Sexiest Man Alive Michael B. Jordan Admits He Had an Awkward Phase: 'I Was Mischievous'

The driven and compassionate actor, who will next star in Tom Clancy's Without Remorse, says he was also "a little rebellious" in high school

Michael B. Jordan wasn't always quite as confident.

The actor, 33, who was just crowned this year's Sexiest Man Alive, recalls having an awkward phase while growing up in Newark, N.J., along with his brother, Khalid, and sister, Jamila. "I think a lot of my childhood was awkward," he tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "They used to call me 'Mr. Chippy,' my sister used to tease me all the time because I had a chipped tooth."

michael b. jordan and his siblings
Jordan with his brother Khalid and sister Jamila. Michael B. Jordan/Instagram

Jordan remembers "slap-boxing" in the driveway with some friends when he accidentally chipped his tooth on a parked car. "The tooth went flying; I swallowed half of it and ran around my grandmother’s house like twice," he says. "And of course Mom would take photos around that time just to immortalize that look. Thanks, Mom."

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At Arts High School, where his mom, Donna, also worked, Jordan describes himself as "hardly there. You know I think I was always back and forth to New York for auditions," he says. "I tried to have as much of a normal high school life as I could and still try to be a working actor at the same time which is always a difficult balance. But I ran track, played on the basketball team, went to most school functions."

michael b. jordan and his mom donna
Jordan and his mom Donna. Rachel Luna/Getty

He also "was mischievous, a little rebellious" when it came to getting into trouble. "It was always easy because my mom was right downstairs," he says. "One time we skipped school and I said I had to go to New York for an audition, so that was a cakewalk. We did go to New York to play basketball, so I wasn’t completely lying."

Michael B. Jordan- SMA SWEATERS
Michael B. Jordan. Getty

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The secret to Jordan's confidence now? "Fully realizing that you can’t make everybody happy," adds the actor. "You could have all the good intentions in the world, and you’ll still get controversy or some type of negativity thrown your way. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust the universe, you know? You’ve got to just believe in yourself and do what you feel is really right. I think that adds up and builds confidence."

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