thirstory week!

Denzel Washington Is All Sophistication and Charm

By
Photography Herb Ritts

Published October 8, 2020

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we revisit Denzel Washington’s meditative and sublime July 1990 cover shoot.

———

The turn of the decade marked the ascent of Denzel Washington. At the time of his Interview cover shoot, he had just won his first Academy Award for Glory and was gearing up to play Malcolm X in the biopic directed by Spike Lee. Since then, he’s been nominated for eight Oscars, with another win for his role in Training Day opposite Ethan Hawke. In 2016, he won the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at The Golden Globes. The introduction to his 1990 interview spread with model and actress Veronica Webb speculated that Washington seemed poised to become the leading man of ’90s Hollywood. If his filmography, awards, and worldwide recognition are any indication, he’s already achieved that and more.

Denzel Washington has always shied away from glitz and glamour. In his interview, when Webb tells him he’s turning into a sex symbol, he responds, “I’m turning into, or I’ve been turned into? I haven’t changed. I don’t do anything different. You tell me.” Over his nearly 40-year career, he’s redefined what it means to be a movie star. Widely regarded as one of the most graceful actors in Hollywood, these photos are a testament to his character: smooth, sophisticated, and effortlessly sexy.