Milo Lukens didn't always know he was going to be a star, but he did always know that he was special. How could he not, with all his adoring nannies and housekeepers and chauffeurs and private tennis instructors cooing about it in his face since the moment of his birth? And of course, there was the family: the daughter of a political dynasty and the son of a line of self-made millionaires, each choosing to make their millions in some other way than that of their fathers (and uncles and brothers and cousins). They knew they were special. They would make darn well sure that their son would know it too.
Milo was a dream baby: happy, friendly, a heavy sleeper, a light pooper. It didn't hurt that he was fucking adorable, and it wasn't just the family and the nannies and the housekeepers who thought so. After the seventy billionth time Curtis and Louisa were stopped on the sidewalk by strangers asking if their infant was a model, they thought maybe all these strangers had a point. And while he was hardly an Olsen in the making, he got enough work to fill several of his mother's (assistant's) scrapbooks, tucked lovingly away to embarrass future girlfriends and grandchildren. Not just as a baby, but as a toddler, and then as a child, and then as a prepubescent and a teen who was somehow miraculously skipping past the awkward stage and straight to growth spurts and perfect skin on the other side. If nothing else, those grandchildren could rest assured that maybe those genes would be passed along to them as well.
It was a good thing he was pretty, because he certainly wasn't good at anything else. All the tutors in the world could only barely keep Milo from flunking half his classes or having to repeat a grade; even the generations of his family that had contributed significantly to New England's finest boarding schools weren't enough to get him in anywhere. Not one for academic ambition - or ambition of any kind, really - Milo took the humiliation of public school in stride. He was still happy, he was still friendly, he was getting elected to councils and courts without even trying. But his parents were starting to worry. What was he going to do with the rest of his life?
Well, in the meantime, he kept modeling. It hardly seemed like a job at all, so it was never a career he considered pursuing. But when Milo not only made it out of high school but got into college (through a combined herculean effort of soft-hearted teachers, merciless SAT instructors, a ghostwritten essay, and his own charm in the interview room), it was taken for granted that he would be spending more time at photo shoots than lecture halls. Why else would he only have applied to schools in New York City? And when he quietly dropped out of Pace his sophomore year after landing his first magazine cover, even his most ardent champions back home had to admit it was probably for the best.
It was modeling that started him down the path to acting. When the CW began casting for a pilot about a group of aspiring models, Milo's polaroids were thrown into the mix of headshots. When Twelve, a movie about spoiled upper east side teens shooting that same spring, called for a male model for a supporting role, Milo was referred by a friend of the director. And when The Beautiful Life was canceled two episodes in due to abysmal reviews and nonexistent ratings, Milo wasn't devastated, because acting had never been the goal - and it wasn't like he had to worry about covering the rent like some of his castmates. Besides, he was already in Canada, filming what was being hailed the next Mean Girls off the logline alone. (It wasn't.)
As it turned out, not really wanting to be an actor made Milo a great actor to work with. Whether he had strict talent was maybe hard to say, but he had no ego, no self-consciousness. There was no limit to how stupid he was willing to look to get a laugh, no spin on a line the director wanted that he wouldn't try once. He was still happy, he was still friendly, he was still fucking adorable. And from his few small parts in movies and failed TV shows, he was quickly gaining a following online.
Of course, the cookie had to crumble sometime, and it started with the release of the first trailer of Stonewall. In Milo's first leading role on film, he played the fictional white hero of the Stonewall riots - or something, or whatever, but Tumblr was mad, but those weren't real people, were they? As it turned out, real people agreed: Stonewall was both a commercial and critical disaster, and any attempts by the cast or creative team to defend it only made the issues worse. As for Milo, he didn't try to defend it at all; he didn't think it was his place. He was just an actor, after all, a silly talking dress-up doll who didn't know anything about politics or history or like, the gay. And while some people found his perma-lightness refreshing in the midst of overly politicized everything, others considered him irresponsible, especially considering the multi-levels of privilege he possessed. After all, he was the descendant of several Republican politicians. After all, literally every single person in his immediate bloodline was a millionaire, at least. After all, he was a straight white man, and who else was anybody going to listen to?
Someone better suited to be speaking, he may insist, but this is an excuse stretching thinner by the minute and the hashtag. There's nothing stopping him from educating himself besides his own laziness, or ignorance, or apathy, or maybe just plain dickishness. And ever since his casting as Danny Rand, being fucking adorable apparently isn't enough anymore. Sure, he still has his fans and sure, some Marvel die-hards will insist that Iron Fist wasn't actually that bad. But come on, they've seen The Defenders. In addition to being the weakest link in terms of character, Milo's also the weakest link in terms of performance. And if he wants to keep acting - even if he never really wanted to - something's going to have to give.