The Haunting of Bly Manor’s Rahul Kohli Talks Playing the "Village Heartthrob”

If you binged The Haunting of Bly Manor this weekend, chances are you have a newfound crush on at least one of the characters. While some actors from The Haunting of Hill House returned for the new story, there were also plenty of fresh faces, including Rahul Kohli who played the loveable chef, Owen. Not only was Owen considered to be a hot commodity in Bly, but he's also getting a whole lot of love on social media. In a recent interview with GQ, he was asked about being the show's "village heartthrob."

"Do you know what made me laugh about that? I think I look terrible," Kohli shared. "I've got curtains, glasses and a mustache, and that’s the look that I said was correct for the time, but it doesn’t translate to our standards now. But Oliver [Jackson-Cohen], who plays Peter Quint, is ridiculously handsome by today’s standards even if you put him in ‘80s clothes. And I’ve gone for these authentic frames and this hairstyle that are out of fashion. And then there’s lines of dialogue about the village heartthrob—when I watched it I laughed out loud, because I’m like, 'What, him!?'”

Kohli was also asked about a tweet in which he encouraged being sexualized since it’s a rarity for South Asian men. He expanded on the idea, which you can read below:

"When I say this, I’m making sweeping generalizations that are personal to my experience. In media—and not just media, if you look at the dating scene—I would feel that Asian people were at the bottom of the pecking order," Kohli explained. "I think that even positive stereotypes—being good at maths, wanting to be doctors—these things aren’t necessarily the most attractive qualities. My experiences growing up were always Asian men being desexualized, and Asian women were fetishized. It’s not like we were on the covers of certain things showing off the six-pack—that just doesn’t exist."

He added, "We are geeks: Raj from The Big Bang Theory. I had seen that come before and I rebelled against that. When I was younger, what I did to counterbalance that was sexualize myself and come across more aggressive and threatening. When it came to [London’s] clubbing scene, I definitely felt as an Indian man that I didn’t hold my own. If I was dancing with a girl, I’d find that it was very easy for bigger fish to push me off."

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"In the media, it’s the same thing," he continued "I don’t think we are necessarily objectified or sexualized. It’s always quite the opposite. Ravi [from iZombie] was an example of that. I booked the very thing I didn’t want: the asexual nerd, who at one point was testing condoms for the white lead and her straight, white boyfriend so that they can have sex. That moment for me was a little reminder of how we’re seen. I’ve just been trying to rebel against that. It sounds weird, I know other people will feel the other side where they keep being objectified, but I want more equality in that. And I’m trying to practice what I preach, I’m trying to get into shape, I’m trying to look a certain way. I’m not just expecting positive, oh let’s start telling Rahul he’s sexy because he’s made it about race. I just think we don’t see that very often. I try to make my captions a little risque, I do make sure to put up thirst posts. [laughs.] Why not? I want to normalize that."

The Haunting of Bly Manor is now streaming on Netflix.