“Think back 5 years ago. Think of where you’re at today. Think ahead 5 years and what you want to accomplish. Be Unstoppable.”
We added Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to our Gentleman of the Year 2014 for the first time but he has been in the back of minds for some time as he is a t gentleman and ambassador not only for sport and success but also for the fact that good guys do win. So this week, when his birthday falls, we pay tribute to the man with the dazzling smile and the raised eyebrow.
Born Dwayne Douglas Johnson on the 2nd May 1972 in California to Ata & Rocky Johnson. His mother with Samoan heritage and his father from Black Nova Scotian origin gave him his unique looks. His father was a professional wrestler and his mother’s family were a wrestling family. You could say that it was destiny for young Dwayne to follow the family business, but his first passion was American Football. Though an all round good sportsman his focus was football, where he excelled earning him a college scholarship. He was the first person in his family to go to college, at the University of Miami. Now known for his good humour and calm demeanour to all that come across him, initially as a young man he was a bit of a hot head, frequently in trouble and one for crazy antics.
But at college, where he studied criminology, he found balance and success until he suffered a back-injury which stumbled his career. He almost flunked out of college but with some help from his future wife, Dany Garcia, he turned it around and graduated. With the NFL no longer interested he took a contract in Canada and it turned out to be terrible decision. Broke, living in a dingy apartment and attending team meetings to eat sandwiches, it was a tough time which was made worse when he was cut by the squad two months into the season. Showing the grit that makes a Gentleman, he started all over again.
He moved back to Florida and persuaded his reluctant father to help him train to be a wrestler. His father’s eventually agreed but on the condition that he would not go easy on him. Dwayne leapt at the chance. He trained hard and under the name ‘Rocky Maivia’, in honour of his heritage launched into a professional wrestling career. Dwayne, is exceptionally proud of his heritage and his parents legacy, indeed he always mentions his Samoan ancestry and has a Samoan citizenship. This gentlemanly trait of not forgetting one’s lineage and being proud of it is a core value that we recognise and admire.
Though doing well on the circuit, he was not as successful as he could be. During some downtime due to an injury and with help from his family and now his wife, Dany, he re-invented himself into the character of ‘The Rock’. He later described the character as ‘Dwayne Johnson with the volume turned all the way up.” This catapulted him to the top of the wrestling world becoming one of the most recognisable faces in the sport’s history. In fact he took his persona and crossed over the mainstream, it is said doubling the female fan base for wrestling and becoming the figurehead of WWE around the world.
The natural progression for someone of his charisma was the movies and Hollywood came calling. His first movie role was a small part in ‘The Mummy Returns’ , which led to the lead in the spin-off ‘The Scorpion King’. A notable success and paved the way to him being one of the top action stars in the world today.
Indeed, last year he made $1.3 billion in total box office receipts around the world making him one of the world’s biggest movie stars. Now, Dwayne is also branching out into TV, with an ‘Entourage’ style show about sports called ‘Ballers’. His own company is producing a positive reality TV format ‘Wake Up Call’. You know that Dwayne is here to stay.
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger before him, Dwyane has changed careers successfully three times, each time taking a step up in success and he keeps on pushing, the hunger is there. You never know, like his friend and 80s superstar, we may see him step into politics but whatever he does he will do it all at full capacity.
Let’s talk about why he is on our Gentleman of the year list and why he is a Gentleman Hero for us. He epitomises the modern blending of the Gentle & Man. He is undoubtedly masculine, but is always showing his more gentle side. He respects his body and even though he is in his forties, he still gets up to exercise and take care of himself, most days this starts at 4am. That is dedication.
Dwayne is a stylish man, he is always dressed well and appropriately, you can see he takes care and pride in the clothes he wears in the same way as he does in his physical appearance.
He is exceptional with his fans, even stopping his car whilst out driving to sign autographs or take pictures. He looks after his family and friends, such as gifting a car to his housekeeper. He is loyal and close to those around him, even though his he is now divorced from Dany Garcia, she is still his manager.
He is frequently shows great humility and respect for where he has come from and for what he has. He has gifted money to his former university and visits prisons to speak to offenders.
Can you smell what this Gentleman is cooking? We certainly can – a legendary career both on and off screen.