Ok but can we talk about Olly Alexander? Here’s every reason he’s the absolute best
Everything he does is icon behaviour
It’s A Sin is the miniseries of this generation and Ritchie Tozer is my new icon – and naturally, I am also head over heels for Olly Alexander, the man who plays him.
It’s A Sin may have only been released in January but it has climbed up the viewing charts and accumulated 6.5 million views on All 4 already and I am obsessed. The story, the tears, the 80s smash hit soundtrack. But, most importantly, It’s A Sin brought us the most lovable gay disaster since Titus from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, aka Ritchie Tozer. And the man behind him? None other than my new hero.
Olly Alexander, born in North Yorkshire, has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health issues since he was a teenager. Since starring in It’s A Sin as Ritchie Tozer, a man who moves to London from the Isle of Wight to pursue his acting dream, Olly Alexander has been front lining HIV awareness campaigns (and stealing hearts).
Here’s everything that made me fall in love with Olly Alexander, the man behind Ritchie in It’s A Sin:
He’s here, he’s queer, and he dgaf
Olly Alexander has spoken about experiencing homophobic bullying throughout his life and struggling to accept his identity. Speaking at a Stonewall event, he talked about how, early in his career as lead singer for Years & Years, he was advised by a media trainer to not go public about his sexuality.
Olly said: “She said, with very good intentions, I’m sure: ‘Why does anybody need to know about your sexuality? What business is it who you go to bed with? Maybe it’s better to not say anything about your sexuality at all.’
“I ignored her advice.”
His music is on-repeat material
And, on that note, let’s talk about his band, Years & Years. The synth-pop trio formed in 2010 after Mikey Goldsworthy heard Olly singing in the shower.
Olly has spoken about how his identity influences the music, including the band’s single, Sanctify, which is about his feelings for a straight guy. They even did a cover of the song It’s A Sin!
His Growing up Gay documentary had everyone in tears
In this BBC film, Olly Alexander opens up about his own struggles with depression to explore why the LGBTQ+ community is so much more vulnerable to mental health issues.
“Many of my queer friends struggle with their mental health or aren’t here anymore, and I want to encourage conversation around a topic that’s difficult to tackle,” he told NME. “No one’s saying being gay gives you mental health issues – it’s growing up in a world that makes you feel like you’re wrong, disgusting or perverted.”
He’s spoken out about mental health, especially young men’s
Olly Alexander has been very transparent about how he has struggled with bulimia, self-harm and panic disorder, and has spoken out about the social pressures on men with mental health issues.
“I think it’s like any other part of your body, your mental health, it gets sick and it needs treatment,” he told The Guardian. “It’s affected me and my family a lot, and it annoys me there’s not enough provided and stuff has been cut where my family are from.”
He’s a witch and I love it
“I identified as a Wiccan before I identified as gay,” he told The Sun. “I’m into cemeteries – I like anything spooky. I’ve got so many decks of tarot cards.”
He went on to say that his first job in the Forest of Dean was working at a shop called Moonstones which sold spell books, gems, crystals, and incense. “So my flat is basically Moonstones.” I’m so jealous.
He has done wonders promoting HIV awareness
During National HIV Testing Week in February, Olly Alexander posted on social media about the importance of getting tested regularly, of safe sex, and of celebrating how far we have come since the events explored in It’s A Sin.
In a reunion Zoom call with the cast, Rupert, co-founder of HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, revealed that HIV tests have quadrupled as a result of the show. Hearing the news, Olly welled up. “I’m trying not to cry!” Me too, Olly.
Just like Ritchie, he followed his dreams to London
Olly moved to London at 18 to become an actor. He had an airbed, no mattress, and a room with no windows. But he says “that was all I wanted to do: just bright lights, big city. I was chasing a dream.”
Speaking on This City podcast, Olly said: “When I got to my early-20s, I lived in Hoxton, and I kind of lived in the centre of what was sort of, to me, the gay mecca.”
He’s best mates with the cast in real life
If you haven’t already seen photos of the It’s A Sin cast hanging out and being adorable, you’re missing out. Honestly, nothing makes a great show that much greater than knowing that, after the cameras stop rolling, the cast still bro out and catch up.
Olly’s Instagram is basically an It’s A Sin fan account so I can spend hours scrolling through photos of him and the cast spending time together – who wouldn’t want to spend time with Jill?
His fashion is everything I’ve ever wanted to wear (with twice the confidence)
Nominated for Best Dressed Star at the People’s Choice Awards, Olly Alexander has a wardrobe I would kill for.
At the Brit Awards, he wore an honest-to-god feathered cape, at Glastonbury, he wore a jacket of rainbow flag fringe, and ever since he was in school, he has been wearing eyeliner and dyeing his hair. I stan.
He bought his mum a house
Olly kept a diary when he was younger that planned his entire life until he was 25. On that list was become a famous musician but also to buy his mum a house.
“That was the coolest thing to be able to do with my money,” he told The Guardian. “That was the coolest thing ever.” (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
In conclusion, Olly Alexander is my new favourite human being and personal hero. Keep being you, Olly!
Featured image via Channel 4 and Instagram @ollyyears