Actor Jacob Elordi is photographed by Eli Russell Linnetz for GQ The Hype Issue.
Presenting GQ’s first September cover star: Jacob Elordi. The overnight heartthrob opens up to Clay Skipper about his swift rise, the set of #Euphoria, and his cinematic heroes. Read the story and see all the photos by @elirusselllinnetz at gq.com. Styled by @mobolajidawodu.
How Jacob Elordi Became Gen Z’s Leading Man
The door opens to a low-slung house in the California desert town of Twentynine Palms, and there’s Jacob Elordi, draped in a loose linen shirt, unbuttoned past the chest, his six-foot-five frame filling the doorway like he’s on MTV’s Cribs. As he leads me inside, he explains that he’s just back from Europe—he saw the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco and the Rolling Stones in Madrid. But as soon as he landed in L.A., he felt the need to get out again. So the 25-year-old Australian actor hopped in his Range Rover and drove two and a half hours east, out past Joshua Tree, to this rental. “I could live out here,” he says, taking a cross-legged seat on a large white sectional. “It’s lovely. You don’t have to see anyone.”
Euphoria is a show about high school in the way that Drive to Survive is a show about cars. The kids of East Highland High are doing what most of us did as teens—pushing boundaries—but they’re just doing it to the extreme, with a lot more opiates and underboob. It’s thrilling and panic inducing at the same time, and that’s largely because creator Sam Levinson’s neon-and-glitter aesthetic captures just how intense and dramatic high school can feel. Only, it’s even more intense now. For this generation, the anxiety you once felt walking into the cafeteria—that sense of figuring out who you are while everyone’s watching—follows you everywhere there’s Wi-Fi. Euphoria is a show about constructing your identity in a very online world—and the painful process of closing the gap between who you are and who you want to be.
One of his roles involved playing Oberon, the King of the Fairies, in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was excited, he tells me, for the chance to fashion an Oberon that transgressed conventional gender lines. He wore a leather jacket and rings on his fingers. “When they said I was gay, I remember leaning into the makeup,” Elordi says. He wore purple glitter on his face, and spiked hair with pink stripes. “I was like, if I’m going to be the King of the Fairies, I’m going to be the fucking hottest King of the Fairies you’ve ever seen.” The experience was transformative. “I started welcoming those kinds of characters. I started welcoming the femininity. I started speaking with my hands. I started really playing the thespian.”
On the coffee table at the house in Twentynine Palms, there’s a copy of Peter Guralnick’s Elvis biography Last Train to Memphis. Elordi bought it because he saw the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s new Elvis biopic and realized that Presley had also harbored grand Hollywood ambitions.QG redaction.
Watch Euphoria TV Series on HBO Max.
Clay Skipper is a GQ staff writer.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2022 issue of GQ with the title “Jacob’s Ladder”
Photographs By Eli Russell Linnetz
Styling By Mobolaji Dawodu
Hair by Erol Karadag using Oribe
Skin by Holly Silius for Tata Harper
Set design by James Rene
Production by the Studio Venice Beach