Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on His Favorite Gear, ‘Watchmen,’ and More

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As our editor discovered for our November fashion preview, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does it all. He ran track and studied architecture in college, but then embarked on an acting career that has led him to a starring role in HBO’s new Watchmen series, which premiered on Oct. 20. Abdul-Mateen II plays  the husband of Sister Night, the central character in the series, which gives him a unique spot in the DC superhero universe. To get a little more insight into what makes him tick, we sat down with him for our lightning round of get-to-know-you questions—the MJ5. Here’s what we learned.

Abdul-Mateen II lives a somewhat nomadic existence between shoots, and every nomad needs good luggage. For him, that’s a trusty brown leather Tumi backback. The bag “travels with me everywhere,” he told Men’s Journal.

Speaking of travel, Abdul-Mateen II is down to go pretty much anywhere, especially if it’s outside the U.S. He loves to travel internationally, including places like Australia, Brazil, and Ethiopia. For him, those kinds of trips are a valuable learning experience, and a chance to try new foods and meet new people.

But no matter where he finds himself, one cocktail is always at the top of his list: a Beautiful. This tasty, simple drink is a mix of one part Hennessy, one part Grand Marnier, and a dash of lemon juice.

“It’s a good time,” he said.

And if you catch Abdul-Mateen II in the kitchen, you’re in for a treat. His go-to meal is grilled salmon with sweet potatoes and broccoli. We love a guy who cooks, but especially one who cooks healthy.

So how did this architecture student turned actor and fashion icon get to where he is today? With help from a solid piece of advice: Bet on yourself. It’s clearly taken him very far, including as one of the stars in Watchmen, which he’s very excited about.

“It’s a lot of talent on that show,” he said. “The entire cast is really stacked.”

Check out the full interview in the video above, and don’t miss our story on Abdul-Mateen II and his retro-inspired style in our latest issue, on newsstands now.