Though some film and television buffs outside the Middle East may be surprised to learn about the widespread popularity of Turkish actors, there are actually quite a few Turkish actors who have not just the talent to make it big internationally, but the looks as well. In fact, many of the most popular Turkish actors are known primarily for being exceptionally handsome, winning them legions of adoring fans from all corners of the world. The Turkish actors we profile here may be unknown quantities outside of Turkey and the Middle East – but something tells us that won’t be the case for long!
Dubbed the “Middle East’s Brad Pitt”, it’s not hard to see why Kivanc is so popular with the women of that region of the world. Tall, trim and exceptionally good looking, he is the standard Prince Charming of the region’s most popular soap opera, Aşk-ı Memnu. Kivanc began his career as a model after his mother sent in his pictures to an agency believing her son would make an ideal model. In 2001, he won the Model of the World pageant and has never looked back since. The modeling and acting work has continued to pour in over the years and there are no signs that they are about to stop any time soon. He had originally hoped to make a career in basketball (he is a statuesque 6’3”) but was forced to shift priorities when his father fell ill and the family had to move to Istanbul. Nonetheless, we think everything worked out pretty well for the Middle Eastern Brad Pitt!
Burak is somewhat newer to the world of acting in Turkey, but a well known figure among Turkish male models. He has the style and swagger required to own the runway – and own it he does, winning the 1st Runner up of the Best Model of Turkey competition in 2005. Some have even gone so far as to compare him to Hugh Jackman – a compliment indeed! His signature feature is his body hair, which he never shies away from showing off. We certainly don’t hear any complaints for his many admirers, either. He is just starting to get noticed on Turkish television programs, but we are sure there is a long line of producers waiting to cast him in just the right role.
Mehmet is at this point of his career a well established star and actor who began his career as a model. He has a quality about him that is simultaneously smoldering but light and fun at the same time. Perhaps that is why he has enjoyed such longevity in an industry where careers come and go in an instant. Mehmet has acted in several Turkish, Italian and American films, but his most memorable film to date is the movie Hamam (1997) for which he won the Best Actor award at the Ankara Film Festival. Recently, he has graduated into more mature roles, such as the ones he played in Istanbul Tales and Fall Down Dead. Currently, he is married to Italian architect Katerina Mongio and has two children. He also speaks French, Italian and English in addition to Turkish.
Cansel is another one of Turkey’s handsome leading men, though he is an actor first and foremost and has never expressed a desire to be a model. A native of the southern port city of Izmir, he moved with his family to France when he was just nine years old. He studied acting at the renowned Ecole Florent theatre in Paris. Given his varied upbringing, he grew up speaking French, English and Turkish, and currently holds French citizenship. Cansel has the reputation of being a serious actor and director, winning the Best Male TV Actor Award in 2008 and having already written and directed his first short film Papillon which was featured at numerous film festivals around the world. Look for more from Cansel in the very near future.
Burak Hakki is another familiar face to Turkish audiences who like their television dramas with a healthy dose of realism and drama mixed in. There is a very masculine quality to Burak’s performances which endears him to a large segment of the audience that also appreciates the more vulnerable moments expressed by his characters. Currently, he appears as Mehmet Bashir on the television series Maskeli Balo, though his longest run was as Huseyin Kenan Gün on Dudaktan Kalbe (From the Lips to the Heart). One thing many people note when watching Burak is how expressive his eyes can be with their surreal coloring and mysterious aura that seem to convey just a bit more than perhaps he would like us to know. What say you, Burak?