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Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey explains ‘sliding into the DMs’ to Sir Ian McKellen and it’s everything

Two very different generations of gay actor meet in the Attitude 101 February issue.

By Will Stroude

The conversation between Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey and the legendary Sir Ian McKellen in the Attitude 101 February issue – out now to download and to order globally – makes for fascinating.

As two very different generations of gay screen star reflect on sexuality and fame, there are plenty of thought-provoking insights into the changing nature of what it means to be a gay actor navigating an often straight-laced industry.

It’s not all furrowed-brow seriousness, however: the pair’s encounter also throws up some unlikely and often hilarious exchanges, including the moment Sir Ian swipes a little too far through Jonathan’s phone gallery as he peruses the highlights of his his Attitude shoot, and when 32-year-old Jonny explains the concept of ‘sliding into the DMs’ to 81-year-old Ian.

Check out a new exclusive extract from Jonathan and Si Ian’s conversation below – and be sure to read the full exchange in the Attitude 101 February issue, out now…

Jonathan: There was a tank-top moment during the shoot.

Sir Ian: Oh yes, very good. I like that. Hope you’ve kept that. Have you?

J: What the top? It was Versace.

I: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative]

J: Unfortunately not. Versace wanted it back himself. I know. Gone are the days when you get free stuff, Ian.

I: Is it?

J: Did you used to get…?

I: I just steal it. They go, ‘Well, sir, I think by mistake you might’ve taken…?” And I say, ‘Oh, yes. And the thing is, I put it on yesterday and it stretched ever so slightly.’

J: Have you got to the sexy pics yet?

I: Well, they’re all a bit sexy.

J: Let’s have a look. What have you got? Oh no, did you just swipe too far? Ian, that’s quite a personal collection…

I: Am I not allowed to go that way?

J: Maybe go back the other way. Ian, you’re so naughty.

I: Oh, I say.

J: I know. Here we go, more like that.

I: Very good. Yes, lovely. [Passes phone back to Johnny.] You’re in good shape. You’ll get lots of letters.

J: Letters. We call them DMs now, Ian.

I: What do you call them?

J: Well, presumably a letter is the equivalent of sliding into your DMs?

I: What’s a DM?

J: A DM is a direct message on Instagram. You must get DMs, you’re on Instagram.

I: I’ve never been able to get into Instagram. I mean, literally. It wants my name, my parents’ names.

J: What are your passwords?

I: I have no idea.

J: Well, [a] DM is the equivalent of a letter.

I: Well, in a letter, you had to pick up a pencil and write. And touch this paper which your beloved was going to eventually touch. And smell.

J: The sensuality of it.

I: When I was in love and writing love letters before all this, you just had to wait for the reply. And the agony. The bliss. The post arrives, it’s not come. But never mind, it may come second post. And if not, then tomorrow. And then when it arrived…

J: But the doubt before that, that that letter may never have been received. Because we, in our direct message, we get a double tick and it’s been seen. So, you know when someone’s… And God forbid that they…

I: Well, it was different, but it was actual. And I’ve got these letters somewhere.

J: There’s something so brilliant about that.

I: Can’t bear to read them. I would just cry. But I think it’s a pity people now aren’t going to have that thrill. But it’s all better, at least you can meet people. I mean, you can get hold of it, if you want to.

J: Yeah. At any point.

I: I missed out on that…

Read the full conversation between Jonathan Bailey and Sir Ian McKellen in the Attitude 101 February issue, out now to download and to order globally.

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