American Icon: JT

JT in Tom Ford Snowden on AmericanSunglass

He is so cool he goes by the initials of his first and last name: J.T. Not many have that kind of cachet, but Justin Timberlake is not your ordinary superstar.

Yes, he’s two initials cool. But he’s also likable, thanks in large part to SNL appearances that go well beyond the five times he’s hosted the show. It can be witnessed in sketches like his popular [fill in the blank]Ville series – Omeletteville, Homelessville, Wrappinville, Liquorville and Veganville – where he showcases not only his singing, dancing and acting skills, but his humility. He’s clearly having fun; at the same time he’s not afraid to look silly in front of millions.

In celebration of SNL’s 40th anniversary in 2015, Timberlake told The Hollywood Reporter that, “I find too, it’s the one place to go to be self-deprecating. I think that goes miles with the audience and with the people at home. That’s what people want to see.”

While he has embraced that self-effacing persona in recent years, Timberlake has long been at the fore of more serious stardom. It started at the age of 11 when he appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club before he truly launched into the public eye in 1995 as a member of ‘N’ Sync which eventually became the third-best selling boy band in history with more than 50 million albums sold worldwide. At the height of their fame, ‘N’ Sync performed at the Oscars, Olympics and the Super Bowl before eventually going into hiatus in 2002.

Since that time, his star has only risen, crossing not only generations, but defying genres. He’s not just a musical talent. He’s an actor with appearances in “The Social Network”, “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Bad Teacher.”

He’s a music producer, movie producer, dancer, philanthropist and a sex symbol; with the last on that list, he has been named by GQ as its Most Stylish Man in America in 2007 and by VH-1 as #3 on its 100 Sexiest Artists Lists. His list of accomplishments includes winning nine Grammys, three Brit Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards and four Emmy Awards.

None of this has seemingly gone to his head. To wit: in 2011, he accompanied Kelsey De Santis to the U.S. Marine Corps birthday ball after she uploaded a YouTube video asking Timberlake to be her date. That same year, he voiced his support for LGBT equality when New York legalized same-sex marriage, remarking that, “we should be using our differences to bring ourselves closer together, not be afraid of something that we don’t know.”

When you look at Timberlake’s list of music, film, business and creative achievements, it’s unbelievable to think he is only 36 (he celebrates his birthday on January 31st). As Michael Hirschorn of the New York Times wrote in his 2013 article on the star, “Others spend years in obscurity, carving off pounds of credibility for meager dollops of fame. Timberlake was more or less born famous, disposably so, and then fought his way to something more real and lasting. And he has done it over a two-decade span that has been marked by rapid-fire cultural churn, building up and tearing down artists at a manic pace. You jump on the party bus only to see it crash in a ditch moments later.”

We’re not sure where Timberlake’s bus is going next, but it looks like the ride is going to be a long, fun, exciting journey.

Timberlake and Fashion

No discussion of Timberlake is complete without fashion. Tom Ford, who has dressed Timberlake since 2011, once stated that the talented superstar, “has a kind of effortless cool that makes classic menswear tailoring modern.”

To embrace your inner-Timberlake, you’ll want to check out two brands that epitomize the word cool: Tom Ford (click here) (he's wearing TF Snowden in the image) and Marc Jacobs (click here).  And for a brand that has a sustained track record of excellence, just like Timberlake, consider Ray-Ban  which has set the standard by which all other sunglasses are judged.

Words of an Icon: “Don’t count the days, make the days count. Don’t think for a moment that what you do doesn’t count.” – Justin Timberlake