Icons / December 2019

Jon Hamm Has Something on His Mind

What do we see when we look at Jon Hamm? Don Draper? Hollywood royalty? An ideal of fame and fulfilment made flesh? If we look again, we might find a model of contemporary masculinity…

  • fashion director Grace Gilfeather

  • by Tom Chamberlin

  • photography Nino Muñoz

Blue wool double-breasted suit, Hackett; blue and white striped cotton shirt, brown cashmere tie and white cotton handkerchief, all Budd Shirtmakers; black cotton socks, Pantherella; black leather Oxfords, George Cleverley.

If Jon Hamm’s character in 30 Rock is anything to go by — he plays the impossibly handsome Dr. Drew Baird, whose inadequacies are overlooked because of his pulchritudinous presence — he must have it easy in life. After all, he is a wildly successful actor in both dramatic and comic roles, with at least one iconic character, Mad Men’s Don Draper, to his name. To be fair to Jon, this isn’t an assumption loaded only on his shoulders. Many outside the Hollywood bubble believe that highly paid, beautiful and famous people are living the dream, right?

Sorry to break the illusion, but, at least from Hamm’s perspective, it is demonstrably false. Public sympathy for the rich and famous is particularly low, and only severe breaches of privacy, usually by the press, result in people seeing the human side of what the masses regard as fantasy figures. Perhaps one of the privileges of editing a magazine like this, and interviewing folk like Hamm, is the insight you gain into personalities who are otherwise worshipped and placed on a pedestal.

Hamm has taken the initiative, however, and has spoken out of his own volition. Nothing in our interview, which was unusually open and full of ebullience, is particularly breaking news on the man in question, as he has previously been forthcoming on his demons past and present, an approach that is driven by the enlightened belief that care for your brain is just as vital as any other corporeal care, be it going to the gym, doctor or dentist. Our discussion of men’s mental health and the movies was cathartic, and made this interview not just relevant for the current climate but also important, and it is a pleasure to share it with you.

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