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Idris Elba may already have received the Order of the British Empire for services to drama, but he has now been crowned the Sexiest Man Alive.

Idris Elba may already have received the Order of the British Empire for services to drama, but he has now been crowned the Sexiest Man Alive.

From his breakthrough role in America as drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell on HBO’s hit series The Wire to his commanding portrayal of the Norse god and Asgardian gatekeeper Heimdall in Marvel’s Thor franchise, the British heartthrob, 46, has become one of Hollywood’s biggest and sexiest stars.

So, what did Elba think when he first heard about his latest title?

“I was like, ‘Come on, no way. Really?’” the actor tells People in a cover story. “Looked in the mirror, checked myself out. I was like, ‘Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.’

“But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise ‒ an ego boost for sure.”

Awkward phase

Elba is People’s 33rd Sexiest Man Alive. He joins a long list of Hollywood’s hottest, starting with Mel Gibson in 1985, to last year’s pick, Blake Shelton.

Though he was an athlete at his all-boys school in London, playing first-string football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby, the actor insists he went through an awkward phase first.

“I was very tall and skinny,” says the 6ft 3ins Elba. “And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, okay? I got picked on a little bit.

“But as soon as I could grow a moustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a moustache, had some muscles, bonkers.”


When he’s not being one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, Elba might be DJing in Ibiza, kickboxing in Thailand, or designing his own clothing line, not to mention planning his wedding to his fiancée, the model Sabrina Dhowre, to whom he proposed in February.

But picking the happiest moment of his life is easy.

“Being witness to the birth of my children is the biggest and best thing ever,” says Elba, who has a 16-year-old daughter, Isan, and a four-year-old son, Winston (both from previous relationships).

“I’m super-doting: big hugs, kisses, lots of love yous. I’m sure my daughter’s like, ‘All right, Dad, chill out.’ My son is still at that age where he loves a cuddle.”

No regrets

As for making a connection, Elba has learned the importance of “eye contact and empathy. You know, sort of reading someone’s vibe,” he says.

“I love being confident, but also I know when to rein it in and just stay humble and grounded.”

For now, the actor strives to live with as few regrets as possible.

“Life isn’t about thinking about what you should have done,” adds Elba, who is currently shooting the Fast and Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw with former Sexiest Man Alive Dwayne Johnson.

“I think everyone should adopt the philosophy that tomorrow is not promised so just go for it today, man. You might as well do it to your heart’s content.”