Dev Patel is conventionally attractive—he’s just not white

I shouldn’t have been obsessing over Zac Efron when Dev Patel exists

We should celebrate brown men the same way we do their white counterparts.

Sometimes, I look at a man and wonder if he’s actually attractive or if I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. But Dev Patel isn’t one of those people—Dev Patel is objectively and incredibly hot.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, even Mindy Kaling, who’s well known for only casting white men as her love interests in her show, The Mindy Project, praises Patel’s attractiveness. Kaling justified her choice by saying, “I mean did you see him at the Oscars? Hello, Dev Patel.” 

The YouTube comment section was filled with people arguing about whether Patel is actually attractive or not. Some even commented that Kaling was racist for finding him attractive, or that he was dreamy solely because of his race. 

Growing up, I found myself watching movies in which the conventionally attractive ‘boy next door’ was almost always white. As I got older, it seriously affected the features I found "attractive" in myself and others. Eurocentric beauty standards had me in a chokehold. 

I used Zac Efron, Chris Pine, and Channing Tatum as the standards for men’s attractiveness. The men who never made the cut in my head were usually brown men who shared similar features to myself. 

This was my self-hating brown girl era, when I was constantly wishing for blue eyes, thin lips, blonde highlights, and lighter skin. While I so desperately wanted to embrace my brownness, I wanted to look white so that white guys would like me instead of questioning why I wasn’t paying attention to non-white men.

I’d placed white men on a pedestal. This isn’t to say that white men aren’t attractive, but I was equating "white" with a classic heartthrob who would turn my life into a romantic comedy. 

I didn’t think brown men could give me what I wanted because movies never let brown men be the romantic leads. They were always the funny friend the main character vented to or the IT guy who ended up with the nerdy and shy girl at the end of the movie.

Though they aren’t cast in typical leading roles, there are successful brown men in Hollywood: Dev Patel, Kumail Nanjiani, Riz Ahmed, and Sendhil Ramamurthy are just a few.

Sendhil Ramamurthy, who plays the dad in the Netflix original, Never Have I Ever, is ridiculously attractive—and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. Many people on TikTok have pointed it out, too. 

But aside from myself and the very niche section of TikTok, I wish we took more time to praise the brown men in Hollywood. 

On some days, I wish we could just obsess over brown men for being hot. I’m tired of the media only celebrating brown men in Hollywood at select times for very pointed racial reasons. 

At the end of the day, equity, diversity, and inclusion are necessary in the film industry. However, representation cannot be isolated to being purely trauma focused. 

We need to maintain our appreciation for brown men in Hollywood in the same way we celebrate their white counterparts. Brown men in Hollywood like Dev Patel remind me that we can find them attractive without forcing a larger and overarching narrative.

If the number of politicized conversations about actors of colour in Hollywood were cut in half, perhaps that other half would just be regular conversations about the actors—no baggage, just thirst . Representation doesn’t mean that every movie needs to turn into such a big deal that it results in an Instagram activism-infographic. 

If I think Dev Patel or any other brown man is attractive, you shouldn’t need an explanation. Dev Patel’s name followed by a smirk should say more than enough.


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