As 2022 draws to a close, we would like to thank our entire Mr Feelgood community for all we have achieved and learned together this year. Inspirational folks from all walks of life have shared their stories and wisdom with us, with their essence captured in beautiful images by the very best photographers and creatives in the business. We are very grateful to you all. Here we reflect on our shared journey over the last 12 months, including some of the most powerful photographs and words that will stick with us for many years to come. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, and here’s to new and exciting adventures in 2023.
We began 2022 with the uplifting story of Adir Abergel, who had to leave his parents behind in Israel aged eight to move to America following the arrest of his activist father. He grew to become one of Hollywood’s most celebrated celebrity hairstylists, with clients including Jennifer Garner, Kristen Stewart, and Reese Witherspoon. Also in January, another force for good in that profession, Joshua Coombes, told us that he now dedicates his life to cutting the hair of people experiencing homelessness. “It wasn’t something I was planning, or some crusade,” Joshua said. “It was just a chance to sit down and listen, and to hear their story.”
We were moved and inspired by the courage of military veteran Dan Richards, who rose from losing an arm to become an elite Invictus Games athlete, model, TV star, and happy husband-to-be. “My problems are no bigger or better than anyone else’s,” he told us. “Everyone’s got their issues. I’d take my one arm over a cognitive issue, like PTSD. Anyone who deals with things you can’t see, I think they’re the braver ones.” And actor and boxing devotee Cillian O’Sullivan described how he found a calmer form of confidence to nail the best role of his career, as a rogue CIA agent in Netflix drama ‘In From the Cold’.
Our ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ profile with the charismatic Simon Rex launched Mr Feelgood TV in February, as he revealed he had overcome his imposter syndrome thanks to his starring role in the excellent Sean Baker movie ‘Red Rocket.’ “Finally I feel comfortable saying I’m an actor,” the former MTV host and rapper told us.
We then met the talented and thoughtful young actor Sam Corlett, discussing his breakout role in the blockbuster Netflix series ‘Vikings: Valhalla’, and what he had learned from embodying the Norse explorer Leif Erikson. “Leif grew up in Greenland, in a very harsh environment,” Sam explained. “So being a survivalist was a necessary thing. For Leif, steadiness was key, and being economic in his energy and expression. He stayed grounded and stood up for what he felt was right for the people he loved, and that’s why he’s remembered.”
In March, the stand-up comic Jimmy O Yang told us how he balances his left and right brain in his work as a performer and creator. “You have to prepare, then throw it all away and be in the moment,” he said.
Actor Pablo Schreiber, who brought the iconic ‘Halo’ video game character Master Chief to life in a new TV series, told us he is most at home amid the earth’s natural treasures. “Nature is my church,” he said. “It’s connection with source, and connection with something larger than us that we can’t quite ever fully understand or fathom.”
A titan of the personal development world, ‘Unf*ck Yourself’ author Gary John Bishop, offered fascinating and constructive insight into his tough love approach to helping people unlock their “tremendous capacity for change.” The straight-talking Scotsman said, “People who are drawn to me don’t want a cuddle.”
And almost two decades after starring in ‘The Wire’, Jamie Hector told us about returning to Baltimore to be reunited with showrunner David Simon and others behind that TV classic in the new crime drama ‘We Own This City’ — and his hope that the series brings more progress, and even healing, to the city. Plus, a compassionate entrepreneur we hugely admire, Jonathan Sposato, recounted his career at the intersection of technology, business, and creativity as he shared five tips to help startup founders of the future.
We loved Owen Teague’s insight into using music to help him form his characters, ahead of his starring role in the emotionally challenging ‘Montana Story’. He shared the playlist of folk, country and western songs that helped him find Cal’s rhythm in the family drama, and we have continued to listen to those tunes throughout the year.
Dapper director Paul Feig — the man behind ‘Freaks and Geeks’, ‘Bridesmaids’, the recent ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot, and much more — discussed dressing for success and pursuing challenges that scare him. “The path of least resistance is not the most interesting path,” he said.
Shea Whigham, one of the finest character actors of our generation, revealed what he has learned from working with some of the most talented directors in the business including Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Terrence Malik, and many more. But despite these towering influences in his career, his greatest mentor was his father, who encouraged the curiosity that fuels his immense talent. And after a pitch-perfect turn in ‘Ten Percent’, we talked about Hollywood, family, and embracing fear with Jack Davenport.
We teamed up with our friends at the menswear brand Orlebar Brown to examine what brings vital joy to our lives, asking four inspiring men what happiness means to them. The pursuit of happiness unites us all, but it was enlightening to explore how it means different things to each of us, and how we all look for it in our own unique places. And lacrosse legend Paul Rabil outlined his plans to shoot America’s oldest sport in the future by celebrating its powerful past.
“I really do appreciate what you guys are doing with your magazine,” ‘Yellowstone’ star Luke Grimes told us in July. “Focusing on the soul, the person, their spirit, what they’re really after in life, and the gratitude of people being able to do what they love, and getting success in things that they care about.” The admiration was mutual, and the talented actor and musician’s ‘Who the F*** Are You’ profile was one of our favorites of the year.
We also learned about the importance of rewilding our gardens into vibrant native plant and animal habitats from David Newsom, the founder of the Wild Yards Project. And our co-founder John Pearson paid tribute to a legendary photographer and legendary man, Kurt Markus, who had passed away the previous month, aged 75.
We celebrated our second birthday in August, and reflected on two years of learning and growth. The stand-up comic Jay Pharoah, one of the world’s most talented impressionists, revealed the real character behind his impersonations, telling us how faith and comedy helped him flourish after feeling awkward as a youngster. “I was the ugly duckling personified… I’m a swan now,” the ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni said.
We enjoyed learning about the journey of Max Nazarian, who left his corporate job to build the workshop and museum Planet Lambretta in Carson, California — which is now a haven for a community of enthusiasts of the scooter brand. And Alfonso Herrera, who shocked and awed as ‘Ozark’ drug lord Javi Elizonndro, told us how family, gratitude, and soccer helped him keep his cool while playing one of TV’s most fiery villains.
Ismael Cruz Córdova, the first person of color to play an elf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ universe, described how he used manifesting and journaling to make his childhood dream role come true. “I started really committing to what it was I wanted to create in terms of a legacy,” the Puerto Rican-born actor said of the shift he experienced after beginning to write down his goals. “And it became a journey, not just taking job after job out of chance.” And the star of the ‘Quantum Leap’ reboot, Raymond Lee, shared the life-changing moments that contributed to his first leading role on primetime TV.
“Diversity is more than just skin color and gender,” said Jacob Batalon, as he described his evolution from playing Peter Parker’s sidekick Ned Leeds in the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise, to a bona fide leading man in his new series ‘Reginald the Vampire’. We had a vital conversation with Luke Macfarlane, star of the groundbreaking movie ‘Bros’ — the first romantic comedy about two gay men by a major Hollywood studio. We were moved by the story of Andy Reid MBE, a military veteran used acceptance, goal-setting, and perseverance to help him overcome losing three limbs to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And business professor and media powerhouse Scott Galloway became the latest subject of our ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ profile.
“Everything in the world has a rhythm and a beat,” said Daniel Durant, the award-winning ‘CODA’ actor who was born completely deaf, as he discussed his evolving relationship with music and himself. We were profoundly impacted by our conversation about how Daniel has developed a deep love of music, despite never having heard a note, as he competed on the Disney+ competition show ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe offered insight into the purpose and process of the long-form music interviews that have made him the all-hearing guru for the record industry’s self-reflective new era. Harry Styles, Lady Gaga, and Kendrick Lamar are among the many music A-listers who have chosen Zane for their most honest conversations. He said, “The big shift for me was I used to prepare to talk, and now I prepare to listen. I no longer prepare to ask questions, but to respond to answers. That’s where it got interesting for me, when I realized that I was just a student in the conversation.” And architect Nicolo Bini described the inspiration and craft behind his innovative Binishells homes, environmentally conscious structures shaped by air pressure and beloved by clients including actor Robert Downey Jr.
“I think movement lives within me, which is why I’m a dancer, which is why dance chose me,” said David Adrian Freeland Jr, a leading member of the LA Dance Project, who was among five men we interviewed as part of an exploration of the power of movement, in collaboration with the luxury menswear brand Samuelsohn, and part of our special Style Issue in November.
We also shared a visual essay about friendship to celebrate the release of the Gucci HA HA HA collection, a collaboration between the artist Harry Styles and the designer Alessandro Michele, in what will now become one of Alessandro’s last major collections for the brand after departing his role as creative director. And actor Amar Chadha-Patel inspired us to commit to our own creative endeavors when he told us, “I think my proudest achievement was just believing in myself as an investment.”
We end the year on a high, talking football, religion, and James Bond with ‘Gangs of London’ star Sopé Dìrísù. “I really do believe that football makes me the happiest,” he said. “I think it challenges a lot of the things I am proud of myself for: teamwork, athleticism, and problem solving.” Mastering these skills has seen the actor tipped to be the next 007, and we’re excited to watch his career continue to evolve next year.
And Tony Revolori described his journey from working with Wes Anderson in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ to his starring role in the new Disney+ series ‘Willow’ — and how he has overcome anxiety to shine on screen. “Back in the day, this would not be a conversation we’d be having,” he said. “So I think it’s wonderful that people are opening up now. It helps normalize that we all feel this way, and that it’s okay to feel this way.”
Main image photographers: Beau Grealy, Dennis Leupold, Guy Aroch, Gavin Bond, Dylan Coulter, Austin Hargrave, Reto Sterchi, Hamish Brown, Lee Morgan, Alex Loucas, Mark Griffin Champion. With huge thanks to all the creatives who raised the game and made these images possible.