As we meander around the West Village, Elordi points out a pool bar he likes to go to with a friend in the neighborhood. Not two minutes later, he spots that same friend across the street. “Come here!” Elordi shouts, waving at a silhouette in the distance.
You get a sense that this is what life is often like for Elordi—a series of charmed coincidences, the universe rearranging itself so that what he wants happens precisely when he wants it to.
The friend, a rakish, long-haired painter named Marko Ristic, makes a mad dash over. They connected years ago through a mutual friend in Los Angeles, soon after Elordi arrived. He slept on Ristic’s couch and they would hang out for days on end, watching movies and tooling around.
“When we met, it felt like a childhood friend again. There was an innocence to it and also a connection over a lot of things, predominantly film,” Ristic says. “It’s quite surreal. Now, with him, it’s become when people come to him, it’s that”—he pantomimes someone shoving a phone in his face to take a photo.
Elordi needed this friendship when he first crash-landed on our shores. He was disoriented. To the outside observer who might innocently assume that Australia and Los Angeles have similar vibes—temperate weather, tanned beauties, plentiful avocado toast—Elordi will immediately set you straight. “If Australians are like freshwater fish, Americans are saltwater fish,” he says. “It kind of looks the same. The water is water, you’re swimming around, but you can’t breathe.”
There’s something about the camaraderie in Australia—mateship, as he puts it—that he found to be lacking here in America when he arrived. “The isolation is a big thing. When I first moved here, everyone was very closed in on themselves. It seemed like ordering a coffee was like a standoff. You know?” he says.
“With the barista?” I ask, confused.
“Everyone. With people in line, walking into the coffee shop, the barista. It was very guarded. Everything’s very guarded,” he says. In Australia, “a coffee shop is sacred.” Imagine: an entire nation drinking their flat whites together in harmony.
“When I’m in America, I feel like I’m killing time waiting for my real life to begin,” he adds, with a sigh. “And I spend all my time here.”