A love letter to Timothée Chalamet

Timothée Chalamet. You’ve most likely heard the name before and you’ve probably seen the face feature in your Instagram feed… multiple times.

Perhaps he was wearing an ornately crafted suit, or was on a yacht with Lilly-Rose Depp, or was photoshopped with an abundance of peaches around his head.

Regardless, the French-speaking, anthropology student turned actor has won a legion of fans globally and it isn’t an exaggeration to say that mass hysteria follows him both online and in the flesh.

It even has its own name: Chalamania.

So, why does this one actor alone inspire such global adoration? It’s difficult not to become curious or even to become a fan yourself.

Don’t believe the hype? Prepare to be proven wrong.

To state the obvious, his talent as an actor is quite extraordinary. The diversity of roles he has brought to life on screen is a feat in itself, from playing the too-cool-for-school teenage boy in Lady Bird to portraying a youthful Henry V in The King.

And yes, many might argue that this is the job of a professional actor and if they cannot do this then they should consider a career change. But what sets Chalamet apart is the seamlessness with which he moves from each role, traceable back to his laidback persona and enigmatic charm that’s so often on display.

It’s a truly admirable skill that some have even compared to a young Leonardo di Caprio at the height of his Titanic and Romeo and Juliet fame.

At 23 years old, Chalamet is already an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee, and is one of the youngest actors in history to have achieved this.

Having worked on the stage, on television and in film, it seems he’s able to do it all without jarring show-goers at any step of the way.

There’s also his foray into fashion with his blossoming bromance with Off White’s Virgil Abloh and that silver Haider Ackermann suit that broke the internet at the Venice Film Festival in September.

While many opt for a simple and streamlined tailored tuxedo for red carpet events, Chalamet experiments with designers by flirting with ideas of traditional suiting.

Take the bedazzled gunmetal grey harness fitted over an all-black ensemble at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards. The head-to-toe Louis Vuitton ensemble was finished with Cartier accessories including four bracelets and two rings, alongside his signature tousled brown locks.

It was unlike anything else seen on the carpet and it appears this is the way Chalamet prefers his formal dressing.

He isn’t immune to a simple suit – although that simple suit is often covered in florals or geometric print – but the sheer fact that he encourages the designers dressing him to create something strikingly against the tide only endears a whole other audience to hold a candle for him.

Tie-dyed overalls over a matching button up shirt? Sure, why not. An electric blue matching set with Cuban heeled boots? Sign him up. Red-and-white striped trousers remnant of a 1950s-ice cream parlour operator? Fully embraced.

Not to mention Chalamet’s refusal to sit idle in the face of wrongdoing.

After working with Woody Allen on A Rainy Day in New York, Chalamet became the first high-profile male actor to renounce support for the director, who has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations from his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

Chalamet announced he would be donating his entire salary to three charities: Time’s Up, which promotes safe and equal work for women in the workplace; the LGBT Center in New York City; and RAINN, the rape, abuse and incest national network.

“I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all the people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” Chalamet said in an Instagram post in January 2018.

He’s also talked about how accepting a job in Hollywood is no longer about the role as an individual criterion but also about those with whom the actor is actively choosing to work with.

“I am learning that a good role isn’t the only criteria for accepting a job—that has become much clearer to me in the past few months, having witnessed the birth of a powerful movement intent on ending injustice, inequality and, above all, silence.”

With Chalamet starring in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, slated for a January 2020 release, prepare yourselves for a whole lot more #Chalamania to come.

Because, really, none of us can complain about an actor who can rock a bold red-carpet ensemble and barrack for incredibly noteworthy charities all while flexing his undeniably impressive acting chops.

Image by Rachael Sharman