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Jacob Elordi Relished 'Leaning Into ... Femininity' After Schoolmates' Homophobic Digs at His Acting

·2-min read
Jacob Elordi Covers GQ’s First-Ever Hype Issue
Jacob Elordi Covers GQ’s First-Ever Hype Issue

Eli Russell Linnetz/GQ

Jacob Elordi's former bullies only fueled his future passions.

The Euphoria actor, 25, had been a star rugby player before began acting at age 12. He was was cast as Oberon, King of the Faeries, in a production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream — and a young Elordi took pride in embodying the gender-bending character.

"From the moment I did a play I was called gay at school," Elordi told GQ in the magazine's August cover story.

"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 theater," he said. "I felt like I was above it, or it made me feel older. It made me feel wiser."

RELATED: Jacob Elordi on Why Filming His Nude Scenes for Euphoria Are 'Always Weird'

Elordi says he actually doubled down after his schoolmates' taunts. "When they said I was gay, I remember leaning into the makeup," he said. "I was like, if I'm going to be the King of the Fairies, I'm going to be the f---ing hottest King of the Fairies you've ever seen."

He added, "I started welcoming those kinds of characters. I started welcoming the femininity. I started speaking with my hands. I started really playing the thespian."

"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."

Jacob Elordi for GQ
Jacob Elordi for GQ

Eli Russell Linnetz/GQ

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Elordi also felt driven by the homophobic bullying — he wanted to prove his peers wrong and thrive in an acting career, rather than abandon it for more supposedly masculine activities.

"I enjoyed playing the actor," he continued. "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 show you that's bulls---," Elordi said of his personal mission. "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?"

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Elordi has since made a name for himself in Hollywood and landed some plum leading roles, including in three movies of the Netflix The Kissing Booth saga and as Nate Jacobs in HBO's Euphoria — both of which are streaming now.