Joel Johnstone knows all about talent. The Wisconsin native, who immersed himself in acting at an early age, has had a taste of both television and film. While you may recognize the young star in two of HBO’s popular shows, The Newsroom and Getting On, his background stems from theater. Joel is a huge supporter of the arts and earned a BA in theater from NYC’s Fordham University.
While his acting career is on the rise (Joel currently stars as Gus Grissom, one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts on ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club), his skills go beyond being in front of a camera. "A few years ago I directed and acted in a short film that I wrote and produced with a friend,” he says. "It had a very successful festival run, we won some awards and we're currently developing it into a television series. I’m very passionate about it and can’t wait to see the story live on.”
Joel told Maxim a little about what he’d do if he wasn’t acting, the importance of a black suit, and why Miller High Life reminds him of home.
In a dream world, I’d be a professional baseball player. Baseball was my life until the age of fifteen, or so, when it became obvious my abilities were mediocre on a good day. I ate, slept and breathed baseball for many years. It’s still a minor obsession and I have to limit myself to one fantasy league a year.
“Douchebag" is such a rich word. It’s got so many wonderful variations. I think “douche-lord” is my favorite, though it’s reserved for a very special few.
Sixteen years ago I visited Camden Town in London and bought a brown, vintage leather jacket for 20 pounds. It’s been my favorite piece of clothing and the greatest bargain I’ve found ever since. I’ve worn it so much over the years that the shoulders began to shred last year. I had it fixed and it's good as new. I hope to still be wearing it around town when I’m 80-years-old.
I love Miller High Life. I grew up about a mile and a half from Miller Valley, where the smell of the hops used to blow into the neighborhood depending on the wind. It reminds me of home.
I had zero style as a teenager. I’d wear whatever was most comfortable. I think my favorite outfit senior year of high school was a pair of cargo shorts, an old t-shirt and flip flops…with socks. But, my father was a very sharp dresser. Once I took notice of that, I think not until college, I began to put some thought into what I put on.
A tailored black suit is a great staple to have. I’m fairly colorblind so matching has always been somewhat of an issue for me. But, a black suit goes with just about anything. And, a tailored inexpensive suit can look a thousand times better than a pricey high-end brand.
I like clothes that last and continue to look cool as they age. I’ve had a pair of Frye boots for five years now and they’re just starting to feel broken in. I love that. Once I’ve worn out a very old pair of jeans I usually shop at Levi's. They also last forever.
Photos by Collin Stark