For our special anniversary edition, BLAG Vol.3 Nø 3, we set Ioan Gruffudd the task of writing a journal style piece about working with us for his cover for Vol.2 Nø 2. We never expected this...
by Ioan Gruffudd
“You’re going to love these guys, they’re really cool”
‘Cool.’ ‘Cool, man.’ ‘Kool and the Gang’. ‘Bitch, be cool’. ‘Cool’ is not a word that is synonymous with Ioan Gruffudd I thought. The image of the ‘cool’ kids at school terrified me. I was the son of the deputy headmaster, a goody two shoes by default, ‘straight down the middle’ and ‘straight laced’ was my comfort zone. This is going to be interesting.
I’m in a cab next to my friend and publicist, Laura on our way to a photo shoot and interview for the magazine ‘BLAG’. Although the guys at BLAG wouldn’t necessarily thank me for calling it a magazine - it’s more than a magazine, each issue is an individual work of art that can sit comfortably next to any coffee table book. I’m in the middle of a press tour for the first ‘Fantastic Four’ movie and I’m being pulled from pillar to post, TV, interviews, live radio shows, magazine interviews and photo shoots: a necessary evil of being part of a huge franchise movie.
We arrive at our destination, the penthouse suite of the Westbury Mayfair Hotel. We are greeted by one of the twin dynamic duo that owns and runs the publication. Softly spoken and with a kind face, I’m immediately put at my ease. Clothes, room service, make up artist and [hairdresser] bustle by in a maelstrom of activity but inside the bubble that is Sally’s aura, I am made to feel calm and peaceful. After a quick fix of caffeine though, the dormant show off inside of me is awoken. I look into the mirror of the bathroom, my dressing room for the day, and utter the words “ready to make a tit of yourself again, Ioan?”
I’m supposed to be trying on the truckload of garb that has lugged up here but I can’t resist walking out in only my Calvin’s and a denim Miu Miu baseball cap and announce, “I think we’ve found the look!” This is me trying to be cool you see, trying too hard to be liked and going way over the top.
We arrive at a look we can all agree and it’s on to the balcony for the shoot with the other half of the team and Sally’s twin sister, Sarah. She is direct and to the point and guides the erratic clown in front of her down a path of stillness and sincerity. There is an easy back and forth between us, a blend of clever British wit and sarcasm with plenty of double entendres thrown in by the restless fool that I had become and all the while Sarah is snapping away. Before I know it “we’ve got it” she smiles and now I’m back in the living room being interviewed by Sally.
Drawn in by her quiet, sincere demeanor that belies a wicked sense of humour and devilish laugh I become an open book. Nothing is off limits and I spill the beans on my inner most secrets and opinions on the arts, actors, Hollywood and growing up in Wales. You see, this is what ‘cool’ really is: having the capacity to be completely at ease with oneself which in turn puts everyone else at their ease. Sally and Sarah have this in abundance. They turned a guy who was a highly insecure, ants in his pants show off when he arrived into the guy that he really is, ever so slightly vulnerable but with plenty of confidence.
“Oh by the way, you’re coming on Friday, right?” Sally asks. “What’s on Friday?” I ask with a begging look of “please remind me” to my publicist. “The launch party for the next issue at Home House, you’re going to be on the cover.”
“Bring Alice and the rest of the Fantastic Four, it’s going to be a great night” says Sarah.
“Wow, that’s amazing, thanks guys.”
“Cool right?” Laura whispers.
Yep, pretty damn cool.