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Donald Glover, Lending Ears and Losing Layers

Ibra Ake

Magic Mike XXL's smooth operator

Photography by Ibra Ake

As a performer, Donald Glover is tireless. At 31, the multitalent has already contributed to two of the biggest comedies on TV (writing for 30 Rock and starring in Community); earned two Grammy nods as his hip-hop alter ego, Childish Gambino; and riled up countless crowds with his spirited, hip-nerd standup. But in Magic Mike XXL, Glover plays the calming smooth operator. Recruited partway through this flesh-filled road trip of a sequel, his character, Andre, is a sultry standout among his musclebound peers, serenading women after they've made it rain for Channing Tatum's titular stripper.

"I was a little jealous," Glover says. "I'm lithe, and everyone else is so big. When Joe Manganiello takes his shirt off, he looks like a Greek sculpture. I'd never even been waxed before. But on set, everybody was like, 'Do what you do. That's why we have you.' "

That thing involved putting drooling women on a pedestal and empowering them to be in control. It's Andre who gets to say that a key part of these male entertainers' jobs, specifically his, is to listen to their admirers and ask what they want. "When I was younger I always tried to do something as opposed to learn something," Glover says. "But listening is sexy--to hear someone's troubles and accommodate that. And who doesn't want to release the stress of the day? It can be as cathartic as sexual release."

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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