The year was 2012: the world welcomed Blue Ivy Carter, we got a Spice Girls reunion at the London Olympics, and a little ditty by a Canadian crooner was tearing up the charts. That summer, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was a bonafide craze. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks and sparked a viral dance craze with a little help from the Harvard baseball team. The song is the musical equivalent to your favorite ice cream on a hot summer day — cool and fun and no matter how many times you have it, you just can’t seem to get sick of it, even nearly a decade later.
Of course, it wasn’t just the song that etched itself in pop culture for all eternity; there was also that music video. The clip shows Jepsen thirsting over her hunky neighbor boy, imagining them in various romantic situations until the big reveal stops her in her tracks. As she sings her last “call me maybe,” the neighbor boy hands his number to her male band member.
While this may seem like not a big deal now, the world was different in 2012; the music video came out in March, a full two months before then-President Barack Obama went on the record to support gay marriage. But while the music video was a hit and is still remembered fondly, there was one person who was less than thrilled: the boy next door himself, Holden Nowell.
Holden Nowell didn't love the "Call Me Maybe" music video
Six years after the music video for “Call Me Maybe” was released, Holden Nowell went on the record to give some new information about the shoot. “The fact that they had to make me gay at the end of the video… it was all very… I didn’t like being known as the gay guy in the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video,” he told iHeartRadio Canada in 2018. “It was just something I wasn’t used to.”
Apparently, the directors originally wanted Nowell to kiss the other guy in the video, but he objected. “I was like, ‘I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m not going to kiss a guy, especially for $500,'” he recalled. “I said ‘I really don’t think I’m comfortable … what if I just give a guy my number or something like that?'” In the same interview, Nowell expressed how the video has turned into kind of a curse. “It was really difficult for me and really frustrating,” he said. “I was always the ‘Call Me Maybe’ guy, everywhere I went.”
So what’s Nowell up to now? According to his Instagram, he seems to be pursuing a career as a rapper. He looks quite different from his time as a video boy, with hair down to his shoulders and a shaggy beard. He also posted a few photos criticizing people for wearing masks during the pandemic, so that… is his opinion.
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