Within the first four minutes of Netflix's new show Never Have I Ever, Darren Barnet's fate was sealed. The moment his character Paxton Hall-Yoshida lifted himself out of the swimming pool, revealing his gleaming, washboard abs in slow-mo, Barnet became a bona fide thirst trap. But just like the other swoon-worthy teen comedy stars who have come before him, the actor brings a lot more to the table than just a pretty face and chiseled jawline — and he's going to make sure you know that.
Before Never Have I Ever was released on April 27, Barnet was a little nervous about what people would think of him. "I was worried because I've seen ... celebrities talk about when they read the comments section, how nasty people can get," he tells Elite Daily. "I'm sensitive."
But he had no reason to worry. Barnet's performance as the teen heartthrob Paxton has earned him tons of attention — so much so, fans have already dubbed him the internet's new boyfriend. "I don't mind the title," he says. "This being like, I guess my breakout role, I don't think I could have chosen a better one because, you know, it catches people's eyes."
Barnet is excited to use his newfound fame to show off his other strengths. "It's great having all the attention because now people are going to see that I'm capable of way more diverse roles," he explains. "I have other projects coming out as well in the next couple of months, where people are going to see an entirely different side of me."
Those upcoming projects include a newly announced guest-star role in the final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though not much yet is known about his character or how many episodes he will be in. He's also a lead in the forthcoming movie American Pie Presents: Girls' Rules, playing a "geekier" role he promises to be "a fun ride."
An intense deep-dive into Barnet's life reveals acting isn't his only strong suit: He also raps, which is evidenced by his Soundcloud page. "It's a natural talent that I've always had, where I can just rhyme and rhyme and rhyme and rhyme," he says.
Barnet cites Donald Glover — who became famous as a comedy actor in tandem with growing a huge music career as Childish Gambino — as one of his inspirations. "I think he's such a genius — like, not just with rapping and music, but also with writing, and all of the things he does," Barnet explains.
Music would be a natural path for Barnet. His grandfather, Charlie Barnet, was a famous big-band leader and saxophonist in the '30s and '40s; his uncle is an accomplished music agent; his brother-in-law is a music manager; and his father was a booking agent for some of the biggest acts of all time, including Jimi Hendrix and Earth, Wind & Fire, before he died when Barnet was 17. "I've always been surrounded by music my whole life," he explains. "I think it runs in my blood."
While Barnet hasn't released new music in four years, he's eager to put those skills to use. "I would love to put out a mixtape at some point," he says. "I want to do it all."
And he really means "do it all." On top of acting and rapping, Barnet says he plans to segue another one of his hobbies — writing — into a career move as well. "I love writing thrillers and suspense," he reveals. "I think you'll be seeing a movie [written by] me in the next couple years, because indie film — right now is the time for it. So I want to really kind of punch the world in the face with that."