Benedict Cumberbatch becomes unexpected sex symbol

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Eleanor Bogart-Stuart, staff writer

Part time English detective, part time dragon, full time unlikely sex symbol, the oddly captivating actor Benedict Cumberbatch has taken the stage as one of the most alluring Englishmen to grace the screen.

The television show “Sherlock” is mainly thought of as the catalyst of Cumberbatch’s sudden rise to fame. The award-winning British series stars and follows the adventures of Cumberbatch as detective Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his partner-in-crime, John Watson. The show has been incredibly successful, and many credit Cumberbatch’s appeal to his role in its success.

“I think that if you watch Sherlock his appeal is more apparent than if you just looked at a picture of him,” sophomore Katie Hertz said. “Personally, I think Cumberbatch is a very attractive man and can be considered best as a man of class.”

Interestingly enough, Cumberbatch wasn’t always expected to become the icon he is today. As if his peculiar name wasn’t hindering enough, people doubted his looks right at the start of his career.

“When we first cast him, people were saying, ‘You promised us a sexy one!’” Sherlock producer Sue Vertue said to Entertainment Weekly.

Illustration by Bennett Gershwin
Illustration by Bennett Gershwin

Almost overnight, a dedicated base of adoring fangirls sprung up around the Englishman. Tenderly known as “Cumberbabies”, the primarily teen-girl group has created hundreds of blogs, fanfiction and even an inspired name generator in honor of their favorite Brit.

But the question is, why? Why has this striking English man suddenly stolen the hearts of millions and skyrocketed to fame? As one of his female counterparts in Sherlock, Irene Adler, once said: smart is the new sexy.

“Honestly, I think the reason so many people consider him to be sexy is because he seems so smart,” Hertz said.

Cumberbatch tends to play roles that present a shockingly brilliant mind, from whipsmart Sherlock to the computer genius Alan Turing in the recent film “The Imitation Game.” But his rise to fame is actually another clue as to what the sex symbol caveat has truly become. Women are no longer interested in the stereotypical, muscled, blond quarterback. They want someone with a bit more substance. Tom Hiddleston, best known as Loki in “The Avengers”, has become a favorite due not only to his looks, but to his eloquence and intelligence.

“I never take that for granted. It’s kind of an amazing thing. There’s lots of theories about it,” Cumberbatch said to the “Vulture” when asked about his sex-symbol status.

Even though he may not believe it himself, it’s time he faces the facts. Cumberbatch brings something people have been craving to the table: a smart, talented man who often plays a smart and talented role. And the accent doesn’t hurt either.

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