For someone who’s not afraid to get a little dirt under his nails, John Abraham looks remarkable fresh even without a stitch of make-up. He attributes this to his training as a model, saying, “When we were models, we were always running from auditions to shows and so, we were always exposed to the sun and the grime. At that time, I felt that actors were a very insulated bunch because they had the luxury of travelling by AC cars.”
The new face of the Garnier Men’s range admits that a senior choreographer gave him the best, if not the whackiest advice he had ever heard. “He told me to sleep during the day, and go out only at night since most of my assignments were in the night. It sounded crazy to me then, but now the only form of make-up that I need even while shooting is sunscreen,” he grins.
So was he always this confident? “Hardly,” he laughs, “I grew up like any other guy with typical guy problems. When I was a teenager, I had a severe acne problem and I’d pray to God everyday to take it away.”
While we try to digest the image of a shy John, he continues, “I’ve had a typical middle class upbringing. I don’t wear chains or accessories, I never wore a watch and now I only do so on occasion you’ll rarely see me in anything apart from my slippers. Minimalist and without excess baggage — that’s my bohemian philosophy in life.”
Despite his admissions, it’s obvious that the insecure teenager with bad skin has been left far behind. “It’s a journey that I’ve travelled and now, though I’m confident about my looks, I still clam up when I meet other actors. I’ve spent most of my life being a middle class guy. I still look at actors the way everybody else does. That’s why I only have a few friends in the industry.”
His introverted nature even prompted someone to ask why he doesn’t socialise. “I’m proud that the acting community has accepted me so graciously, but I’m happy with the four close friends who’ve been with me since kindergarten. They’re the only ones who I am completely open with. Otherwise, I still start gawking and smiling like a fool when people compliment me.”
Speaking of compliments, which one made him turn the deepest shade of red? He replies without missing a beat, “I went to the gym early one morning and my trainer comes up to me and says, ‘ Oh John, you’re looking very plum on both your cheeks.’ And all the women around me dissolved into laughter.”
So he’s obviously unperturbed by male attention. “I love every compliment, I’m human after all,” he deadpans. “But these ones stay with me because they’re so unintended.”
When you’re constantly hailed as one of the hottest men in the world, doesn’t it get difficult not to develop an inflated ego?
“My family and friends act as my reality checks because they’re totally unaffected by my fame,” he explains. “I do get a lot of attention but it’s very important to respect every compliment.” John admits that having spent much of his life slogging for his money and worrying about his salary has eliminated all illusions of grandeur.
Simply put, his connect lies in the fact that despite looking like a Greek god, he is a perfect representation of the common man.
“I make myself very accessible so people feel like they can come up to me. I once had a middle-aged lady asking me for fitness advice because she had a knee problem. After I assured her that she could exercise on the treadmill without fear, she started walking like she had conquered the world,” he recalls.
Speaking of the fairer sex. There’s no doubt that those dimples make women swoon so who was the first woman to capture John’s heart? “My third grade teacher Mrs. Anand.” He grins.