Every day and in every neighborhood, Angelenos are surrounded by actors and models with movie-star looks and confidence to match. They’re making your lattes! They’re jogging next to you at the gym! They’re at your farmers market buying gluten-free baguettes!
Attractive women – scratch that, most women are used to being ogled and objectified. But what about super handsome men — the Brad Pitts of the world? How do they experience life?
What is it like when you’re everyone’s type?
According to 35-year-old actor and producer Danny Hamouie, “There were definitely times where I got invited to parties where a lot of recognizable faces would be there and it’s like, ‘Yeah come in.’ And there's people clamoring outside to get in, and I'm just walking in with people.”
Hamouie is 6’3’’ with dark hair, green eyes, and lips a Real Housewife would pay thousands for. I decided to bravely take on the harrowing task of interviewing him and a few other extremely good-looking actors in LA, inspired to investigate this topic after recognizing my downstairs neighbor, actor Spencer Neville, on the TV show The Sex Lives of College Girls.
On the show, Neville – age 33, Southern drawl, bright blue eyes, body of a Soul Cycle instructor who takes no days off – plays a hot bully who is allergic to wearing shirts.
When I asked Neville if I could interview him about his looks, he didn’t seem particularly surprised, but, he says, “a little embarrassed”: “I don’t see myself like that. I've wanted for a lot of my career to be taken seriously as an actor. So then if it's just about my looks, it makes me uncomfortable.”
But still….Neville acknowledges there are benefits.
“I get free clothes a lot, and free shoes, and things like that,” he said. “There's definitely times that I've been at a bar and a girl walks up – or a guy if they don't know that I'm straight – and hands me a drink and proceeds to hit on me.”
Hamouie’s been there. His looks are so captivating that women will resort to ridiculous tricks to get his attention. He recalls a recent night out at a bar with a friend, when a woman he’d never met “was sending little paper airplanes from napkins over. I was just like, ‘What is happening?’” Hamouie says he ignored her and left the bar, “but she found my friend's Instagram and then found me and DMed me and asked me for coffee.”
For the record, the approach worked – kinda. Hamouie says the two are now friends.
Besides easily coasting through velvet ropes, the freebies, and the phone numbers, there’s a dark side, too.
Going into these conversations with men who began modeling and acting in their teens, I expected to hear stories of sexual harassment, groping, being preyed upon. And they all had some variation of those experiences.
For Neville, it started when he was really young and was learning martial arts.
“I was doing a bunch of push-ups and sit-ups so I had abs as a 9-year-old,” he recalls. “For years, I would go around and that would be people's way of introducing me: ‘Oh my God, here’s my friend, my neighbor, my son, look at his abs!’ It would be a weird thing for me as a kid … that my appearance is what is being commented on. That experience of people literally coming and lifting my shirt … it felt weird.”
Hamouie also experienced inappropriate interactions with adults, such as when he was working at the front desk of a tennis club in high school and a middle-aged woman came in and flirted with him.
“There was always some little remark,” he says. “‘You look so handsome today,’ and then one day she straight-up asked me how old I was. And she's like, ‘You're a little too young, but we could have had fun.’”
Another man I spoke with named Steve, who didn’t want his last name used so he could speak candidly, told me stories of working in retail stores where managers regularly commented on his body. Steve is a blond, blue-eyed beach babe who has a real Ambercrombie model vibe.
Steve also confessed to weaponizing his appearance when he was younger.
In his 20s, he played in a band, and women would throw themselves at him, he says. And he didn’t exactly treat them with the utmost respect. He engaged in typical F-boy behavior: not calling back, seeing multiple women at once, ghosting.
By the way, Steve wanted me to know that after some therapy, he’s changed his ways and is now in a healthy committed relationship.
The hunks I interviewed also told me it wasn’t just relationships with women that get complicated. Being super-handsome sometimes affects friendships with other men, too.
Hamouie says he used to have a buddy who was super competitive with him. Any time they would go out together at night, “he was always trying to cut me down and say embarrassing things about me. It was always in banter, but I knew what he was doing. I was like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to steal this girl.’ I have a sense of humor, so I would play along with it, [but] it got to a point where he started trying to sabotage work relationships. And I was like, ‘Oh, you're actually not a friend of mine.’”
Eric Aragon, 42 – chiseled cheekbones, dark hair and eyes, and Popeye-style arm muscles – experienced similar aggression from men, especially when he was in high school.
“A lot of the guys were the same, the girls would talk about me and then the guys would hear about it. And they would instigate wanting to fight, wanting to find reasons to not like me, maybe to justify their perspective on things,” Aragon says.
Being around handsome guys can make women feel insecure too. You have to be confident to have a male partner who gets hit on all the time and is always the center of attention. Hamouie has had ex-girlfriends get jealous if he even spoke to another woman.
“They could see that the other girl was smiling a little bit too hard, or did something I didn't even notice, like she touched my elbow,” he says. “Where on my end, I was literally just talking and laughing and then being like, ‘All right, nice to meet you,’ and like walking away.”
Hearing Hamouie’s anecdote made me laugh because it reminded me of a time I was chit-chatting with Neville in our building. In my head, I was like, “OMG, he’s totally flirting with me!” But then later that day when I replayed the conversation, I realized, no, he actually wasn’t. He was just TWH (Talking While Handsome). My bad!
Being kind and polite while having symmetrical features is a dangerous business. People project all kinds of things on you – including competence.
Hamouie admits that he’s gotten opportunities because of his pretty privilege.
“I might have gotten certain jobs, or met people, because of the way I look,” he says. “But I stuck that essential [job] interview because of who I am and what I've developed on the inside.”
Similarly, Steve told me that he thinks he got his current job, which he’s thriving in, partly because of his looks. There were very specific qualifications for Steve’s position in law enforcement and he didn’t have them. His theory is that because the job is extremely public-facing, they wanted someone with a nice face.
On the other hand, Aragon, who is an actor, finds that his leading man looks can make his job even more challenging. “I'm competing with top-tier, handsome-quality type people [for roles]. So I can't really play regular roles, I can't play a valet guy or taxi driver or school teacher.”
Everyone I spoke with was aware that their appearance has made a difference in everything from dating to jobs. But no one wants to be considered just a pretty face.
Neville sums up the experience of being a 10 thusly: “Free shit’s cool but getting groped ain’t!”