Jacob Elordi recently opened up about being labeled as gay while pursuing the arts.
Before his breakout role in the 2018 Netflix movie The Kissing Booth, Elordi was a student balancing sports and theater. From the age of 12, his peers constantly made assumptions about his sexuality for his distinctly different passions. The straight actor shared his comments as the cover star for GQ's September 2022 “Hype Issue.”
“From the moment I did a play I was called gay at school,” the Euphoria star told GQ. Elordi, however, was unaffected by his critics. “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,” he said.
His self-assurance helped mature him at a younger age. “I was never worried that my peers would think I was less than a man,” he shared. To spite them, the 25-year-old talks about his experience performing in plays “with the most beautiful women from the school next door, reading the most romantic words ever written.”
Elordi recalled a moment in his early career when he became the target of homophobic bullying for his role as Oberon, the King of the Fairies in the production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His costume and makeup upset his peers for not conforming the manly man they expected him to be.
Never letting his peers’ expectations hold him back, he told the magazine, “When they said I was gay, I remember leaning into the makeup. 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.”
This experience marked a moment in his career. “I started welcoming those kinds of characters. I started welcoming the femininity. I started speaking with my hands. I started really playing the thespian,” he said.
His desire to traverse gender normative expectations fueled his ambition as an 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,” Elordi said. “I’m going to do it, and I’m going to show you that’s bulls**t.”
He added, “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?”