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Being a Teen Idol Made This Actor "Paranoid"

Twenty-five-year-old Jacob Elordi stars in the hit teen drama "Euphoria."

Any rising star who appears in one of the most widely viewed streaming teen rom-coms and follows that up with a buzzy role in a gritty HBO teen drama is going to see their fame skyrocket pretty quickly. That's exactly what happened to Australian actor Jacob Elordi after he starred in Netflix's The Kissing Booth in 2018 and then joined the cast of Euphoria, which premiered in 2019.

In a new interview with GQ, Elordi opened up about becoming a teen idol and why success has its consequences. The 25-year-old actor is trying to separate his personal life from his public image, but being photographed by paparazzi and followed by 13 million people on Instagram can blur that line. Read on to see what Elordi had to say about the paranoia and other negative effects of teen idol-dom he's experienced.

READ THIS NEXT: Former Teen Idol Says She "Was Living a Double Life."

Elordi became famous literally overnight.

Jacob Elordi and Joey King in "The Kissing Booth"
Marcos Cruz / Netflix

GQ's profile of Elordi points out that, because The Kissing Booth was released on Netflix at midnight, the actor actually became famous overnight. He woke up the next morning with four million new Instagram followers.

"I had to go through and delete my high school pictures because that was the Instagram that I used for my life," he explained of the immediate impact the rom-com, which is based on a YA book series and co-stars Joey King, had on his reality. "I wish people could understand how drastic that change was."

He almost walked away entirely.

Jacob Elordi at the 7th Annual Australians in Film Awards in 2018
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Elordi shared in the interview that he considered quitting acting after The Kissing Booth, "which might sound quite sensitive and dramatic, but I am sensitive and I'm very dramatic. I hated being a character to the public. I felt so far from myself."

Clearly, he decided against leaving the business, but he hasn't gotten any more comfortable with being famous.

Elordi said of the first time he was photographed by a paparazzi with someone else, "It felt like, all of a sudden, I was a poster. Like I was a billboard. It felt like it was for sale. Then my brain went through the [expletive] wringer. Like, I wasn't sure if I was genuine. It really skews your view…. It creates a very paranoid way of living."

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He's afraid that being famous is changing him.

The cast of "Euphoria" at the show's premiere in 2019
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Elordi expressed that he is fearful that being a celebrity is making him lose a part of himself or fundamentally changing his true personality.

He added that "the fear" is that "that going on a walk in Byron Bay, at my home, maybe one day that won't hold the same value to me, because I've sanded down all my edges. I have no taste anymore. I have no taste for life. I only know this one way of being, which is smile, and wave, and being graceful all the time, and not feeling anything, and always being the graceful one in a situation, and always knowing what the right thing to do is, and always knowing how to handle myself. I got no idea. I'm 25 years old."

He explained further, "I don't want to lose the entirety of who I was when I was little, and when I grew up, to whatever this—I won't say beast, because it's not at all negative—to whatever this public version of myself is now. I still want to be in touch with my younger self, which is everything that I am."

He followed the example of a famous ex.

Jacob Elordi at the G'Day USA Gala in 2020
DFree / Shutterstock

In a December 2021 interview with Men's Health, Elordi shared similar thoughts about celebrity. He also said that his then-girlfriend, Kaia Gerber, who is the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, inspired him when it came to confronting fame. "She handles herself wonderfully publicly," he said, "and I've learned so much from her about how to handle it, how to deal with it and just kind of be whatever about it, you know?"

He continued, "I just want to be a part of the world. I want to have a life. I want to have the same 80-, 85-year—more or less—experience that everyone has. I don't want to miss anything by sitting on some overly sour pile of candy."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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