One of the most celebrated actors of modern time, American Timothee Chalamet made a whole event out of his presidential election early voting, streaming it live on Instagram and encouraging others to follow.
But it wasn’t Chalamet’s civic position that captured the Ukrainian audience’s attention the most.
Arriving to his voting station in New York’s Madison Square Garden on Oct. 25, nine days before Election Day on Nov. 3, the actor was spotted wearing a merchandise cap of the city’s Ukrainian restaurant Veselka. It turned out that Chalamet is among the eatery’s regulars.
“He’s a great customer, a great actor and we look forward to seeing him again soon,” Veselka’s owners, Jason and Tom Birchard, told the Kyiv Post.
Chalamet grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood in Manhattan located just several kilometers away from East Village, another Manhattan neighborhood where Veselka is based.
According to the restaurant’s owners, Chalamet grew up in a nearby residential section and went to nearby New York University. “Veselka is a short walk away from both,” the owners say.
While voting, Chalamet was wearing Veselka’s black cycling cap. Its front part is embroidered with the restaurant’s and its neighborhood’s names, as well as an image of a beetroot, the main component of the iconic Ukrainian soup called borshch. “My heart beets fast,” reads an inscription on the back of the $20-cap.
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Veselka has been serving traditional Ukrainian cuisine since 1954. It was founded by post-World War II immigrants Wolodymyr and Olha Darmochwal who come from near the Ukrainian western city of Lviv.
After the couple’s daughter Marta married U.S. Tom Birchard, he took over the management of the restaurant.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Veselka operated round the clock every day of the week. Serving a variety of enticing Ukrainian dishes, including varenyky, potato pancakes, stuffed cabbage holubtsi and more, Veselka is widely popular among Americans. It is also an important venue for the Ukrainian community in New York, many members of which inhabit East Village.
The restaurant sells its merchandise through its website. Their other gear options include T-shirts, jerseys and socks. Veselka also sells plates, mugs and glasses with its logo.
Read also: Veselka serves hundreds daily with Ukrainian cuisine in Manhattan
Chalamet’s voting look was accompanied by a Gucci jacket, a Louis Vuitton pendant and a Fila mask.
The actor posed for photographs outside of Madison Square Garden with an “I voted” sticker. He previously encouraged fans to fulfill their civic duty through social media, hinting at voting incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump out.
Chalamet, 24, rose to success after starring in the 2017 coming-of-age romantic drama “Call Me By Your Name.” The four-time Oscar-nominated picture directed by Luca Guadagnino earned Chalamet his first Academy Awards nomination for Best Actor for a highly-praised performance. The same year, he starred in another critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated film “Lady Bird” by Greta Gerwig.
In the following years, Chalamet starred in “Beautiful Boy,” “The King,” “Little Women” and Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” among others.
Later on, the actor continued working with some of the cinema masterminds, including directors Denis Villeneuve in “Dune” and Wes Anderson in “The French Dispatch.” Both films are much-anticipated premieres that have been rescheduled for 2021 because of the pandemic.
Chalamet’s popularity goes way beyond the cinematic world. He has been an influential fashion trendsetter and a social media phenomenon with over 10 million followers on Instagram. On social media and through media appearances, Chalamet often challenges conventional masculinity and stands up for gender equality.
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