For Ryan Phillippe, life in the spotlight started early. With an unimpeachable status as one of the original heartthrobs, Phillippe has been famous for quite some time, and to our surprise, you would never know it.
We met up on an uncharacteristically overcast day in Beverly Hills, where we snuck away from the hustle and bustle of Rodeo Drive to meet Phillippe in his newest venture, Mexican steakhouse restaurant The Hideaway. Complete with vintage decor and twinkling string lights, the quiet ambiance felt like we had been transported out of Los Angeles to a world of old-school charm and cozy Baja style. Through a maze of welcoming booths and handmade pottery, Phillippe emerged with a charming smile, “Hey guys,” he held out his hand, “I’m Ryan.”
Sporting blue jeans and armed with unruffled confidence, the actor put everyone at ease, launching into small talk and casual laughter that lasted the duration of the shoot and into our interview. Sitting down with the celebrity and entrepreneur, we dove into all things Ryan, what drove him into the spotlight, how he tackles challenges, and what he hopes comes next.
“My story is kind of one of those silly stories you can’t believe actually happened,” Ryan starts with a chuckle, “I grew up in Delaware, as far outside of the industry as you could possibly be, and had no connections whatsoever. I was getting a haircut when I was 13 years old and a woman approached my mother and asked if I had ever thought about doing commercial modeling,” he explains. “My mom knew that I had had fantasies as a kid about acting, but it had seemed so unrealistic because I come from a lower-middle-class family in Delaware. So we went up to Philadelphia, and I started with this agency there, and then eventually got a manager and started auditioning in New York, and it kind of went from there.”
I learn that Ryan is the kind of guy who is always looking for a new skill to master or a new challenge to take on, something that guided his career from day one. “When I was very young, I was at home sick and I watched a movie Paul Newman made in the sixties called Cool Hand Luke, and I was struck by it on so many levels that I asked to go to the library to get books about acting. I took out a few different books by famous acting teachers Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and people like that, and started reading. Early in my career, like the modeling stuff never felt right to me or comfortable, it felt silly,” he explains. For Phillippe, acting clicked immediately.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN RUSSO
WORDS BY EMMA UNGARO
GROOMING BY STEPHANIE HOBGOOD
ALL WARDROBE BY BUGATCHI –BUGATCHI.COM