy Strong energy. When Strong’s show Succession was trending and everyone and their nan had an obsession with the character Kendall Roy, Strong gave off a very similar air of ‘commitment to the job’ as opposed to ‘obsession or interest with fame.’ I think, for a lot of people, this attitude normalises the actor in such a way that we find ourselves instinctively rooting for their success.
Also, we mere mortals are creatures of curiosity, so if you try and hide your personal life from the public, best believe that netizens will spend an inappropriate amount of time being absolutely consumed with trying to find out just about everything they can. I’ve personally found myself participating in this fanatic pastime.
This fascination has of course led to the countless dating rumours that have surrounded White. Who is he dating? Did he have a fling with Rosalía or do they both just really enjoy farmers’ markets? Why did he split from his ex-wife, and can he actually cook? These are questions that we need answered. Being elusive is sexy, okay? There’s no two ways about it.
Finally, White’s allure spans across generations, it spans across genders—he’s a damn universal treasure. Again, his humility attracts older film and TV lovers, and his sweet demeanour and floppy curls attract, well, everyone else.
It should also be mentioned that White perfectly slots into the ‘ugly hot’ category, a group that just knows how to tickle gen Z girlies everywhere.
We salute you, Jeremy. Dempsey might be People Magazine’s man of the year on paper, but you’re 2023’s man of the year in our hearts.