Everything I need to know, I learned from Leonardo DiCaprio

Today is the day of birth of one of the greatest living human males: Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio. I won’t launch into the whole history of us, but I will briefly say that, like many 10-year-old girls, I fell in love with Leo the second time I saw Titanic.

Well, maybe that isn’t exactly like many 10-year-old girls, but I was distracted by both Kate Winslet and the actual incredible cinematic history in front of my little face the first go-round. I went back for the blue eyes, though; I went back 13 times, in fact. Titanic is kind of my thing, and Leo has always been my guy, and I have a big book of his life in the trunk of my car in case I get in an accident and need something to comfort me, like when they suggested having pictures of your family in emergency kits in elementary school. I have a gas can, a blanket, some water, and a picture book of Leo. (I wish I were joking.)

Happy 40th birthday, you beautiful German hunk, you.

EINTKILF Leonardo DiCaprio

1. Don’t let show biz change you

One of the things that stood out to me while reading my trillions of Leo books and mags when I was a kid was the fact that Leo never changed his name. Producers and big Hollywood jerk-types suggested he change his name to something more accessible than “Leonardo DiCaprio” (because Americans are dumb and can’t pronounce stuff, you know) but Leo never went for it. Be true to yourself, kids. DiCaprio is a way cool last name.

2. Child actors are not always ruined

Leo started young, and I am not just referring to his Matchbox car and Bubble Yum commercials. He was in Growing Pains (duh) and, most impressively, he was the 7th youngest actor to ever be nominated for an Oscar after his incredible performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. All of those kinda funny/terribly painful Internet memes about Leo not winning an Oscar would have never existed if he had won when he was supposed to. I will mostly admit that Gilbert Grape is the only movie he should have really won for (. . . that he was actually nominated for, because WTF, has anyone seen The Departed?!), and I wish he had. Thanks for nothing, also-great-person, Tommy Lee Jones (who won that year).

3. You don’t have to say yes to everything

I will try to bite my tongue and not go on my complete soapbox rant on this subject, but I will say that I have always admired Leo’s ability to turn down roles, for whatever reason. He laid super low after Titanic blew the eff up and did rando indie films like Celebrity and Man in the Iron Mask. He still has pretty much strayed away from IN YO’ FACE blockbusters since then, save for Inception and The Wolf of Wall Street.Some roles Leo has turned down: the lead in American Psycho, Carmerlengo in Angels and Demons, Landa in Inglourious Basterds. I mean, I’m a little mad that he turned some of those down, but I see his vision.

4. Read books

One of the things I loved most from everything I read about Leo (and yes, I read things other than Leo magazines as a child, I swear) was how much he loved to read. I read The Old Man and the Sea because he said it was his favorite book, and I didn’t understand it at all because I was a tot. (I should probably read that again.) Slightly related, I also tried to eat pasta because he said it was his favorite food, even though I don’t like pasta that much, and I tried to watch Robert DeNiro movies, because he was Leo’s favorite actor, but my mom was like, “ACT LIKE A CHILD, CHILD,” so I cooled my jets.

5. Voting is sexy

Leo has long established himself as a political figure, and not just one of those “I’m a celeb and I will be interested in elections for one month every four years.” (For the rec, I’m also OK with those people.) Leo strongly supported John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, even going to numerous states to give speeches about how Republicans hate the environment and don’t recycle. (That’s the gist, I think.) He also super-supported President Obama, giving him money and winks (I hope) when they were around each other.

6. Stick with what (and/or who) you know

Because these two beautiful Scorpios have made five movies together and they are all magic (I don’t like Gangs of New York that much/The Aviator was boring), and I could watch all of them on repeat forever (aka, only The Departed), and they could be father/son if they dreamed about it hard enough (adopted though cause they are super different looking). But actually the lesson: I think it’s just fine and should be encouraged to stay with the boss you love, or the friends you love, or the boy/girlfriend you love. Mixing it up is overrated sometimes.

7. Childhood friends should be lifelong relationships

Forever, Leo has been best friends with Mark Wahlberg and Tobey Maguire and he is still friends with them today. They have even done movies together in recent-ish years (can I call 2006 recent or no?), and I love when coworkers reunite. It is genuinely my favorite thing. I also like to think about what their names are in each other’s phones. Is it like full name “Leonardo DiCaprio” or is it “Leo” or is it like “Leo” with various emojis? Does he group message with anyone? I have a lot of questions if we ever meet.

8. But seriously, the environment is important

Leo has made speeches at the UN Climate Change Conference, he has made short movies, he has made full documentaries, and he has donated tons of time and money toward environmental awareness. All jokes aside, he is an incredible human being with so much compassion and I constantly thank my 10-year-old self for falling in love with someone that didn’t turn out to be a money-obsessed party animal jerk.

9. What true love looks like

I don’t actually have words that could explain to you what I mean better than this can.

Kate Winslet, 2014:

That’s where she stays. Oh, my heart couldn’t handle more from them.

10. Other things

Saving wildlife is very important; one cliché thing in a lifetime is okay (aka dating models); Vladimir Putin once called Leo a “real man”; and risk-taking is dangerous because Leo has survived both a shark attack and a skydiving incident!! He is a super human who should keep his feet planted safely on the ground so he doesn’t get hurt.

OK, thanks for letting me get all that out. I didn’t have to Google anything except how to spell Inglourious Basterds because it’s spelled wrong and that makes me uncomfortable. Love you, Leo, and Happy Birthday. You are all of our shining star!

Featured image , Kate and Leo GIF via.

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