Robin Marchant/Getty
Kathy Ehrich Dowd, Tierney McAfee, and Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
November 17, 2017 01:08 PM

Apparently self-deprecating is the new sexy!

First a bashful Blake Shelton joked that “y’all must be running out of people” after he was named this year’s Sexiest Man Alive. And now it seems one of PEOPLE’s picks for Sexiest Newsmen also can’t quite fathom the power of his own sex appeal.

Anderson Cooper, he of the distinguished snow-white hair, tells PEOPLE he sees himself as more “super-pale” salamander than silver fox.

“I see myself as when you lift a rock and see a salamander who has not seen the light of day — that’s how I view myself,” Cooper, 50, tells PEOPLE. “My silver hair is not something I’m all that thrilled about, but I know others seem to like it.”

Anderson Cooper and E.T.
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic; Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images

The host of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 continued the good-natured self-roast, describing himself as “just kind of weird-looking.”

Obviously we don’t see it that way. Cooper is one of 15 journalists, columnists and pundits who made the cut for 2017’s Sexiest Newsmen.

For more on PEOPLE’s Sexiest Newsmen — including our complete list — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

WATCH: Kelly Ripa Calls Anderson Cooper the Co-Host ‘That Got Away’

“I always think I look like a pale E.T. with a weird-shaped head,” he says. “You know how E.T. has a weird-shaped head and his eyes kind of bug out? That’s me.”

Shepard Smith
Fox News Channel

 

Fox News’ Shepard Smith, 53, was also modest about his Sexiest Newsman title. His initial reaction?

“Oh, I laughed,” says Smith. “I don’t know, it sounded like something fun and funny and like maybe they called the wrong Shepard.”

Ari Melber
Nathan Congleton/NBC News

And Ari Melber, 37, host of MSNBC’s The Beat, says his first thought on being named a Sexy Newsman was: “This is not objectively true … I mean, if we’re including athletes and actors and male models…”

Reminded that PEOPLE’s Sexiest Newsmen are in a class all their own, Melber quipped, “I’m very lucky to be graded on any kind of curve you’ll give me.”

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