If you had to make a list of the 10 essential things you like to keep on your person at all times, what would you choose? Mine would probably include a bottle of Kiehl’s Musk and one of those bright blue, perfectly humongous Ikea FRAKTA shopping bags.
But, if you are one of the famous guys appearing on GQ’s “My Essentials” video series, there may be a statistically or at least anecdotally higher chance that two of your ten items will include: some sort of analog film camera and a nice, old-fashioned book.
It began, as it always seems to, with a post: “industry men find out they’re doing a GQ 10 things i can’t live without interview and go buy a book & film camera,” Wengel Gemu, a student and photographer/designer who lives in LA, tweeted recently. The replies filled in with evidence, featuring screenshots of past guests including, but not limited to, Jacob Elordi, Austin Butler, Paul Mescal, Diego Luna, Joe Alwyn, Manu Rios, Héctor Bellerín, and Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, all holding well-worn (or possibly uncracked) paperbacks and film cameras of every vintage. The underlying suggestion was that, by demonstrating how they like to read and take photographs, these fellas are also conveying that they are hot in a sensitive way, which is, especially by the internet’s standards, the superlative kind of hot.
That said, reading and taking pictures are pretty common hobbies, and including a book or a film camera among a limited list of items that matter to you is a relatively straightforward (and likely genuine!) way to signify that you are a creative person. But as these things go, there is the case to be made that these very normal things are also two more examples of “the sluttiest thing a man can do”: a previous Twitter summit to call out the innocuous (but possibly self-aware) things guys do that others, namely women, perceive as hot, such as wearing a thin gold chain or having a cat. Though, to be sure, the “book and a film camera” thing is not exclusively a gendered phenomenon; on the most recent “My Essentials” episode, actress Sydney Sweeney toted out a disposable camera and a copy of Molly Shannon’s recent memoir.
“For some it may be just a hack, but I feel like it comes across as really endearing to picture [these celebrities] spending their free time learning and documenting,” Gemu, who made the original observation, told me via DM. “When it comes to doing the 10 things, you want a couple to be on the silly side and a couple items that make [you] look sophisticated lolll.” And, well, what’s that saying about throwing stones (or paperbacks, or Contax T4s) in glass houses?