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“Professor McGonagall is so hot,” Nico Hiraga says, dishing on the Harry Potter character. “I tip my hat to Maggie Smith. She’s a legend, a genius. But her character, Professor McGonagall...” he says with a smile. “I swoon.” Hiraga, you had me at hello.

The 24-year-old skateboarder and actor is chatting with me on Zoom from his hometown in San Francisco. He’s a pleasant mixture of California cool and genuine warmth, wearing only a pink pearl necklace and no shirt. So naturally, I dive right in and ask what, exactly, is Hiraga looking for in a partner. “Honesty, hopefully—they’re hilarious, nice hands, dope style, and activities. Be active,” he says. “And nice feet.” I wonder out loud if Smith’s extremities helped her secure her place as his childhood crush. “She gets a pass,” he assures me. “She dealt with a lot. She had to deal with Voldemort so I don’t hold it against her if she’s got, like, a crinkly toe. I’m down for Professor McGonagall under any circumstance.”


"I suffer from a great deal of anxiety. The sensitive side of me takes over."

Despite our jokes, Hiraga is actually a complex guy, both a serious athlete and a sensitive artist with a wise-but-vulnerable core. “I think it’s 13 now,” he tells me, counting the many bones he’s broken while skateboarding professionally. “I can withstand a lot of pain but that’s physical, whereas emotional pain, I’m still working on that. I suffer from a great deal of anxiety. The sensitive side of me takes over,” he says. “I’m like Ferdinand the friendly bull. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read that children’s book, but it’s about a bull who just liked to smell flowers and chill out and watch the sunset while all the other bulls trampled people,” he tells me, illustrating the contrast between his inner and outer life.

Actually, his many skateboarding injuries are what gave Hiraga his start in acting. While taking a year-and-a-half break from skating to heal from a torn ligament, he decided to try out acting on a whim in 2017. “I never thought I would take this route. I always thought I’d be a lowkey skateboarder from the Bay Area,” he tells me. Since then, however, Hiraga’s star has been on the rise, mainly in female-directed films like Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle), Booksmart (Olivia Wilde), and Moxie (Amy Poehler). “I’ve mostly worked with female directors—I guess I wouldn’t know what to do with the men,” he says with a hint of sarcasm. “It’s what I’m used to at this point. I’m just accustomed to it.”

Bust Nico Hiraga JeremyEricSinclair Final 2 82c1cPhoto by Jeremy Eric Sinclair


Hiraga’s upcoming Hulu film Rosaline is helmed by yet another talented female director, Karen Maine. “Karen is an amazing woman,” he says, “and the rest of the cast is astonishing.” The Shakespearian comedy tells the story of Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of Romeo’s ex-girlfriend, highlighting the fallacy of unrequited love. “It turned into this beautiful, ancient, medieval movie, funny for all ages,” he says. “It’s a super cute movie and I loved filming it.”

But with greater opportunities come greater demands, and Hiraga has to be more careful than ever not to succumb to the trappings of fame. “Now that my career has taken this path and people are starting to recognize me and they know my name, that’s an aspect of fame that kind of freaks me out. I’ve never really been that into it,” he confesses. “I wouldn’t wanna go to the Met Gala over spending a night in SF with my buddies drinking beer on a stoop on a foggy night. That’s where my happiness is.”

Photos by Jeremy Eric Sinclair

Groomer: Stephanie Nicole Smith

Styled by Turner;  (pants: red september)

Kelly Kathleen is a writer, musician, and podcaster based in Los Angeles. When she’s not authoring strange and shocking stories about women, she’s the lead singer and guitarist of the garage rock trio the Shamalams. Her podcast, Pink Princess Phone, takes a deep dive into the secret psyche and shadow self of her celebrated guests. You can also catch her DJing in L.A. and waving back at people who aren’t actually waving at her. Her turn-ons include drive-ins, metaphysics, wet chemistry photobooths, back-seamed stockings, and the DSM-5. Follow her on Instagram @mskellykathleen for witty observations and upcoming performances.