It’s #JaredLoveDay on Twitter and Tumblr — we couldn’t contain our respect, appreciation and affection for Mr. Padalecki in 140 characters, so we thought we’d post here instead. And share a few of the reasons why we think he’s special. These are my personal reasons — we have no doubt you all have your own!
Keep in mind we’re counting up to #1 here, starting at the bottom of our Top Ten Reasons We Love Jared Padalecki list.
#10. He’s nice to look at.
Sure, he’s gorgeous – that’s indisputable. There are entire memes dedicated to his flowing locks (and ones dedicated to his chiseled abs and those lovely hipbones too). Even Saxx Underwear knows a good thing when it sees one, and tries to recruit him as a model every time he puts his hands over his head onstage at a con.
# 9. That’s not his priority.
But that’s just the outside. The first time we sat down to chat with Jared, in his trailer on the Supernatural set with Harley and Sadie at our feet, Jared talked about why that wasn’t the most important thing.
Jared: “When I started Gilmore Girls I was eighteen, fresh out of Texas, just graduated high school…pretty naïve. And the fifth episode, they cut my hair and the internet was kind of new and I was like oh weird, they write about it? Cool! So I read it and a girl was like, he looks ugly, he looks like a girl, and I was like, that hurts! … and not only is the bad bad, but the good is bad. Even if they say he looks hot, he looks better than he used to. Even that’s bad, you get cocky or you get the false confidence or arrogance and you know, just start focusing on vanity, which I don’t want to do. My job is to flesh out Sam Winchester however I can, not to take from a billion people, but to play it my way. Otherwise all these shows would be CGI – but there’s nothing interesting in that, they would make it exactly like choose your own adventure novels, but that’s not fun, that’s not interesting.” – from Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
We knew right then that Jared was so much more than a hot guy on the CW. I think I blurted out at some point during that first meeting, “Wow, you’re really thoughtful about all this.” [headdesk]
# 8. He goes out of his way to help – sometimes way out of his way!
That first visit to the set also showed us what sort of person Jared is, and how willing to go above and beyond to help someone else. Even two someones he didn’t even know at the time. We were supposed to interview Jared and Jensen that day during a break in filming, off to the side of the soundstage so someone could presumably keep an eye on us. Unfortunately, there were no breaks in filming. At nearly midnight, Jared was finally done, but the PA informed us regretfully that he had to catch a flight and wouldn’t be able to speak to us. We understood, having just watched how hard the cast and crew was working all day and into the night. But we hadn’t counted on what a nice guy Jared was.
As we sat there reminding ourselves that we’d just had the best day EVER anyway, even without Jared and Jensen interviews, Jared appeared, still full of energy after a long day of shooting. He was apparently determined to make the interview happen.
“Hey, if you don’t mind coming with me to hair and makeup, we can do the interview there,” he offered.
We jumped up so quickly the chairs nearly fell over. And then we were off, sprinting across the lot in the pouring Vancouver rain, leaping over cables and trying to keep up with a man whose legs are at least twice as long as ours. We followed Jared into the makeup trailer and sure enough, he gave us an interview while Jeannie scrunched his long hair up in a headband and cold creamed his face. Not a smidge of self consciousness or conceit, not a trace of Hollywood concern over always looking perfect. (And yet somehow, he managed to still look hot…)
When he was done, Jared leapt up from the chair and said “come on, let’s go to my trailer and keep talking.” This caused us to be frozen to the spot in shock and fangirl exhilaration, then to stumble after him, totally forgetting our audio recorder. But no worries – Jared had helpfully grabbed it himself, and was still talking into it as we made our way to his trailer. The guy thinks of everything!
# 7. He’s an animal lover.
So, gorgeous? Check. Kind and considerate and giving and not at all stuck up? Check. Next we added dog lover to the list of reasons we were head over heels, as Jared introduced us to Harley and Sadie. I know a few of the actors have had unexpected (and amusing) run-ins with Jared’s dogs, but with us, they were as affectionate and loving as their master seems to be. Jared clued us in on how to get them to pose for a photo (he keeps tasty snacks in the fridge for them) – and he posed with them too. The rest of that story, and the picture, with Jared wearing fewer clothes than he had been on set, is in Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls. I’m still amazed that we managed to actually carry on a coherent conversation.
# 6. His acting has brought Sam Winchester to life and made us feel for him a million times over.
Then there’s his acting, which is a gift to those of us who happen to be obsessed with that television show he’s on. Without the talent of the actors who bring my favorite characters to life each week, the Show wouldn’t be what it is. It wouldn’t draw me in week after week, month after month, year after year. I wouldn’t sob inconsolably when Dean dies in Sam’s arms, or jump up and down in celebration when Sam gets his soul back and hugs his brother. Jared has made me feel so many things when it comes to Sam Winchester, and all those emotions are what keeps me in love with Supernatural. I’m very grateful.
I don’t know much about acting other than what the actors I’ve talked with have told me, but it seems to me that the ability to feel strongly is a prerequisite for conveying a character’s feelings onscreen. Jared is clearly passionate about his family and his friends and the character he plays. I was able to have a more informal chat over dinner with Jared and Jensen a year or so ago, and they talked about how to ‘make it work’ with families, new babies, and a Vancouver show that they loved doing. It seems this year they both figured it out, with families and kids settled in Austin, jet skiing on the weekends and tweeting pictures and basically seeming like one big happy family.
# 5. His friendship with his co-star is one of a kind
The deep friendship between Jared and Jensen is not only a wonderful thing to witness, but every showrunner the Show has ever had credits their chemistry with bringing Sam and Dean’s relationship to life onscreen – and keeping Supernatural on the air for its tenth season. It’s inspiring, and joyous, and seems like a rarity in a world full of backstabbing and envy and wank. That those two genuinely support each other and have become brothers in real life is a source of never-ending squee for our very fortunate fandom.
The first time we met Jared, he talked about his friendship with Jensen (at the time, Jensen was living with Jared in Vancouver).
Jared: “When times are hard for me, or I’ve got something I’m going through, it’s nice to be like, hey man, can I just rattle with you for a little bit, rap about some stuff, and he’s like sure, and vice versa. And it’s nice to have a friend… I’m pretty independent and I love my alone time, and I could live alone pretty easily, but it’s nice to have a friend.” — from Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
Jensen said the same thing.
Jensen: “We’ll go out together all the time and share each other’s problems and it’s affection, and we are, it’s a friendship that, for Jared and I, God it’s a good friendship…. We’ve got each other’s backs and I support him in the decisions he makes, and will give him advice when he needs it, and he does the same for me. He went through a rocky thing this summer, and I was there for him for that.” — from Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
Us: “That’s exactly what Jared said, that you’re always there for him.”
Jensen: “It almost turns into art imitating life, or life imitating art. We play brothers on screen but we’re kinda brothers off screen as well.”
If anything, that’s even more true six years later!
# 4. He’s never lost his boyish enthusiasm and isn’t afraid to show it.
I also love Jared for his enthusiasm. Whether it’s his infectious laugh, or the way he turns his chair around and wraps his legs around it, or his overflowing excitement every time Jensen sings (I think Jared might be as joyous as I am every time Jensen takes to the mike – which is alot recently!). Whether it’s the way he greets Gen when she’s persuaded to come onstage or goofs off with his friend Brian Buckley backstage.
No matter what he’s doing, Jared’s love of life and his affection for those he calls his friends just shines through. I dare you to watch him and not be smiling so much your face aches!
As most of you know, the cast celebrated Rob Benedict’s birthday at last weekend’s DallasCon with a 44-candle birthday cake carried by Jensen and a huge bunch of balloons carried by Jared (and some hysterical birthday gifts, but more about that in our next DallasCon post…).
Jared’s obvious glee at being able to bring so much joy to a good friend was heartwarming. I think this was my favorite part of the entire con – Best. Cast. Ever.
#3. He’s not afraid to make mistakes and then laugh at himself for them.
There was that time he pulled the lever that stopped all the trains in some part of Europe so he could jump off the train and retrieve Gen’s bag that was left on the platform (which didn’t work, but oh well). Richard Speight tells the train story in a way that will have you holding your sides from laughter, so go find a clip if you haven’t heard it. I love that Jared is perfectly willing to tell the story and poke fun at himself. I mean, who hasn’t impulsively done something and then thought oops? (Maybe not quite on the level of bringing all the trains in part of a country to a halt, but…)
# 2. The way he interacts with fans.
Last year at a con, a fan came forward to tell Jared and Jensen that she had managed to make a big change in her life as a result of loving Supernatural and their inspiration. She brought them her sobriety chip and wanted them to have it. I watched the emotion on both their faces as she stepped forward, the seriousness with which they accepted what was clearly an amazing honor for them. Last week in Dallas, another fan brought her sobriety chip to Jared, wanting him to have it for how he had been her motivation to do something that’s probably much harder than anything I’ve ever done. By all accounts, Jared was incredibly moved, needing a minute before he could move on with the autograph session.
It’s that kind of response to fans – the respect and appreciation – that set Jared (and most of the Supernatural cast) apart from so many others in the business.
And speaking of fans…
# 1. He’s a fan of fandom.
Those are all reasons to love Jared Padalecki, but there’s one more that’s personal to me. The entire cast has been nothing but supportive of all our books, and Jared in particular embraced what we had to say from the start. When we published our first book, Fandom At The Crossroads, we gave copies to everyone who had contributed, including Jared, Jensen and Misha of course. We had an interview scheduled with Misha, so we met up at a local Starbucks. We asked nervously if he’d had a chance to read it yet. Not yet, he said, since he was in the process of moving.
“But Jared has,” Misha smiled.
Yeah right, we thought.
“No, he really has,” Misha insisted. “He read all of it. Seriously.”
We weren’t convinced. Later that day, I brought a copy of the book through the autograph line so we could raise some money for a charity drive.
Jared grinned when I put the book in front of him. “I read it – all of it,” he smiled.
I nodded politely.
“No really,” Jared insisted. “Every page. Go ahead, ask me anything!”
He wasn’t kidding.
“I want to thank you for writing it,” he went on. “It really helped me to understand fandom, and that’s really important to me.”
I think I got something in my eye at that point and had to walk away.
The night we went out to dinner in Vancouver, one of the other people at the table asked if Jared and Jensen were excited about starting a new season after eight years.
“Yes!” they said in unison, and he asked why Jared and Jensen thought they’d stayed so invested.
Jared turned to me (which probably resulted in me blushing, but whatever).
“I think it’s actually because of what you wrote about in Fandom At The Crossroads and Fangasm,” he said. “It’s because of the fans, because this show has made a difference in so many people’s lives. It’s about how being a fan is bigger than the show, it’s about the community, and making best friends through fandom, and all the charitable work that fans can organize around and do, like the St. Jude’s contribution that fans did, and we’re just so impressed and so grateful.”
Soon after, at a convention, Jared talked more about how amazing fan culture is, how wonderful it is that fans are able to go out and express themselves through fandom – and that he hopes we keep it up. Then he got onstage and told the entire auditorium:
“Fandom is the place you can be yourselves. And you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is a place where we are all allowed to be who we are, not who they want us to be. So stay here and let’s all raise a lot of money for some amazing causes, and just be who we want to be, and – if you’re less than eighteen close your ears – fuck everyone else.”
That’s exactly what we wanted to say in our books – to hear Jared say it so passionately was wonderful. I love that he gets it. In fact, he was the first to start calling us, this amazing diverse group of fans and actors and crew members and producers, the SPN Family.
Stay tuned for more from Jared and the rest of the gang – and tell us why you love Jared in the comments below if you’re so inclined. Happy #JaredLoveDay!
If you’d like to read more from Jared (and Jensen
and Misha and Richard and Jim and Matt and…)
check out Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, Fan
Phenomena: Supernatural, and Fandom At The
Crossroads at the links at the top of the page