I'm More Interested in that Midnight Ass

Actor Rahul Kohli poses for a photo shoot shortly after the release of his Netflix series, 'Midnight Mass'

There’s nothing wrong with thirsting for Rahul Kohli. 

Rahul Kohli as Sheriff Hassan in Netflix's Midnight Mass


Midnight Mass is a great show. That was never a question, seeing as it’s from the mind of creator Mike Flanagan who also created Hush, Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Haunting of Bly Manor, AKA some of the best horror offerings in recent years. Midnight Mass continues Flanagan’s trend of broken, relatable characters, a plot riddled with mystery and payoff, and excessively long monologues (seriously, so long). 

But beyond being a great show, Midnight Mass and Flanagan’s other works have done an excellent job at showcasing the talent of their leads, especially Midnight Mass’ breakout star, Rahul Kohli. 

Of course, it’s not his acting that’s got everyone talking. Most people just can’t get over how damn sexy he is. I mean, seriously, look at this man.

I wish I could grow a mustache like that, but people get anxious if I walk by a park when I try.

If you could bottle Rahul Kohli up, he’d sell out faster than toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic. This is just one of many threads of people thirsting for Kohli on Twitter:

But how thirsty can someone get before it’s like, “Hey, drink a Gatorade or something”? Isn’t gushing over someone through a tweet a bit… creepy? Not according to Kohli, it’s not.

You see, Hollywood loves white guys. I know. Shocker. Even as recently as July 2021, people have compiled lists of the “most attractive actors in Hollywood,” and the results are pretty much always the same: white guys with good jawlines. That’s what Hollywood’s sold for years. That’s who gets top billing in every big blockbuster movie. They’re our action stars, our rom-com leads, our gritty detectives, and our troubled school teachers who learn to overcome their issues with the help of their students. Your mom probably thinks George Clooney is George Swooney and wants Brad Pitt to touch her Brad — never mind. 

The point is, Hollywood still has a significant diversity issue. It is not the kind of diversity an all-female Ghostbusters remake can fix, but a subtler problem that changes how we think without realizing it. Like, for example, claiming that the 15 hottest actors in Hollywood are all white men, half of whom are named Chris. That kind of talk perpetuates the standard that the “ideal” man — because who else would be ideal if not a wealthy actor? — is chiseled, fit, and white. 

Don’t take this as me saying Chris Hemsworth isn’t a good-looking man. Obviously, he is. But attraction isn’t a, forgive the saying, black-and-white sensation. We can be attracted to thousands of different aspects of a person and repulsed by others. Crafting a cultural understanding of the ideal man or woman only seeks to preserve a severely outdated status quo. 

Graphic descriptions of your Rahul Kohli wet dream might be a bit TMI for some people’s tastes, but at least it acknowledges a key thing we’ve been ignoring for years: brown men can be attractive, too. Historically, misrepresentation has plagued brown men, often depicted as base-level racial stereotypes: gas station workers, strict religious zealots, IT guys, or socially awkward sexists. It’s rare to see a brown man on screen playing a three-dimensional character, and even when they do, they’re never the “heartthrob.” 

Rahul Kohli doesn’t look like a white man. His character in Midnight Mass is a proud Muslim who maintains his faith despite constant pressure to attend a Christian church and even attempts to educate his fellow townsfolk about his religion in a calm, empathetic manner. Most importantly, though, his character feels like a real person, a stark contrast to the representations of brown men in the past who often feel cartoonish and oversimplified. 

It’s not surprising that people think Rahul Kohli is hot — he’s a serious actor, after all — it’s surprising that it took this long for people to realize race isn’t an indicator of attractiveness. Please, continue thirsting for Rahul Kohli, and maybe filmmakers will realize they don’t have to cast another Chris to sell tickets.