British actor Idris Elba has been named PEOPLE‘s 2018 “Sexiest Man Alive.” He graces the cover on this week’s November issue of the publication, and he is the 33rd man to claim the esteemed title. Idris Elba is also the second black man to be named “Sexiest Man Alive,” after Denzel Washington took it in 1996.
The actor told the publication, “I was like, ‘Come on, no way. Really?'” when he learned that he had been selected. “Looked in the mirror, I 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,” he said.
Idris Elba gained popularity in the U.S. beginning in 2002 on HBO’s hit series The Wire, and eventually became one of the world’s A-list movie actors, starring in blockbuster films like the Avengers and Star Trek franchises, as well as the Oscar-nominated Molly’s Game, amongst others.
The actor also admitted that his early days is a complete contrast to his current status as a sex symbol, revealing that he grew up “tall and skinny” at an all-boys school in London, and had an awkward stage as a youth. “My name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, OK?,” he said. “I got picked on a little bit. But as soon as I could grow a mustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers.”
For more, head on over to PEOPLE for the full story.
Also, this past summer, Idris Elba has confirmed that he is not the next James Bond.