From Stripper to Superstar
By Aaron Hicklin
Photography by Nino Muñoz
Styling by Grant Woolhead
A random (but not really) sampling of jotted quotes from a day with Channing Tatum:
“The Goonies is one of those rare ’80s movies that still works -- everything holds up.”
“Tampa is a really strange place.”
“With Joe Manganiello naked in a movie, I think even straight guys are going to be, ‘Shit, I need to see that. That man is a specimen.’ ”
“Elton John had his hand up my ass the other night.”
To which the obvious response is, “Really? How did that feel?”
“Like any other hand up my ass, but more knightly,” Tatum replies. “I can check that box now. It falls under the umbrella of doing sexual shit with Elton John in public. I’m sure I’m not the first.”
But that was at 7 o’clock in the evening, when we were getting our first drink of a day that began with breakfast, and Tatum considerately dictating his own ad-hoc magazine profile to me: “And when we sat down at breakfast for coffee and eggs, we went ahead and ordered shots of whiskey,” he says.
There is no liquor on the breakfast menu of New York’s Setai Hotel, all shiny marble walls and hushed, carpeted corridors, though Tatum assures me he can rustle some up. “I would drink it just for the sake of giving you the opportunity to write about it,” he says after being quizzed on the ubiquity of alcohol in most every article written about the rising star. In a GQ cover story, I counted three Bud Lights, four shots of tequila, two bottles of Patrón Silver, and a round of Jägermeister shots (by which point Chan, as he is known to friends, was thumping his chest and yelling, “Nectar of the Gods!”). So I’m a little bummed that my date with Tatum amounts to a side of scrambled eggs and a fruit plate -- scratch that, not even a fruit plate.
“Do you have grapes?” he asks the waitress.
“Only grapes?” she asks.
“Yeah, I’ll just do only grapes,” he replies.
Later Tatum confesses that he has a “texture” issue with fruits and vegetables, which is problematic when you are also avoiding meat. His wife, Jenna Lee Dewan-Tatum -- they met on the set of urban dance movie Step Up; watching the movie today, he can pinpoint exactly when they fell in love -- made him go vegan for two months. “I gained weight, because I don’t like vegetables, so I basically had to wrap them in bread,” he says. No vegetables whatsoever? Not even a tomato?
“I will never eat a raw tomato. I can do the shit out of some tomato sauce, or even sun-dried tomatoes, but never raw.”
“Fuck eggplant—it’s too spongy. I hate spongy stuff.”
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