Byline: Hermione Eyre
Styled by Orsolya Szabo
So, there's good news and bad news about Jamie Dornan, the young man from Belfast dubbed 'the male Kate Moss' by GQ and 'the Golden Torso' by The New York Times. The good news: he's smart, sweet and thoughtful. Tidies up before his cleaner comes round. Carries stamps in his wallet because he likes oldfashioned letter-writing, particularly to his dad. Charming. Modest to a fault. Single. Broody. Touched by melancholia. The bad news? He wouldn't take his top off for our photo shoot. Sorry. I did try. But at least he showed me the Dornan Furrow (see below).
'I'm not going to take my shirt off every time I'm in front of a camera,' he explains patiently in his strong Northern Irish accent. 'It's very accessible. Google "Jamie Dornan torso" and there you are. I've done it enough that I really don't see how it's interesting any more. People assume you're stupid enough as it is. Then you take your shirt off and they're like, "He must be an idiot." Seriously, people approach me and you can see it in their eyes.' They speak to you very s-l-o-w-l-y? 'They're like: "Let's talk about grease and oil on your body. And aftershave. And your grooming technique." I understand: I mean, if I saw a picture of me, I'd probably be the same.' Said with the weariness of someone who, at 27, has been there, done that, had Gisele lying in his lap. He's been spooned by Kate Moss on a billboard, shielded Eva Mendes' modesty in a pants advert... Where else is there for a male model to go?
He's more interested in acting, having made a ravishing debut as Kirsten Dunst's lover, Count Axel Fersen, in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Much more stretching than simply working the Dornan Furrow. That's his trademark modelling technique. 'It's so funny. Until I do it, the photographers just aren't happy. They're like, "It's not working, it's not working." Then I look down, and then I look up, and it creates this furrow in my brow' - he demonstrates, devastatingly - 'Then they're happy.' He takes a big bite of his club sandwich.
'I've never bought that "my body is a temple" shit. Although mine does help pay my mortgage.' He owns (courtesy of a Dior Homme campaign) a house in Notting Hill where he lives with a flatmate. They went to a Pilates class last night, where they were the only boys. He used to play rugby; now he works out only once a week. He's not precious about his looks. On nights out, the Golden Torso opens beer bottles with his teeth. In a bar in Clapham a few years ago someone broke his perfect nose with a headbutt.
'And it was National Courtesy Day!' he says, outraged.
'When I go out with my mates, we're a big group of Belfast boys and at the end of a night we can get a little, you know, hyperactive.
But I tend to get my sensible head on and can be quite strict with them, like, "Calm down, lads." Which is why they call me Daddy Dornan.' Daddy Dornan is going to be a role model for underwear hopefuls this month when he's judging the Calvin Klein Underwear male model competition. 'I'll probably help them find someone that puts me out of a contract,' he says. Runners-up get a year's supply of Calvin Klein underwear. It seems a job wasted on a straight guy, though doubtless Dornan will do it gracefully.
He is often told how well he passes for straight. 'The amount of people who think I'm gay is astounding.' From 2003 to 2005 he stepped out with Keira Knightley, an affair both of them refuse to talk about to the press. When they split, he was quoted as saying, 'The man is meant to be the alpha in the relationship on the money and power front and clearly I was not,' but when I put that to him he cringes. 'That was taken totally out of context. I didn't mean that.'
Since Keira he has, as the tabloids put it, 'been linked with a string of beautiful women'. 'Which is hilarious, since I've never even met half of …