The six most awkward moments in the New York Times profile of Sam Asghari

He prefers 'performances, not shows,' and has a very odd, seemingly controlling team behind him.
November 15, 2021 1:55 p.m. EST
New York Times New York Times

For five years, our forever favourite and recently freed Britney Spears has been dating the mysterious Sam Asghari, a man who we mostly know for being gorgeous and having that hot, brief cameo in her music video for "Slumber Party," which is actually when they met. This September, she announced their engagement, a bright spot during her painful battle with her family and the courts.

Out of respect and in an effort to protect her privacy, Asghari, 27, has rarely spoken to press – except on the odd occasion where he deliciously defended her against her father as the truth of his conservatorship over her came out in the last year.

But after the news that her conservatorship had finally been terminated on Friday, with ever the perfect timing, The New York Times published a profile on Mr. Britney Spears over the weekend, in which he loyally refused to discuss her. Good guy? Absolutely. But other than that, the only thing we manage to learn about the man who aspired to be the next Superman is that he's surrounded by an incredible level of cringe, expertly captured by writer Caity Weaver.

Let us break down the moments you need to know.

1. His "creative director" randomly applies an undereye mask to Sam's lips during the interview.

Asghari does not talk much. But you know who does? The very present and self-absorbed duo working for him: publicist Brandon Cohen and "creative director" Maxi (who is later clarified to simply be a "friend", though a very highly opinionated and invested friend). It seems they both manage Asghari in just about every way, and believe he owes them his career. Both had different ideas of when this interview would begin and for how long it would last. They frequently interrupted the interview itself, especially Maxi, who at one point began applying a face mask to Asghari's lips during the conversation and insisted he change his clothes. As Weaver writes, "If Mr. Asghari is the heart of the Sam Asghari business, Maxi and Mr. Cohen are the palpitations."

2. Asghari seems to have no opinions on well, anything.

Asghari is "highly polite" but that also means he never once expresses dissatisfaction or negativity of any kind. Like, in the way of not even having a flavour you hate. Weaver writes, "Asked what aspect of everyday life he initially found hardest to adjust to after leaving his mother and sisters in Tehran as an adolescent, to travel to a foreign country whose language he did not speak, to live with a father he had not seen since age 4, Mr. Asghari replied: 'To be honest with you, it wasn’t hard for me at all. It was easy for me.' Asked to identify the worst job he ever had, Mr. Asghari...said each job was as enjoyable as the last because, 'I find happiness in every job.' ... Asked which of his three older sisters he is closest to, Mr. Asghari said, 'I’m closest to all of them.'" One bright spot: Weaver notes he is quite funny, with a deadpan-style of humour. Let's hope he takes that note and dips his toes into the Channing Tatum world of comedies that are specifically desgined to highlight a skill set.

3. Though previously agreed on, they deny showing Sam's stunt work to Weaver because there was no video component to the story.

Since he does stunt work, Asghari had agreed to teach Weaver some of what he was working on as a creative peg for the story. But on the day of their meeting, "upon learning that the interview contained no video component — there had never been a video component — Maxi and Mr. Cohen professed disbelief and skepticism that Mr. Asghari’s stunt demonstrations could be expressed in any format but one designed for the broadcast of moving visual media. At the suggestion that the essence of the stunts, as well as specific maneuvers, could be described in writing and then pictured by the reader, Maxi voiced strong doubt, 'because I have a vivid imagination,' he said, and 'I can’t visualize it' — and his dubiousness meant that the stunt demonstration was never attempted."

4. He prefers watching "performances, not shows."

Acting is Asghari's dream. While he's only secured bit roles so far – as "Sexy Santa" in HBO's Hacks, for instance – he's avidly studying up to further his career, doing everything from coaching to stunt work. But don't mistake him, he prefers watching "performances, not shows." For example, "clips" of Hugh Jackman and Jason Statham acting. Why bother with a feature-length film when YouTube will suffice?

5. Asghari owns a personal training subscription service that may not quite have entirely original content.

Did you know Asghari owns an online personal training subscription service? It's called Asghari Fitness and has about 1,000 subscribers who, for $9 a week, have access to clips of sometimes him, sometimes another trainer demonstrating different exercises (ex. “Bulgarian Split Squat”, “Dumbbell Good Mornings") and also provides meal plans. But with a little bit of research, Weaver found many of the photos accompanying those recipes actually came from other, far more complex ones elsewhere on the internet, and that the service is really more of a mishmash than it seems.

6. Maxi seems to run the show.

During the photoshoot itself, it becomes clear just how controlling Maxi is. Not only does the "creative director"/friend decide last minute that Asghari's outfit won't work for the shoot, but he styles him in something entirely new (and which Asghari says he would never wear), including a full-length wool and vegan leather coat and and an 'I Love NY' T-shirt to on a very hot L.A. day. Maxi's excuse? "We’re going out on the street to make it feel like the L.A. version of New York' and 'Giving L.A. New York — that’s supposed to be the vibe.'" Later in the shoot, Weaver overhears Maxi saying a few damning, telling words: "Brandon apparently said that I was creatively controlling something. .. Which I do not, just so you know."

Um, #FreeAsghari?

BEFORE YOU GO: Paris Hilton is married

[video_embed id='2320491']BEFORE YOU GO: Paris Hilton is married[/video_embed]

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