Sexy, surprising, engaging. Harry Styles, who got his start on the lily pad of reality TV via boy band One Direction, has spent the years since leaving the group shaping himself into the quintessential modern rock star. A far cry from the knit-wearing surfer dude he was curated to be on X-Factor, his journey thus far has shown him to be a deep thinker committed to challenging our perceptions of what’s sexy.
On the second Coachella weekend earlier this month, he stomped on stage with Lizzo, twins in matching pink outfits, while the duo delivered a gritty version of Gloria Gaynorsfollowed by the famous One Direction hit
As if that wasn’t enough, he teamed up with Shania Twain to sing while wearing a stunning mirrored catsuit
Iconic and conscious, Harry has spent his solo career celebrating female performers of all ages, races and sizes. More exuberant than in his boy band days, Styles is the ultimate champion of powerful femininity; his own exploration of fashion against stars who have developed their own brand of sex appeal.
For a man who knows how to play the media game to absolute perfection, it stands to reason that the publicity surrounding the release of his latest albumwould be as avant-garde as the man himself. So what better publication to place an interview that carries his soul and talks about his sexuality than in a home and garden magazine?
Speaking to Lou Stoppard in Better Homes & Gardens from the side of a public swimming pool in London, Styles is both a mega pop star and your average Joe. Speaking of his love for outdoor swimming, he says it’s a great leveler. “I feel like people who have discovered cold water swimming are just so happy for you that you’ve found it too.”
Styles addresses his sexuality in the interview in relation to the sense of anticipation he felt as a member of one of the biggest boy bands in the world. “For a long time it felt like the only thing I owned was my sex life. I was so ashamed of it, ashamed of the idea that people even knew I was having sex, let alone with whom.”
He released his chart-topping self-titled debut album in 2017 and his second offering,in 2019, which peaked at number two on the Albums Chart.
Looking back on his first solo album, the singer says he felt like after his stint with One Direction he couldn’t make “fun music” if he wanted to be “taken seriously as a musician”.
While he felt “freer” with his second record, he was more concerned with making “really big songs.”
He explains that his priorities for this upcoming album are different: “After all, if this album doesn’t become a commercial success, it doesn’t feel like my life is over.”
However, it becomes a commercial success. The album is full of catchy tunes and copycats, and the picture Styles paints in his garden interview is darker and sexier than we’ve ever seen. There is a stunning shot of him half-submerged in a garden pond wearing a pair of knickers and a wool sweater pulled just above his waist, confirming this.
Harry Styles has mastered the art of the unexpected. He could have continued on the path that Simon Cowell paved for him and had a great career of ballads and love songs set against the backdrop of music videos shot on beaches with crashing waves and lots of chin stubble. Instead, he chose himself.
It’s not easy to buck the trend, especially when you’ve found your way artificially like Harry Styles did. But his punt paid off. He is a man of our time. Sensitive, in tune with his emotions and with a keen eye for style. As a musical magpie, he picked the best from the bunch and aligned his star with hers. And who doesn’t want to walk in his light?
In a grown-up relationship with actress Olivia Wilde and as Eros in the upcoming Marvel’s The Eternals sequel, Harry’s House is the icing on a very well glazed cake. His star is steadily rising and I would read about his garden any day of the week.