I always seem to be drawn to guys like Robert Pattinson. Not only is he extremely good-looking, but he seems to have mastered the subtle art of being cool and collected. This combination of beauty and poise makes for quite the charming and mysterious man. However, the pale Englishman did not always see himself as a sex symbol. In fact, he dedicated his 2013 book, Believe, to “girls and women of all ages who want to believe there’s more to life than dating celebrities. Or billionaires. Or both.”

So what is the secret to Robb’s success? Is he just that good-looking, or is there more to his story? I had the chance to speak with him about his journey, dating trends, and advice for young actors. Here’s what he had to say.

How He Got His Start

After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy, Literature, and Media Studies, Robb moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting. However, he quickly realized that the tough American industry was not for him.

“I had this idea that the movie industry was this sort of glamorous place, and I just wasn’t finding it glamorous at all,” he told Elle. “I went to a lot of auditions and got a lot of bit parts, but I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I just kind of gave up and went back home.”

While he was in London, Robb met Kate, the daughter of a family friend. Impressed by the young man’s poise and intelligence, Kate’s parents thought he would make a suitable match for their only child. And so, to England he went, where he fell in love with the country and its people. After a courtship filled with laughter and joy, the couple tied the knot in 2013.

The Changing Of The Guard

With the transition to married life came new opportunities for the film star -– including some scary ones. Following the success of his 2010 film Wuthering Heights, which was adapted from Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel of the same name, producer Andrew Lloyd Webber cast Robb in a leading role in his 2015 musical adaptation of Jane Eyre. Though the film did not do as good as expected at the box office, it did prove to be a turning point for the actor. Suddenly, he was no longer an unknown entity; he was known and, more importantly, respected for his talent. The role itself was a transformative experience for him, affording him the opportunity to fully explore his characters and bring a depth and dimension to the material that he had not previously been able to bring to the table. As he told Elle, “Before I started doing musicals, I felt like I was limiting myself. I didn’t want to do anything but play lead guitar in a band or be in a rock band. But being in the [musical] production opened up a whole new world for me.”

With his success as Jane Eyre’s Edward come and gone, it was only a matter of time before his character’s biggest fan turned him into a target for her vengeance. The Lost Boys marked the beginning of a new trend for the Hollywood star, as he was subsequently cast in the role of a teen heartthrob, leading to similar parts in Now You See Me and The Great Gatsby. Though he has largely stayed away from musicals in the past, the role of the dashing American dreamer Jay Gatsby required him to don a mustache and grow his hair, which he has had for the last two years. It’s clearly had something to do with the success of these last few films, as he has started to land some high-profile gigs, like the upcoming thriller A Most Violent Week.

The Rise Of The Status Quo

If there’s one thing that’s constant in the world of celebrity it’s change, and the changing of the guard is no different. With the rise of the ‘grammable, like-minded celebs like Bella and Gigi Hadid, the next big thing can seem almost pre-ordained. Theirs is a world of cool, calm, and collected; they keep the good times coming with plenty of partying, dating, and, of course, Instagramming.

For a while, it seemed like it would be difficult for Pattinson to find the same level of success without falling into the same pitfalls. However, over the past two years, he has worked hard to establish himself as a legitimate leading man, while also building a reputation as a serious actor. The Englishman credits this to a number of factors, from sticking to his guns and not being afraid to go against the grain, to taking on serious roles and being able to rely on his impressive acting resume.

“I think the reason why I’ve managed to avoid a lot of the pitfalls that other guys have fallen into is that I’ve managed to find ways to have a good time while I’m still a young man,” he told Elle. “I think a lot of people at a certain point in their life just give up. They think, ‘Oh, well, it’s not going to happen for me. So I might as well go home and have a drink.’ I’ve tried to stay away from that.”

In an effort to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen many other young celebrities, Pattinson refuses to give into the temptations of celebrity. He has chosen to remain in the background, acting quietly and professionally despite his growing notoriety. In some ways, this has isolated him from his fans, but it has also allowed him to maintain his privacy and avoid the excesses that can come with mass recognition.

Advice For Young Actors

With his newfound success comes with its perks and its pains. One of the most significant perks is that his advice and help are often sought by would-be stars and young actors. This is something that he enjoys and benefits from, and so he makes it a point to share his wisdom and experience with every new generation of artists who come across his path. Whether it’s through advice, or simply by being there to lend a sympathetic ear, the Englishman is more than willing to help those who seek his guidance.

“I get recognized all the time by people who want to know what it’s like to be in a band, or who want to be in a band, or who’ve just seen some of my films and want to know what it’s like to act in them,” he told Elle. “I just want to help. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere; I just want to give them a bit of advice and show them the right way to go about things.”

While he would love to remain an enigma, the world is a small place and everyone has their secrets. It seems that the more we learn about the charming lead man the more we’re inclined to wonder about his personal life. Just maybe not to the point of obsession, as he would prefer that his fans remain focused on the positive aspects of his persona and the work that he has produced.