Look­ing back, I should never have turned my phone no­ti­fi­ca­tions on. Every morn­ing my alarm goes off and I reach for the bed­side ta­ble, only to find the real wake-up call is see­ing what’s been hap­pen­ing overnight, in the good old US of A. You see, news alerts have be­come some­what of an ob­ses­sion for me, ever since a cer­tain real es­tate mogul­turned re­al­ity TV show host de­cided he wanted to play pol­i­tics. And I know I’m not alone here. Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns have al­ways had a cer­tain show­biz qual­ity to them, but this one was down­right gru­elling. Every day, it seemed there was some new rev­e­la­tion; a new twist in the story so shock­ing that even West Wing cre­ator Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have scripted it bet­ter. And I was hooked; each day’s news ar­riv­ing like a fresh in­stal­ment of House of Cards. The po­lit­i­cal in­trigue was cap­ti­vat­ing. Then in early Oc­to­ber, I woke up to the Wash­ing­ton Post’s scoop of the no­to­ri­ous Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood tape, recorded in 2005. Trump, at that point a hugely in­flu­en­tial pub­lic fig­ure – a man who by then was on the cusp of his six­ties – was caught de­scrib­ing not just his ap­palling treat­ment of women, but the fact that “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. Shock­ing rev­e­la­tions were a daily oc­cur­rence at this point, but there was some­thing dif­fer­ent about this. Some­thing truly star­tling. In many ways, it is those un­guarded mo­ments, when we think peo­ple aren’t lis­ten­ing, that have more weight than what we tell peo­ple, or even our­selves. Those are the mo­ments that show oth­ers who we re­ally are. In the end, it made lit­tle dif­fer­ence. Trump is in the White House and the rev­e­la­tions keep pour­ing in, one news alert at a time. This is the leader of the free world. A man so out of his depth, so trapped in out-dated ideas of what it means to be a man, so cast adrift from re­al­ity, there seems lit­tle chance of the spec­ta­cle im­prov­ing any­time soon. For us or for him. At GQ, I’ve been lucky enough to wit­ness the evo­lu­tion of men over the past decade. Aussie guys used to be afraid to show an in­ter­est in fash­ion or talk about their feel­ings. But these days, we re­alise there is no sin­gle def­i­ni­tion of mas­culin­ity or set of rules that we all have to live by – and that’s a very good thing. Just look at sports peo­ple; crick­eters were once portly, beer-swill­ing blokes and to­day they’re style icons. The same is true of some politi­cians – un­like Mr Trump, Obama has al­ways known the ben­e­fits of a well-cut suit, and Cana­dian Pm-cum-style icon Justin Trudeau even re­cently graced the cover of Rolling Stone mag­a­zine.

Beyond the fact they scrub up well, these two men have been cham­pi­ons of women, mi­nori­ties, im­mi­grants and LGBTIQ in­di­vid­u­als. The kind of peo­ple who now find them­selves strug­gling to see where they fit in Trump’s world – or if they even fit into it at all. But it’s com­fort­ing to know that there are great role mod­els out there for to­day’s young men – you just have to know where to look. Take James Franco. Yes, our cover star is one of the most hand­some men on the planet, but it’s what he says in our in­ter­view that re­ally caught my at­ten­tion. In what must be his most open, hon­est in­ter­view to date (p182), Franco dis­cusses com­ing to terms with his suc­cess, dis­cov­er­ing who he re­ally is, and find­ing time to be present in the mo­ment. Some­times we have to slow down to get ahead. It’s ad­vice I’m try­ing to take on board, too. I still check my news alerts each morn­ing (hey, the man has his lit­tle hands on the nu­clear codes now), but I’m try­ing to make sure I try my best to truly ap­pre­ci­ate each mo­ment as it ar­rives. Even though most days my cal­en­dar barely al­lows me enough time for a quick cof­fee be­tween travel, shoots or meet­ings, I still try to make an ef­fort to sit back, take a breath and be present when­ever I can. After all, I have to ad­mit that be­ing the editor in chief of a mag­a­zine like GQ does come with its perks. One of those is be­ing able to in­tro­duce this, our fan­tas­tic Septem­ber/oc­to­ber mag­a­zine. I’m very proud that our Big Style Issue is packed with op­por­tu­ni­ties to sit back and ap­pre­ci­ate the world we live in. Whether it’s our frank chat with the hi­lar­i­ously mouthy Liam Gallagher (p88); our foray into the in­cred­i­ble world of Alessan­dro Michele’s Gucci (p234); a visit to Iraq, more than a decade after the con­flict be­gan (p228); our bumper GQ Style sec­tion (p107); or our in-depth look at why peo­ple believe con­spir­acy the­o­ries (p194) – I’m con­fi­dent there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one. It truly is one of our big­gest and best is­sues of the year. And that, I’m very happy to say, is some good news.


Cot­ton/cash­mere shirt, ap­prox. $1620, by Tom Ford at Har­rolds; denim jeans, ap­prox. $620, by Fabric-brand & Co.

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