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Normal People star Paul Mescal reveals what he really thinks of his heartthrob status

The Irish actor has gained huge overnight success from his role in Normal People

Francesca Shillcock

Normal People has made Paul Mescal, one of the BBC drama's leading stars, an overnight sensation. The Irish-born actor plays the role of Connell and since it landed on our screens back in April, both Paul and his character (not to mention a certain chain of his) have become the centre of a social media and fan frenzy. Given the part of Connell is the 24-year-old's first major TV role, it's no wonder that Paul is adjusting to his new-found fame. But the actor did admit that certain aspects of the admiration have made him feel uneasy.

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During a recent appearance on the I'm Grand Mam podcast, the actor opened up about his reaction to fans falling in love with him after watching his portrayal of Connell. The actor was asked by the host: "People are framing you as a sex-symbol, is that weird for you, or are you loving it?" To which Paul replied: "No [I'm not]," which was met with laughter by the podcasters. "To be honest it's uncomfortable, not in the sense that I'm trying to be full of faux humility, but it's a weird thing when, very quickly, people are attracted to a character you play," he explained.

MORE: Normal People star Paul Mescal opens up about moment he broke down on set

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The Irish-born actor has become something of a heartthrob recently 

The actor continued, further explaining the differences between his on-screen persona and himself: "And that's the thing I'm kind of focusing in on, it's like I'm not Connell, I'm totally different to him. And I think maybe what's sexy about Connell is he's that classic, back-footed, aloof, smart and I'm definitely not back-footed or aloof."

MORE: Paul Mescal reunites with Normal People co-star India Cullen as lockdown measures are eased

However, the actor did state that shortly after the show became available to watch, he enjoyed his overnight admiration. "It was kind of fun at the start, I was like 'Oh this is mad people think that Connell's sexy' and then a weird thing's kind of crept in where like, when people [direct message], there's kind of an anticipation that I'm him and in my head, there's a little - this is for the record, if anybody is dating me I am not Connell nor do I want to be him."

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