Dressed in a fitted black T-shirt, navy blazer, and dark-wash jeans, Chris Hemsworth uncrosses his legs and leans toward me on the tan leather couch in the photo studio where we’re meeting in New York City. A few pieces of hair fall in front of his blue eyes as he slowly scratches the dirty-blonde stubble on his chin, cocks his head to one side, and lets out a nervous laugh.
“Thirst trap? Thirst trap? What is that?” asks the actor, his husky Australian accent and boyish smile only adding to the irony as I try to explain what a thirst trap is to a man who pretty much embodies every sense of the word. “Tell me, this is fascinating.”
Someone on his team pulls up a picture of Liam Hemsworth on a laptop and turns it to face Chris while we unpack why his brother made headlines last week. “Oh, so it’s like, you’re trying to play it down like it’s casual, but you’re doing like a....” he laughs, gesturing to the now-famous photo of Liam in a cashmere sweater with his dog, Dora, taken by their brother Luke Hemsworth. “Thirst trap. HAHA! Ok. We’ll try to get more of those going.”
Like his brother, Hemsworth seems to have absolutely no awareness of his level of attractiveness, nor does he seem to spend any real time pursuing it. When I ask him how he gets his hair that perfect mix of tousled and full, he shrugs it off as a result of his daily surfing routine outside his home in Byron Bay, Australia. “My hair is quite thick and dry from the salt water and that gives it a nice shape and keeps it loose,” he says, adding that he sometimes uses a stick wax to keep it in place; he just can’t remember the name of it at the moment.
Hemsworth also has no idea what he puts on his skin every day. He just steals whatever his wife, Elsa Pataky, has in her medicine cabinet — usually to her dismay. “I was lathering La Mer on my sunburned shoulders, and she goes, You know how much that costs?” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “I spend so much time on airplanes, in the sun outside. A good moisturizer, my skin just laps it up.”
Even his fragrance — Hemsworth is the face of Boss Bottled Absolute — seems to be reserved mostly for important occasions. “There is sort of a sophisticated, musky, earthy wood tone to it, which I like,” he says. “It feels like something you’d wear at a special event or going out one evening or dressing up.” In his day to day, Hemsworth prefers the more comforting scent of home. “Surfboard wax. Coconut sunscreen. The coastal bushland in Victoria where I grew up,” he says. “If I go down there now and run down the track to the spot where I grew up surfing — immediately I’m taken back to my childhood.”
Despite playing Thor — a Norse god with rippling biceps and washboard abs that comic-book writer Stan Lee created to be stronger than the Hulk — Hemsworth swears that he doesn’t spend that much time in the gym. “Even when I’m doing Thor, there are a lot of days I can get it done in 30 minutes,” he says. “If you work beyond an hour, your body releases a stress hormone and breaks down muscle in the wrong way and it’s not even good for you at that point." Hemsworth recently made his interval-based workouts available on his app Centr, which I tried for a week leading up to our interview. I can say this: More than 30 minutes with his trainer Luke Zocchi might actually kill you.
That’s why Hemsworth says recovery is a huge part of his routine. He starts every morning with a black coffee and a shot of MCT oil, takes branch chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements, and keeps a Theragun in his backpack to work out muscle kinks throughout the day. “I find that is often better than a massage; a massage puts me in a comatose state, which is fine if you’re about to go to bed, but it’s certainly not good pre-training,” says Hemsworth, who also follows intermittent fasting and only eats between 12 and 8 p.m.
Throughout our interview, Hemsworth is humble and self deprecating, a trait he introduced to the Marvel universe with Thor: Ragnarok. “I walked into that role and felt like I had handcuffs on. It was restrictive and predictable and I felt like I was mimicking the sort of stoic, cliché masculine version of what a man should be that just wasn’t true to who I am,” Hemsworth says, describing how he and director Taika Waititi ultimately played against the stereotypical comic-book character. “Being vulnerable and admitting your faults and having faults is real and much more truthful.”
It’s a shift he’s excited to see moving through Hollywood, especially for his three kids, India, Sasha, and Tristan, to witness. “I look at my kids and I think, What a wonderful time now. The fact that my son can dress up as Wonder Woman, my daughter can dress up as Thor,” Hemsworth says. “My daughter who’s seven or my boys who are five hear someone say, ‘Oh, stop being such a girl,’ and they go, ‘What’s wrong with girls?’ I love that they’re aware and conscious of that."
Despite a net worth now valued at close to $80 million, Hemsworth’s humility stems from humble beginnings. “I grew up with very little money, and learned great values through that from my parents,” he says. “Now, being fortunate enough to be financially set up in a great way, I’m beyond thankful, but it’s a conversation we have all the time. How do we teach our kids the same lessons we were taught and how do we make them not take it for granted?”
For Chris and Elsa, that means imparting on them the importance of generosity. “The more you have, the more you should share and give,” says Hemsworth, who serves as the patron for the Australian Childhood Foundation, an organization that works to end the cycle of childhood abuse through prevention and trauma counseling. “I hope that they are empathetic to anyone’s walk of life and situations.”
Even their upcoming holiday plans have a distinct focus away from material gifts. "In the last 10 years, with Elsa’s family and my family living on four corners of the globe, we always have a Christmas holiday somewhere and that is the gift: We fly everyone out to a different location, and we are so lucky that we can do that," he says. "To be able to come together and catch up over the time we lost that year, there is nothing better than that." As we now know, it also leads to some quality thirst traps.
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