Essex boys are officially hotter than posh boys and The White Lotus proves it

Never underestimate the cultural impact of Love Island

From the moment Leo Woodall’s character Jack strolled on to screen in series two of The White Lotus it was clear there’d been a vibe shift. Before he even opened his mouth you knew that he was English. But not Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, quintessentially British genre English. Essex, Love Island, camo baseball cap and skin tight T-shirt English. Ready to dazzle the Americans with his luminescent teeth. 

To put it simply, Jack is hot, confusingly hot. Strong rig, easy charm, but yelling things like: “I’ve got sensitive nips” in the pool, “dos Jägermeister, dos Red Bull,” to the Italian bar men, and poetically telling the girl he’s flirting with: “If you wanna have an adventure then stick with me, I know how to have fun in the sandbox, if you know what I mean.” 

This Brit abroad energy should be an ick. But the slightly bolshy, seriously chaotic energy Jack has is uncomplicated, fun, and doesn’t have a hint of snobbishness or softboi feminism that the other White Lotus men do. “He doesn’t really give a fuck about anything,” Leo told GQ. “The not overthinking of things or really caring what or who people are but just sort of wanting a good time, I think is a contrast to the other characters.”

So, how did British heartthrobs go from private school poshos (Freddie Kingsley in Wild Child, Graham in The Holiday, Sam Claflin in Love, Rosie) to, well, geezers?

“Essex men are associated with being fun, carefree and a little bit cheeky,” Match’s dating expert Hayley Quinn tells The Tab. “Having a more down to earth nature, you can understand why Jack the lad versus a cut glass upper class partner could be a winner.”

Geezers, ultimately, have an easy going nature that’s magnetic and has long made them winners over men wearing Ralphie half zips and boat shoes on reality shows. Remember when Julius was singing his heart out to Sophie on Made In Chelsea until tanned and tatted Leeds bloke Tom Zanetti sauntered into the room?

Remember how Hugo Hammond and Chuggs flopped at finding romance in the Love Island villa while men like Tommy Fury to Kem Cetinay thrived? It’s no wonder TV dramas now consider a geezer to be the stereotypical leading man. 

“Perhaps it’s thanks to shows like Love Island showcasing guys from more normal walks of life, maybe it’s that social media has made these boy-next-door celebs even more accessible,” says Hayley. “Either way, posh is out and Essex is in.”

Featured image credit via Channel 4 and HBO. 

Meet Leo Woodall: The hot Londoner from The White Lotus who everyone’s obsessed with

• Just 17 memes that prove The White Lotus intro music is the biggest bop going

• Ok, was Theo James wearing a prosthetic in THAT White Lotus bathroom scene?