There’s one thing you should know about me, which is that I am obsessed with Twilight. I also think Twilight is fundamentally bad, full of cultural appropriation, toxic relationships, terrible messaging about gender roles, and plot holes as wide as the Grand Canyon. And yet as a cultural phenomenon and a time capsule, I think it’s fascinating that it ever became so popular. Anyway, that’s why I take an interest in the actors from the Twilight movies–it’s a bit of fun nostalgia. Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob, recently started a podcast called The Squeeze with his wife, who is also named Taylor Lautner. It’s an interview format with guests, but compared to other celebrity podcasts, it has more substance than I expected. When pictures from a recent promotional outing for The Squeeze were posted on Instagram, people piled on Taylor, making mean comments about him and saying he looked old. Taylor saw these comments and made a video about them on his Instagram, discussing how mean comments used to make him feel versus how he deals with them now.
Mean comments still bring up old feelings and memories: “I just got back from a run. I was feeling really good about myself, trying to stay healthy both physically and mentally. And I felt compelled to share something with you because when I got back from that run I hopped on Instagram,” Lautner says at the start of the video.
The 31-year-old goes on to explain that last week he and his wife, who is also named Taylor Lautner, had been on a show in New York City that had posted about their appearance.
As he was going through the comments under the show’s post, Lautner says, “it brought up old feelings and memories” that had led him to avoid reading remarks on the internet in the past. He notes, however, that he’s “in a different place now.”
People are calling him old (?!): Lautner then shares several screenshots with circled comments that showed messages like, “Brooo where is his hair line running off to??? Looks like Ratatouille putting the years on him.”
Similarly, another comment read, “He did not age well goodness.”
“Damn looks like s—,” one read, while another went, “Wait he looks so old wtf happened.”
Lautner then appears back on screen to say all the comments were from the same post, which he calls “crazy,” adding that “there’s only so much we can do to change” the harsh reality.
“But I think what I really wanted to say is, if this was 10 years ago, five years ago, maybe even two, three years ago, that really would have got under my skin and it would have caused me to want to just go in a hole and not go outside, definitely don’t do press and interviews and put myself in the position where I have to see that kind of stuff,” he says.
Taylor’s in a better headspace now: The actor says he’s thankful to now be in the headspace to deal with hateful comments, though some continue to get under his skin, adding that he “wouldn’t be on here posting this video if it didn’t bother me at all. But it doesn’t make me question who I am and it doesn’t take anything away from me.”
“So I think my biggest point is just think about and remember where you put your value in life, and also just be nice,” Lautner concludes. “It’s not that difficult. Let’s be nice to each other. Let’s spread love and positivity. It’s that simple.”
Taylor is only 31 years old and I think these people are full of it. He looks like an exceptionally healthy 31-year-old man with not a wrinkle in sight. Maybe people are reacting this way because when he got famous he was super young, only 16. After the Twilight movies he hasn’t been that active in Hollywood and has more or less flown under the radar. Now that he’s promoting his podcast, some people are seeing him again for the first time in years. Even so, I don’t get why people are saying he looks old. Have we become so used to the uncanny valley of the Jenndashians and TikTok filters and FaceTune that someone like Taylor looks flawed to us?? If he passed me in the street I would want to know what skincare he uses and who his aesthetician is!
This story made me think about the pressure he faced as a young actor to change his body. Maybe that’s part of the “old feelings and memories” he mentions. A refresher, because it’s been a while: in classic Hollywood fashion, no one at Lionsgate thought that a movie aimed at teenage girls like Twilight would be a success. When the first film did big business, the sequel New Moon was rushed into production right away to capitalize on the hype. In New Moon, Taylor’s character goes from skinny to buff in a matter of days because he’s a werewolf and everyone knows that werewolves are totally Mr. Olympia-level buff. The director of the second film, Chris Weitz, told Taylor that if he couldn’t bulk up, he’d be replaced. So this 16-year-old-boy put on 30 pounds of muscle in roughly four months in order to keep his job. He was then objectified throughout the rest of the films and in the media in a really gross way. He became an international sex symbol, in one of the most famous film franchises ever, while he was still a minor. I can’t imagine what it must have been like, but I’m sure it scarred him. So I’m glad that he’s no longer in a place where mean comments are hurting him on a deeper level.
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Photos credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com/Cover Images, Getty and via Instagram
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