Back in the day, before he was known as the baby mama-ditching corrections officer John Bennett on Orange Is the New Black or the douche-y Asher Millstone on How to Get Away with Murder, Matt McGorry was just a guy I went to college with, albeit a very good-looking, talented, super-nice, bodybuilding guy. But still, just a guy.
These days, Matt is cruising the Emmys red carpet like it’s NBD, schooling his 1.2 million Instagram followers about the importance of feminism and enjoying life as a mega-famous TV actor. Watching from afar, I can see why so many fans are professing their love for him, writing “MARRY ME, MATT!!!” in their retweets. And in talking to him recently, I can tell you—the guy deserves every single ounce of infatuation. He’s just that awesome and (phew!) down-to-earth.
Here, the 11 reasons Matt McGorry has WH fan-girling all over the place.
“I think the principles that I have always lived by and my personality traits are what have allowed me to now identify so heavily with various social problems, including feminism. But it wasn’t until seven months ago, when I read Cheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, that I realized there’s a lot of gender inequality that I wasn’t aware of. And then, reading the definition of the word ‘feminism’ and realizing that it so simply means believing in the equality of the genders. For me, that was enough. And after Emma Watson addressed the U.N. and gave a call to action, I knew from that moment forward that it was something I was going to get behind and learn about. It’s really been an incredible journey. I think about it every day, and I’ll try to keep the conversation going on social media and see if I can get it where it needs to go.”
“Maternity leave should be a common thing. We need to support the idea that, if a women wants to take time off after having a child, or if a man wants to, they should be able to have that option. I think that’s very important, and it allows for people to consider things very differently.”
“I don’t think that there’s a bunch of old, white men saying we should pay women this exact percentage of what men make. But in the way our culture communicates and in our inherent biases, we are limiting women in terms of their career pursuits, and all of that starts from the ground up.”
“I feel so fortunate that the two shows that I’ve been a part of have not only been creatively groundbreaking and really well-received, but also history-making—they’re breaking the mold from what television has been for a long time. At the Emmys, two women from my shows made history: Uzo Aduba and Viola Davis. It was just incredible. And Viola is such a smart and well-spoken, eloquent person—there’s no one better-suited for the role and character of Annalise Keating, but also to speak about the opportunities for black women in television, which has been an issue.”
“We all joke around [on the set of HTGAWM]. The day after the Emmys, we were filming, and Viola forgot her lines. We’re like, “Oh, really? You win one Emmy and you can’t remember your lines?!”
“I haven’t been in too many [shows], but apparently it’s not on every show where the creator, Peter Norwalk, e-mails you to ask what you think of the storyline, what parts should go, what ideas you may have. It makes me feel like I’m in a place where I’m not just an actor; I’m creating, and my mind is really valued in that way.”
“In college, being a theater major while seriously competing in powerlifting was not a typical thing—especially at a school like Emerson. But that’s the way I’ve always been: When I have something I’m passionate about, I don’t really care that it’s not the same as what people expect of me. I do it to my full ability, regardless.”
“I always wanted a six-pack. I had an insane one for one of the bodybuilding shows I did, but it was also probably the most miserable I’ve ever been in my entire life. I was always weighing and measuring the food I was eating, working out twice a day every day, doing cardio on Christmas morning. That was a powerful lesson for me: It’s not just about the way you look or the external factors. It’s about the internal factors. People can look incredibly successful but also be absolutely f*cking miserable.”
“I don’t really discuss my personal dating life at the moment. But I will say that a lot of me has changed over the last couple of years, and the older you get, the more you know what you want. When your standards are very high for a life partner—someone who can be your best friend—for me, that weeds out a lot of people. The thing that I look for that’s hard to find is essentially someone who looks to challenge themselves as much as I do and someone who challenges me, as well.”
“There are more amazing people out there than there are right people out there. You can’t create a checklist of ‘successful, funny, smart, sexy’ and then just find someone who matches that and expect that they’re going to be the person who works for you. Each person is in his or her own individual universe, and you have to line up in a very special way. Otherwise, what’s the point? I think being in the right relationship is better than being single, but being in a bad relationship is worse than being single.”
“I have a supporting role in an upcoming Indie film called Loserville. Darby Stanchfield from Scandal plays my love interest. It’s a high school film, but it’s really smartly done—it sort of reminds me of '80s movies, with a really modern, smart twist. I play the gym teacher, who’s also in a relationship with the main character’s mom—and I’m also his teacher—so it gets complicated that way. It’s the first time I’m playing a role where I’m trying to be a father figure to someone.”