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Nicholas Braun

Nicholas Braun subsisted on ‘only candy and coffee’ while filming ‘Zola’

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Nicholas Braun is best known for his role as “Cousin Greg” on Succession, but he covers the latest issue of British GQ for another supporting role: the crazy boyfriend in Zola, the movie based on the viral “ho trip” Twitter thread. As I dove into this GQ profile, I realized that I didn’t know anything about Braun. Like, at all. He’s 33 years old, he’s been working since he was a kid, he’s a Disney contemporary of Selena Gomez, and he’s 6’7”. He’s also just kind of loose and weird, but in a nice way. Like, you can tell, he’s happy where he is. He’s just famous enough to be recognized but not famous enough to be swarmed. He runs his own social media, he hangs out with friends and makes dumb videos and he’s into music. It’s kind of charming how quirky, nice and well-adjusted he comes across. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

He doesn’t find his self-worth in being famous: “I do love when people love the show but if it makes me feel so much better about myself that someone said this to me, I think I need to work on my self-esteem more.”

He’s an anxious person: “I guess I’m one of those people who is not, like, instantly comfortable with people; it takes me a while to know what version of myself I’m going to be with somebody. When there’s any kind of awkward silence, I’m like, ‘OK, probably time to go.’ But I think Greg doesn’t have that voice in his head.”

Being a Disney kid with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. “When you do a movie with Selena or Demi, you know, and they’re, like, being groomed in a way for being the next big thing, you kind of sense it.” At 13 he turned down the opportunity to test for a lead role in a major sitcom that might have made his name because of the implications it would have on the back end of his adolescence. “The opportunities to be the lead of a Disney Channel series felt scary to me. It felt like a commitment that might come around to bite me in the ass.”

He still questions his choice to spend his late teens as a normal kid: “I was looking at the Twilight people and I was like, ‘Man, that must be awesome.’ But then, you know, it dies down and it changes. I think I’ve just believed in the slow rise and to make sure that I focus on my work and that I remain an artist and not necessarily go towards the thing that would get me the most fame the most quickly.”

On his character in Zola: “I felt this relationship was kind of eating him up,” he says. Braun lost some weight. He put lesions on his skin. He subsisted on only candy and coffee. “I was just on this really weird, thin, kind of manic energy.”

Why he wore Crocs to the Emmys: “It doesn’t feel good when you’re wearing stuff you don’t like – you feel like a mannequin or something. You’re like, ‘Yeah, they put the clothes on me and here I am looking nice and slick, but it doesn’t actually feel like me.’ So I guess I’m trying to find ways to do this that feel good to me and in brands that I like and, I mean, Crocs felt like the right thing for an at-home Emmys.” He now owns ten pairs of Crocs, wearing them three to four times a week, and is expanding into more straightforwardly fashionable footwear thanks to his new pal Virgil Abloh, as he makes deeper forays into the world of high fashion. “I still don’t feel like I’m made to be in the fashion world but it gets more fun the more you learn about it.”

[From British GQ]

It was probably pretty smart for him to decide, when he was like 13-14, that he didn’t want to be a Disney kid forever and he didn’t want that kind of stardom at that age. It probably helped that he came from what sounds like a wealthy family, with a dad who was in the industry too. The thing about how “method” he is with his characters though… some of those stories were kind of terrible. He partied with Juggalos as research and lived on candy and coffee while they were filming Zola? Gross. And the Crocs… well, I hate Crocs, but God bless.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Covers courtesy of British GQ.