'They're just football shorts' - Normal People's Paul Mescal has reacted to the internet's obsession with his shorts

The internet has been obsessed with the actor's shorts for some time now (Photo: Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu)The internet has been obsessed with the actor's shorts for some time now (Photo: Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu)
The internet has been obsessed with the actor's shorts for some time now (Photo: Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu)

The paparazzi is something that all celebrities have to deal with at one point or another.

But Normal People star Paul Mescal could not have predicted that some of his pictures in the press would inspire such a strange fan obsession with his shorts.

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The Irish actor, who has just been nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Connell in the BBC’s TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s hit novel, has finally responded to the hype.

Here’s what you need to know.

Why are people obsessed with Paul Mescal’s shorts?

Paparazzi photographs of Paul Mescal wearing shorts sent the internet into meltdown a few months ago.

Mescal had already become something of a sex symbol following his portrayal of Connell, and fans took to Twitter to express their love for the actor - and his shorter than average shorts.

One person wrote: “I find myself thinking of Paul Mescal in those shorts much more often than I should be.”

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Another tweeted: “The Emmys saw Paul Mescal in these short shorts and had to give him the nomination.”

“Paul Mescal in short shorts is truly a work of art,” wrote another.

With news of Mescal’s Emmy nomination circulating, many fans are petitioning online for the actor to attend the ceremony in the infamous tiny shorts.

And it’s not just Mescal’s shorts that have become an object of public obsession - a chain his character on the show wore also became a focus of fans.

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Mescal was able to raise over €70,000 for charity by auctioning off his own personal chain.

What did Mescal say about the fascination?

Talking to Vulture, Mescal discussed the internet's obsession with his shorts.

Asking how he became aware of the fascination, Mescal said: “My brother will send me a funny tweet. It’s never really, like, a conversation that goes on for a long time. Because I don’t think it’s very interesting, it’s not something that we talk about for a huge amount of time.

“Around the family dinner table, talking about my shorts, it wouldn’t be the most interesting conversation.”

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When asked if he feels like his shorts are particularly short, Mescal said: “See, I think to an outsider’s eye, they probably are.

“But to somebody who’s grown up playing football, they’re unfortunately the standard short length in football.”

Emmy nominated

Paul Mescal managed to bag himself an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, alongside acting heavyweights like Mark Ruffalo (I know This Much is True), Hugh Jackman (Bad Education) and Jeremy Irons (Succession).

His co-star, Daisy Edgar-Jones, was not recognised in the Emmy nominations, something Mescal was disappointed with.

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He said: “The fact that I’m nominated is a testament to the work that she’s done.

“Normal People is the kind of show that - the relationship between Connell and Marianne [is central]. I was thanking her for being an amazing person but also the best scene partner anyone could ask for.”

Mescal added: “I know there are extraordinary actresses nominated in that category, but I think Daisy’s work is just phenomenal in this.”

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