Brian Michael Smith makes history as first trans man in People’s ‘sexiest men alive’ list

Brian Michael Smith appears as his character Paul Strickland in an episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star

9-1-1: Lone Star’s Brian Michael Smith makes history as the first trans man to be named in People’s highly-coveted “sexiest men alive” lists.

The American magazine continued its annual tradition of announcing each year’s “sexiest man alive” alongside coverage of other gorgeous notables across film and TV. This year, the highest honour of the sexiest man alive in 2021, according to People, went to Paul Rudd.

At the same time, People also published its collection of the 25 “sexiest men you can watch on TV now” for audiences’ enjoyment. Smith, who played Paul Strickland on 9-1-1: Lone Star, was named in the ranking, making him the first trans man to make the drool-worthy cut.

“Well howdy, partner! The 9-1-1: Lone Star was one of People’s Ones to Watch in 2021 and we will definitely not have a hard time keeping an eye on him,” People cheekily wrote in its description of Smith.

Smith, who became the first Black trans man to be cast in a regular TV role in 2019, celebrated the “historic” and flattering news on his Instagram.

“I’ve been called many things, this is a first,” he wrote. “Incredibly honoured to be included in this list with so many actors I admire.”

People’s Sexiest Men Alive coverage included a host of other swoon-worthy LGBT+ stars like Smith’s 9-1-1: Lone Star co-star Ronen Rubinstein, Pose’s ​​Dyllón Burnside and SNL star Bowen Yang.

Grammy-winning artist Lil Nas X was also included in People’s “sexy guys of 2021” list in the countdown leading up to the “sexiest man alive” announcement. People described Nas as “changing conversations around representation in the music industry”.

It also noted that his music videos for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” “were two of the steamiest of 2021” – which is accurate.

Brian Michael Smith appears on an episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star as his character Paul Strickland

Brian Michael Smith in the Displaced episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star on FOX.

In an interview with Huffington Post earlier this year, Brian Michael Smith shared that “playing a Black trans character on a TV show is a story that needs to be told”. He described wanting to honour the “opportunity that has been given to be” on 9-1-1: Lone Star, adding his experiences “overlap” with elements from his role.

“This is why I feel like I was brought in for the role because I can really pull from some authentic experiences, or even if I haven’t had the experience myself, just a deeper understanding perhaps of what the character might be going through and then filtering it through the lens of his story,” Smith said. “That’s what’s exciting for me, that’s been what the work is.”