People

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Sexiest Man Alive Dwayne Johnson on Making It in Hollywood: ‘There’s No Blueprint for a Half-Samoan, Half-Black Wrestler’

Updated

This year’s Sexiest Man Alive Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be the highest-paid movie star in the world now, but transitioning from being a WWE champ to a leading man on screen wasn’t easy.

The 44-year-old star says that on top of overcoming his wrestler persona — which he says was met with “skepticism and some cynicism” — there was nobody else like him in Hollywood.

“It was a little challenging because there wasn’t a blueprint for me to follow,” Johnson tells PEOPLE. “Because it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, there’s this half-Samoan, half-black wrestler and this is what he looks like and you just do it like him’ … I was kind of making my own way.”

For more from this year’s Sexiest Man Alive — and to see who else made the cut — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday

Johnson recalls spending years trying to figure out his place in the industry and wondering if a long-term acting career was in the cards, until he realized having no predecessors was actually an advantage.

Watch the full episode of Sexiest Men Alive: Through the Years, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS and Android devices.

RELATED VIDEO: How Dwayne Johnson Went from ‘Rock Bottom’ to Fame with Just Seven Bucks in His Pocket

“The aha moment was, ‘Well, it’s even better that no one did it before me. It’s even better that there’s not a blueprint. I’ve got to make up my own rules myself,’ ” he says.

Johnson continues, “And the aha moment came when I had a shift in my career and I was comfortable in who I was, comfortable that there wasn’t a blueprint and comfortable taking a swing and being cool with striking out.”