The competition was fierce and the competitors were easy on the eyes and the heart. But among a field that included Chris Evans, Sterling K. Brown, Santino Fontana, Oscar Isaac, and Karl Urban, just ONE Handsome Young Man could be voted as our readers’ CHOICE Handsome Young Man. Today, Lin-Manuel Miranda joins Adam Scott, Joel McHale, Tom Mison, John Cho, and Harry Styles in a very attractive fraternity. Not only that – he won our fourth annual poll with the largest margin we’ve ever seen. You showed love to his opponents too, but the numbers don’t lie. And they tell us that you think Lin-Manuel Miranda is one handsome son of a gun.
Since I wrote Lin’s nomination, I’m ceding most of this winner’s post to Kim and to our This Is Us recapper/head of the #HamforHandsome committee to elect Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shannon. I just want to add two points to my initial endorsement:
1. Enthusiasm is such an attractive quality. Though he’s a megastar now, Lin never looks or acts like he’s over it. He CAN’T BELIEVE what he gets to do every day and how many people he gets to reach. I think his fans see themselves in him. If they were in his place, they’d be soaking up every delicious moment too. That’s humility right there.
2. I don’t know why, but the way he says “yes” does things to me. (See: “No hablo Ingles!” “YES.”; “You punched the bursar?” “YES.”; and the entirety of “Say No to This.”)
Lin just can’t lose right now. And we’re happy to be heaping one more honor onto his teetering pile of awards. –Sage
I can admit that I am a latecomer to the Lin-Manuel Miranda train. I never saw In the Heights, his Tony winning musical that thrust him into the national spotlight. (I KNOW. BELIEVE ME.) But I can remember watching the Tonys that year and being completely endeared by the sprite of a composer who had FIRE in his eyes as he wrapped his acceptance speech, quoting Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat”. I remember him popping up on How I Met Your Mother and going toe-to-toe with Hugh Laurie in two magnificent episodes of House (both in red because Lin clearly knows his colors). I was aware of his genius and quick-thinking mind as he churned out those magnificent show ending raps for Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony hosting gigs. I was COMPLETELY aware of Lin-Manuel Miranda and yet I WASN’T. It’s one thing to know of him and it’s an entirely DIFFERENT thing to KNOW OF HIM and that’s something that can really only be achieved by seeing him live and in person.
Lin would probably be the first person to tell you that he is not a conventional Broadway leading man. He doesn’t have the full-bodied soaring voice that peers like Santino Fontana, Jeremy Jordan, and Hamilton‘s own Jonathan Groff have. But when you look at Lin on stage, none of that fucking matters. What sets Lin apart is his passion and charisma and that untenable quality that prevents you from looking at ANYONE else when he’s on stage. (And that says a LOT considering he’s standing next to people like Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr.) Lin’s Alexander Hamilton is MESMERIZING. He acts from his gut, from the deepest part of his soul, and it pours out of him from the tips of his fingers to the soles of his feet. From the buoyant JOY and determination of “My Shot” to the despondence of “Hurricane” to the reflective “It’s Quiet Uptown,” Lin’s performance was a masterclass. He knew his Alexander Hamilton inside and out and I will forever be grateful that I got to experience it in person.
But it doesn’t end there. I’m always proud that our winners for Handsome Young Man are always beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I will forever remember waiting outside the stage door that night with my friend’s teenage daughter, who was a MASSIVE Lin fangirl. When he finally came out, Lin took moments with everyone that was there, even if it was just looking them directly in the eye and thanking them for being there. Even though we were warned beforehand that Lin wouldn’t be able to take pictures, he still snapped a picture with my friends and it made that teenage girl’s YEAR, if not her life. That’s the kind of person Lin is: unfailingly generous and exceedingly GRATEFUL for every moment. Lin-Manuel Miranda lives his best life every single day. Even if it’s a shitty day, he manages to find the joy and the WONDER that he is existing on this planet. He makes everyone around him want to be on his level. He’s an inspiration and I couldn’t be prouder to add him to our gallery of Handsome Young Men. –Kim
I loved Lin-Manuel Miranda before I knew who he was. I moved to New York in 2010, which meant that my first Tony awards as a New Yorker was June of 2011, and I watched the show through an entirely different lens. As a kid, all I’d ever wanted was to live in New York City, and as a theatre kid, I always watched the awards knowing that when I grew up, even if I wasn’t an actor (and I am NOT), I’d do my damndest to see as many Broadway shows as I possibly could. Neil Patrick Harris was the host that year, and Book of Mormon was the big show, but the last two and a half minutes of the broadcast changed everything for me. When NPH gave his closing rap, I laughed and clapped and cheered. But when he ramped up to “this ain’t reality TV, this is eight shows a week” something flipped inside me. By his closing lines, “What’s next? Who knows. Anything goes. Now go see a motherfucking Broadway show” I was on my feet and crying in my living room. “THAT’S IT,” my internal monologue screamed. “THAT’S the kind of New Yorker I’m going to be.”
It never occurred to me to wonder who wrote those lines, the ones that went straight through my soul and basically defined my adulthood. I still can’t even read them without tearing up. Turns out, it was this guy.
I vaguely knew about In The Heights, and I watched Lin perform at the White House Poetry Jam, but it took early Hamilton buzz from its days at the Public for me to pull myself together and properly check out this Lin-Manuel Miranda guy. I figured I could get cheaper tickets to Hamilton after its Broadway transfer (HAAAAA) and sat out the run at the Public. When I heard that the cast was setting off fireworks on the Hudson for opening night on Broadway, I finally got myself in gear and grabbed a ticket. That was July of 2015, and the best single ticket I could get was for the night before Thanksgiving. The cast recording hadn’t dropped yet but when it did, everything changed. I physically couldn’t turn it off, not for weeks. I would wake up in the middle of the night singing “The Battle of Yorktown.” I only listened to Act II two or three times before I saw the show – just enough to have a vague familiarity and know I was gonna cry my eyes out. At some point in the early days of that listening mania, I went down a youtube hole and found Lin writing the NPH rap, and then everything was different.
It was him! This guy was responsible for SO MUCH and I didn’t even know it, and now his show was taking over my life.
No, seriously, it took over my life. I kept track of all the Ham4Hams, learned EVERYTHING about the cast, and fell farther and farther into obsession. Every single cast member of Hamilton is a joy and I love them all for different reasons. But the more I learned about Lin, the more I adored him. Sure, he’s a certifiable genius and will likely become the youngest EGOT ever if Moana gets the Oscar love it deserves, but he’s also emotional, honest, kind, excitable, and yes, a VERY Handsome Young Man.
I’m not against the short hair, and it’s grown on me these last few months, but Lin with long hair is a thing of true beauty and grace. And it gave us these styles, which, I honestly can’t even pick a favorite:
OF COURSE I wore pigtails on Star Wars day. pic.twitter.com/kHrNUBcdN8
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 29, 2015
I also love it down and flowing, obviously:
I just miss the long hair a lot, ok?
A few of my favorite things about Lin-Manuel Miranda, in no particular order. He cries at the drop of a hat. When he was backstage at Les Miserable, living the dream as the Loud Hailer for one of the Digital Ham4Ham’s, he got distracted, didn’t realize Gavroche was about to die, and got teary immediately before his second cue. He loves his dog Tobi SO MUCH that his adoption was the actual inspiration for “Dear Theodosia.” He owns five of the same grey sweater and wears it constantly. And when the live Ham4Hams started to block 46th street and put crowds in the bus line, Lin was constantly yelling at everyone to stay safe.
Look at Emma Watson gasping in adoration. Girl. I feel you.
But Lin brings out the best in us, too. I know he brings out the best in me.
I call this the “but what are you gonna do about it” face. If something feels impossible or hasn’t gone my way, this is the picture I look at. Because Lin just wants us all to do the best we possibly can. It’s the drive we all feel listening to “My Shot” or “96,000” or “We Know the Way”, and it’s why his good morning and goodnight tweets mean so much to people. Lin is open with his creativity and also with how hard it can be to be a creative person, so when he talks about seizing every single day and making the best of every single opportunity, we believe him. I believe him. And it’s made me a braver woman today than I was a year and a half ago. — Shannon
How do YOU feel about our new Most Handsome Young Man? Let us know in comments.