If you're a woman who came of age sometime in the last 20 years, chances are the mere mention of John Corbett makes you swoon. For some, the name sparks fond memories of Chris Stevens in Northern Exposure; for others, it's Aidan Shaw in Sex and the City. Either way, the hearts, they tend to throb.
And eight years after the final frame of Sex and the City faded away, he's still wowing women with his salt & pepper beard and dulcet vocals. And he's doing stuff for charity, to boot.
Cultist caught up with Corbett as he kicked off the Kiehl's LifeRide for amFar, a nine-day celebrity motorcycle ride to benefit HIV/AIDS research. In the back room of Kiehl's jam-packed Lincoln Road location, we chatted him up about motorcycles, female fans and the allure of made for TV movies.
Cultist: How was the ride over here in the monstrous heat?
John Corbett: I don't find it monstrous! And let's be honest here, we've put three miles under our belt since we started.
But you're in long pants and long sleeves?!
Well, I'm trying to stay kinda young.
But yeah, I'm really looking forward to this. It's almost 1,800 miles over nine days. I think we're gonna pack in about 250 miles a day, give or take.
What made you get involved with this event in the first place?
Well I've been using Kiehl's for awhile. On movie sets, they'd had all kinds of Kiehl's products there, and I've always been interested in their labels and packaging. I got this invite about three weeks ago or so. And I thought, man, that's a big commitment. No one ever asks you to do something like that. And I love to ride, and I'm just trying to say yes to things right now.
I like that attitude.
Plus I'm not working, and that's a good thing. You know, I've worked a lot in the last few years and when opportunities like this come up I can't do it. So I just jumped on it. I said sure, I'm in! And it's for an amazing cause -- trying to find a vaccine that can cure AIDS. They've [Kiehl's] already thrown a couple million dollars at it and they'll throw a couple more hundred thousand when we finish in D.C. You have to throw money at stuff like this or it'll never move forward.
I hear you've been riding a long time.
I've been riding since I was a kid. I got on my first bike when I was about 13. I've got a couple Harleys, and I've got an old British bike called a Matchless, and I'm about to get a BMW.
What have you been up to lately? I know you said you're not working. Must be nice to have a break.
I've decided I'm only going to do things that I really, really, really wanna do. In the last couple years I've done some TV movies that, you know, they make you these offers that you just kinda can't say no to because the money's so good. But sometimes the projects aren't so good. You know you do them, you hope somebody doesn't see them. I've made a decision I'm just gonna do things I'm really excited about. It means I'm not gonna say yes to every project that comes along.
As a girl I have to ask. Chris (Northern Exposure) or Aidan (Sex and the City) -- which one got you more female attention?
Well it's two different times, it's two different decades. It was the 1990s when I got Northern Exposure, and in that decade girls just really liked Chris. He was fun and smart and well-read and eccentric. I kinda got more fan letters back then than I did for Sex and the City.
But that was kind of a family show. So I think more women your age watched Sex and the City. Like, our typical fan wasn't someone like you, it was families. It was almost borderline Christian television. It was real innocuous and harmless. It wasn't edgy. You couldn't cuss on it. You know, I'm a fan of the cussing. On Sex and the City you got to say "fuck" whenever you wanted. They would kinda encourage you to even say it more sometimes. It was bizarre to go from one show where you could hardly say "damn" to where you could say whatever you wanted.
So I think more young girls from Sex and the City, but man, I did have a lot of female fans of Chris. And I still I have boxes of fan letters, some of them from Northern Exposure days. Some of them were 20 or 30 pages of girls professing their love. I just couldn't throw them away.
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That's so sweet! Did you get to do anything while you were here in Miami?
We had a great dinner last night at the SoHo Beach House. We stayed at the Delano. Great hotel. We had a couple group drinks down at the bar after dinner, then called it a night. And that was it, we had to get up early. Now we're getting ready to start our journey.
Have you been to Miami before?
I stayed in the Delano 10 years ago when Nia and I came through for the My Big Fat Greek Wedding tour. We stayed here for about two days.
You should spend more time here. It's a great city. And if the heat doesn't bother you, you're 10 steps ahead.