Peter Kavinsky, the lacrosse-playing high school heartthrob played by Noah Centineo in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, is the internet’s new boyfriend. In the past two weeks, Cosmo published “29 Peter Kavinsky Thirst Tweets That Speak to Your Soul,” BuzzFeed gushed over “This Supercut Of Peter Kavinsky,” and GQ admitted it’s horny for Kavinsky. Centineo is—objectively—hot. His character in the excellent Netflix romcom is the type of boyfriend who gives his small, stupid gestures heartwarming meaning, which makes him even hotter. (Is it his hotness that casts cute behavior in an even cuter light? Or does the cute behavior accentuate his pre-existing hotness?).
Two weeks after the movie’s release, we’ve reached maximal thirst. But believe it or not, Centineo (who’s 22) has been in our eyesight for a while. In fact, at least one Jezebel staffer (Maria Sherman) is familiar with his work as an actor. Two of us took the time out to trace his origins: Maria, because of her encyclopedic knowledge of his filmography, and Frida, who has the hots for Noah and just found out about him from To All the Boys. Here, we travel through time, space, and bootleg YouTube clips to explore Noah’s beginnings.
Maria: I’ve known of Noah Centineo’s existence for a minute because I am, undeniably, a Freeform Stan. The television network tends to showcase unique family dynamics that are both impactful and completely ridiculous; I honestly think prestige drama could learn a thing or two from Freeform’s dedication to representation.
An example of this is The Fosters, a show about a lesbian couple who (drumroll, please) foster a bunch of children.
Of their many kids, they have a set of twins: Jesus and Mariana. Noah played Jesus for the second half of the series, starting in 2015 through its finale in June 2018. He started when he was 18 and like, kinda cute but not very hot:
What’s pretty remarkable about this role, though, is that another dude played Jesus—Jake T. Austin in Seasons 1 and 2. I’m not sure what happened to that guy, but Noah comes in for Season 3 and plays the same role even though they look nothing alike and Noah is, like, five feet taller than Jake.
Please watch this second clip from 2016. It’s so dramatic!
Frida: Omg, I just watched the first one. I am watching the second now.
A lot is happening in this second clip: Noah’s sister is accused of some terrible shit; he stands up for her, winning over a girl who suddenly wants to be a friends with benefits situation? Big day. Through it all, he does look really cute.
Maria: He’s a good guy (from the episodes I remember seeing). His sweetie-ness definitely comes through.
Frida: Definitely picking up some sweetie vibes. In the first clip, he looks like he’s missing a puka shell necklace. Not my favorite Noah look.
Maria: I think these last three years on The Fosters were crucial to him—like, he’s fine in that first clip, but then he is f-i-n-e in the 2017/2018 episodes.
Which brings us to our next stop on the Noah is Hot journey: 2017's T@gged, a teen drama on AwesomenessTV.
Frida: Omg, this show title.
Maria: So AwesomenessTV started as a YouTube channel (with its fair share of social media celebs) and grew into its own network, which is honestly pretty impressive. But like Freeform, it’s SUPER dramatic and insane—but definitely in Noah’s “I’m a brooding boy” wheelhouse.
The title is insane and very much not for us—people over the age of 23. It’s a guilty pleasure for sure, though! I think people who actually enjoyed 13 Reasons Why would like T@gged.
But that’s an aside! What’s important here is that Noah is 21 and a QT!
Frida: I had to pause it like seven seconds in because of the dramatic sound effects and slow-motion cuts. And then Noah’s voice: “You were one of those girls at that party, right?” This CANNOT BE GOOD!
Maria: It’s so dramatic, this almost registers like American Vandal or some other true crime parody. But it’s real! Teen murder! Spooky! [Ed. note: This show is real as in, not a parody. It’s not real like a documentary is real.] And we all know only hot teens get murdered.
Frida: It’s something about his hair. It has a lot of height but also a shaggy texture to it that is endearing.
Also, I can’t tell if he’s a good guy or a bad guy in this trailer, but the way he’s keeping his voice down in the library makes me feel like I wanna get to know him better.
Maria: The danger is sexy, for sure.
And being in a library = hot. (I realize the bar is low, but whatever).
He is keeping his voice down! I thought he was doing that whisper-speak Batman thing that men do when they want to see serious... and sexy.
Either way, sign me up, I’m seriously considering bingeing this show for more Noah.
Frida: Yeah, Noah aside, I would watch this show to find out who the killers are. But with Noah in it, I would definitely watch and fantasize about how my life would be different if we had gone to high school together.
Maria: I think at this point in his career, he was still finding his identity as a hottie, some thin line between “looks out for his fellow student/total softie” and like, delinquently dangerous.
If he can sing, he’d be perfect for a boy band! Can he sing?
Frida: He’s almost a little too hunky to be in a boy band.
Frida: Omg. What’s going on?
Maria: And he raps!
Maria: Nevermind, he’s perfect; fuck the boy band theory.
Frida: He’s so expressive in that rapping video.
Maria: I don’t know! I imagine these are more recent, and I don’t wanna distract from our chronology too much, but damn, he’s an attractive man.
Frida: Part of it is that he’s attractive and he’s also a funny guy and he knows both of these things.
Maria: Totally! It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but there’s something about that confidence—scratch that, something about just, like, being self-aware?
Also, I appreciate a hard-working boy.
We’ve only covered like three years so far, and this is a lot of stuff.
Frida: Okay, let’s do the next one!
Maria: So I only have one more before To All the Boys, and it’s one I know you’ll appreciate. He was Camila Cabello’s love interest in “Havana” in 2017!!!!
Maria: I adore this telenovela-inspired video, and when Noah falls for Camila—both on screen in the movie the IRL/glasses-toting/nerdy-ish Camila is watching, and then with her true self outside the theater—it’s just so sweet!
Even though it makes no sense that they would start dancing after they physically collide with one another—it’s a cute image. Also, I kind of wish they were dating in real life?
Frida: I remember a lot about this video when it came out, and the fact that it was Noah the whole time makes it so much better. I also like how when you first see Noah, you can’t tell if it’s him or not.
Who is it? Is he hot? Probably, but hard to say definitively at this point.
Maria: The hat is a red herring, too. Because my vote would be... not hot.
Frida: Yes! The hat is gone, thankfully, in the next scene.
Frida: He looks very cute in that suit.
Maria: I’ve noticed that he has consistently well-manicured eyebrows throughout his career. I appreciate it.
Frida: The eyebrows, like his hair, are well kept. Is that all it is, maybe? That he’s just a guy with good hygiene? Fuck.
Maria: I repeat, THE BAR IS SO LOW! However, I do think he has an exceptional face. You can take care of yourself, but some things are just a gift from God.
Also, I know they don’t dance much in this video, but I bet he could really salsa if you asked him.
I’m writing fan fiction now! The telenovela is getting to me!
Frida: He does have an exceptional face. The dancing afterward is so corny, but I also love. Can you imagine! Also, I wish Camila and Noah at least TEXTED after this, or date in an alternate reality.
Maria: Havana pt. 2. Could it be... he was saving his heart for Miss Lara Jean Covey?
Frida: You know, the first time I watched this movie, I wasn’t sure I liked Noah. Yes, I assumed he had the hots for Lana, but I also didn’t trust him fully, and I assumed he was a Bad Guy looking out for Himself. And yet, when I watched it again, knowing that in the end, his heart is true, I started to see him in a new light.
Maria: I actually had the hots for Josh in the beginning, because I assumed he was the heartbroken emo-y sensi one and I was like, “Yup, he’s the one for me!” But Noah won me over in the end, too, as I think he has for many people.
Sorry—Peter Kavinsky. We’ve been using “Noah” and his roles interchangeably, but I think that might be on purpose—all of these roles are EXTREMELY SIMILAR.
Maria: Peter is the peak, however. Truly the pinnacle of wholesome good guy.
Frida: And here we are! Because there is a world in which Peter Kavinsky could have gone Bad. But it turns out he was good all along, and he chooses to be good and confess his love for Lara Jean, and buddy, it pays off.
The world is at Peter Kavinsky’s feet.
Maria: I have to ask—were you surprised by the Kavinsky love? I genuinely was—there does seem to room in the world’s heart for smart teen-centric/YA programming, but I can’t think of a time before that it resulted in universal horniness. Maybe during the Twilight heyday? I just didn’t expect anyone to really have the hots for this character and Noah by extension.
And by “anyone” I mean everyone, literally adult fans and critics and EVERYONE.
Frida: It’s so different from the Twilight reception because Edward was like, kind of a shithead to Bella. Peter Kavinsky is just straight-up the boyfriend that America needs right now. We don’t have a lot going on for us, as a country, right now, and I think we needed a win.
Maria: I like that theory! And if we’re being honest, I’ve only seen half of one Twilight movie. I was just trying to locate an example where people had the hots for a “teen” character? But I agree with you.
And we love romcoms again! Set It Up, this... I hope there’s more to come.
And I wouldn’t mind if it meant more Noah, either.
Frida: Maybe Heath Ledger in 10 Things? But I saw that more retroactively among my friends, as teens watching that movie.
Who can be sure! Maybe this is a first. It’s a horny time, and I think this is the start of something really beautiful between an audience of thirsty-ass single ladies and gentlemen, and Noah.
Maria: I welcome this horny period of entertainment! It’s so much better than the alternative! And I look forward to what Noah does next.