The Rock named 'Sexiest Man Alive'

Dwayne Johnson, who is the voice of demigod Maui, and Auli'i Cravalho, the voice of Moana, at the premiere of the Disney film on Monday.
Dwayne Johnson, who is the voice of demigod Maui, and Auli'i Cravalho, the voice of Moana, at the premiere of the Disney film on Monday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • People magazine has named Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, its "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2016, ushering him into an elite group of physically appealing men that over the years has included George Clooney, Matt Damon and David Beckham.

The award is, of course, a naked public relations enterprise, bestowed on a celebrity who is in the throes of promoting a new project.

Johnson is promoting Moana, an animated Disney film opening in the United States on Wednesday and in Singapore on Thursday. He will also co-star in the eighth film of the Fast & Furious franchise next year and a remake of Jumanji (1995), and he has been chronicling daily the filming process of that film on his Instagram account, which has nearly 70 million followers.

He told People: "I'm not quite too sure where we go from here. I've done it all; this is it."

The magazine has been criticised for nearly always choosing a white man for the cover of this issue. But, in Johnson, People chose its first actor of Samoan heritage. In interviews, he has described himself as half-black and half-Samoan. Denzel Washington was the first black actor to hold the title.

Johnson, who is 44 and the father of two girls - Simone, 15, and Jasmine, 11 months - became famous in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a performer with World Wrestling Entertainment.

He later found success in Hollywood with films such as The Mummy Returns (2001) and a spin-off, The Scorpion King (2002). He joined the Fast franchise in 2011 for its fifth film.

This year, according to Forbes magazine, he became the world's highest-paid actor. It may be noteworthy that four of the Top 5 earners - Johnson, Damon, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp - have each been People's Sexiest Man Alive.

At 1.96m and 111kg, Johnson is, physically, one of the largest men ever chosen by the magazine.

Muscle & Fitness magazine once chronicled his daily diet at the height of his bodybuilding regimen: more than 5,000 calories spread over seven meals, including a dozen eggs, a lot of cod and a steak.

In Moana, he voices the demigod Maui, a character that has been criticised as promoting negative stereotypes of Polynesians as overweight.

He is unabashedly populist in his career choices, telling British GQ last summer that he is "in the business of making movies for people".

"And that means people all over the world. Because as soon as you start thinking on a global scale, you are making more people happy, you are making more money, you are making the studios more money, you are making everybody happy."

He also floated the idea of following the model set by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fellow bodybuilder-turned-actor, and perhaps going into politics.

"The thought of being president, is alluring," he said. "And beyond that, it would be an opportunity to make a real impact on people's lives on a global scale."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'The Rock named 'Sexiest Man Alive''. Subscribe