I don’t really remember there being famous people who looked like me when I was growing up. Maybe that’s why I thought Aladdin, an animated cartoon, was weirdly attractive. He was brown (kinda pale, but still)! He was snarky! He had charisma! He was one of the very few options I had available to me, aside from Omar Sharif, who don’t get it wrong, is fine as hell, but even as a child I knew the hotness of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl was decades in the past. But um, if we’re talking about Omar Sharif, I might as well drop these in here:
OK, ANYWAY! So given the limited options of an Orientalist Disney character and a heartthrob from years ago, let me tell you, I’ve been ready for a hot brown guy in my life. Enter Riz Ahmed. I mean, holy, fucking, shit, Riz Ahmed. Immensely talented, insightful and articulate, willing to speak about his life experiences and those of marginalized communities, involved in advocacy for Syrian refugees and other disenfranchised groups, and able to seem perfectly at home onstage as Riz MC or onscreen in both little-seen indies like Four Lions, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and cult favorite Nightcrawler, as well as franchise films like Jason Bourne and Venom. Plus, you know, so pretty.
THE WAY HE BUTTONS HIS SUIT JACKET.
THAT VERY WELL-DESERVED EMMYS WIN FOR THE NIGHT OF.
THE JOY OF SEEING HIM IN ROGUE ONE, PLAYING THE WONDERFULLY NAMED BODHI ROOK.
THAT TIME HE WAS GOOFY AND ADORABLE AND MY HEART BURST.
THE WAY HE KEEPS REPPING FOR MIDDLE EASTERN, SOUTH ASIAN, AND MUSLIM COMMUNITIES.
REMEMBER THAT TIME HE WAS ON GIRLS? I STILL DIDN’T WATCH THAT SHIT, BUT GOOD FOR YOU, BUDDY.
ONCE HE LOOKED LIKE THIS.
ANOTHER TIME HE LOOKED LIKE THIS.
THIS IS TOO MUCH. I MEAN. WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION?
I rest my case. Riz Ahmed for Pajiba 10. Do it for the culture.
[Header photo and various other images courtesy of Getty]