It’s a pretty standard occurrence in Los Angeles, right? Celebrities go out for lunch, they get papped. But not all celebrities. You have to be on the radar. The paps are there to take pictures that they can sell and certain celebrities sell more than others. There was a time when Kumail Nanjiani and people who look like Kumail Nanjiani weren’t bestsellers. Because they weren’t headlines.
As Hollywood is slowly (too slowly) becoming more diverse, however, the paparazzi’s list of celebrities has become ever so slightly more representative. And now that list includes Kumail Nanjiani. A lot of it of course has to do with what he looks like now. As you may have heard, Kumail broke the internet recently because ….
The initial reaction was OMG Kumail is so ripped and so hot! Then the debate kicked in. Some people were disappointed, worrying that Kumail was a “them” now. Like one of the Hollywood pretty people and no longer one of “us”. Others wondered if he would lose his funny now that he’s a hunk. And there were those who thought maybe his glow-up would have a negative impact on his marriage. What do I always say? Gossip is more about our values and expectations and fears.
This isn’t about Kumail. This is about our expectations of people who we’ve already put in certain boxes. This is about projecting our concerns about attraction in a couple, if we were part of that couple.
Anyway, Kumail Nanjiani is now a celebrity who gets papped. He and Emily V Gordon went out for lunch yesterday and even though maybe they were bothered by it, I’m the dick over here who’s kinda happy to see it. Like I said, it didn’t used to be this way in Hollywood where a celebrity originally from Pakistan is a pap target, but this is where we are now. He’s a celebrity of interest because underneath that t-shirt is “dense muscle” (which is how The Rock refers to it) – basically Kumail has become an object of lust. And that’s refreshing too, since conventionally, objects of lust in the west didn’t always look like Kumail Nanjiani.
And besides, it’s not like Kumail doesn’t love talking about this. Did you see his interview with Jimmy Kimmel a few days ago? They talked about his body, they talked a LOT about his body. Because he wanted to talk about it. He was like, f-ck yeah, I worked so hard for this, I know I went viral because of it, I will f-cking talk the sh-t out if this, are you kidding? Keep talking to me about it! Objectify me!
There’s a stereotype here about South Asian and East Asian men that Kumail is subtly attacking. Simu Liu has addressed this too whenever he gets a chance. It’s one of the reasons why Simu posts shirtless photos of himself on Instagram – to show that non-white men are desirable, sexy and sexual, as wallbanger as anyone else.