For those somehow unfamiliar with it, the term himbo — coined by Washington Post film critic Rita Kempley in 1988 — is a portmanteau of him and bimbo that describes men who are physically attractive and kind-hearted but tend to lack intelligence (see Chris Hemsworth in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters and any male Love Island contestant). With a stunning six pack and a beautifully crafted face, Channing Tatum was born to play a himbo, and absolutely no actor working today can capture the spirit better than him. He wasn’t crowned People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2012 for no reason.
After a string of smaller roles at the onset of his career (Coach Carter, Havoc), the Alabama-born stripper turned model turned. actor found his niche embodying himbos in 2006 with the star-making one-two punch of Step Up and She’s the Man. He has since built a thriving movie-star career on playing hunky meatheads while continuing to charm us in real life through thirst traps, a relationship with ultimate cool girl Zoë Kravitz, and social-media posts that fully lean into the himbo persona. Tatum is one of the most conventionally attractive, Abercrombie & Fitch–model-looking leading men in Hollywood, but he’s also a versatile actor who utilizes his body to take on seemingly generic roles that explore traditional masculinity.
To celebrate his return to the big screen earlier this year and the tenth anniversary of Magic Mike on June 29, we’ve ranked the many iconic entries in the Channing Tatum Himbo Cinematic Universe (CTHCU).
Himself in This Is the End
A butt-naked Tatum shows up toward the end of This Is the End — an apocalypse comedy packed with every celebrity you can possibly think of who was relevant circa 2014 — for approximately a minute and a half as Danny McBride’s sex slave. (“I call him Channing Tat-YUM.”) Though not quite a classic himbo, since the point of his incredibly brief appearance was more the shock factor for audiences (he does, however, behave like a trained dog), the role works so well because it’s played by Tatum, a movie star and sex symbol who still manages to have fun with his roles no matter how bonkers they may be.
This Is the End is streaming on Starz.
Burt Gurney in Hail, Caesar!
A Ken-doll-looking Tatum appears in Hail, Caesar!’s best scene: a tap-dancing musical number in which he sings “No Dames” while dressed in a cute sailor costume. The Coen brothers are masters at crafting himbos, and while Alden Ehrenreich’s cowboy, Hobie Doyle, may be the definitive himbo of the movie, we must give a special shoutout to Tatum’s communist actor, Burt Gurney, who isn’t the biggest himbo around but has some traits — graceful dancing, a wax-figure-like appearance, and Old Hollywood charm, just to name a few — that put him in the running.
Hail, Caesar! is streaming on Netflix.
Himself in The Afterparty
Not only is Tatum the king of himbos, but there’s a strong case to be made about his status as king of cameos, too. After taking a long break from starring in movies, he has largely sustained himself through voice roles and random pop-ups in various media (Free Guy, for instance.) None has been more delightful than his stint on Apple TV+’s murder-mystery-comedy The Afterparty. In two of the show’s eight episodes, he portrays himself and appears as an actor who stars as John Oates in a Hall & Oates biopic alongside Dave Franco’s pop star, Xavier. According to Franco, he and Tatum ended up shooting scenes for more than three hours, and we deserve to see them in all of their glory (#ReleasetheTatumCut). It’s practically a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance, but we’re including it nonetheless because it’s a fun role that bears the hallmarks (cheesy lines and a terrible wig-mustache combo) of a great himbo.
The Afterparty is streaming on Apple TV+.
Leo in The Vow
At one point in the early 2010s, Tatum’s Hollywood journey was going strong: His film career was nearing its peak with a stellar three film run in 2012 — The Vow, Magic Mike, and 21 Jump Street — and he had become the face of sappy Nicholas Sparks–esque romances after Ryan Gosling went off to do bigger and better things post The Notebook. In The Vow, which is shockingly based on a true story and not a Sparks novel, Rachel McAdams plays a woman who gets in a car accident and wakes up from a coma with amnesia only to find out that she is married to Tatum (there is honestly worse news she could have received). Leo is an artsy record producer who wears fedoras, ugly sweaters, and deep V-necks; talks about Radiohead; and is probably the only character who remains likable the entire time. All Leo wants is to earn his wife’s love back (it’s nearly his only personality trait) and have things return to normal. He’s an absolute sweetheart, and you can’t help but fall for the intense melodrama of The Vow because Tatum is that distracting.
The Vow is streaming on Hulu.
Tequila in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The most disappointing aspect of Kingsman: The Golden Circle was its lack of Tatum, whose charisma could have significantly improved the film’s quality and success had he been in it more. He appears briefly as Tequila, a badass Statesman (the U.S. counterpart to a Kingsman) who is initially rivals with Taron Egerton’s Eggsy and Mark Strong’s Merlin but shows signs of teaming up with them before the character’s unfortunate demise. Tequila’s himbo energy is present but could have been dialed up, since the potential is radiating from him even in his short time onscreen. Tatum seems like he is vibing throughout the film, dancing in a blue leotard and cowboy hat before spending the rest of the film on ice (literally). Tatum’s presence on the poster is larger than his entire screen time, and Kingsman criminally underutilizes one of its best players.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is streaming on FuboTV.
Jackson Briggs in Dog
Tatum’s return to the big screen — which also marks his first time behind the camera, alongside producing partner and Magic Mike writer Reid Carolin — may have been a painfully generic and cliché-ridden road-trip comedy, but it also manages to have some sweet moments thanks to Tatum’s soft-boy energy. He stars as Jackson Briggs, a former Army Ranger suffering from PTSD who forms a bond with the titular troublesome Belgian Malinois he is tasked with transporting to its owner’s funeral. At one point, he pretends to be a blind man in order to get a free room at a luxury hotel, and only Tatum would be able to play the scene off with genuine humor. Since Dog is practically a one-man (and dog) show, Tatum literally carries the film with a strong performance that spotlights his massive pecs and has him eat edibles with random people. There truly is no duo better than a dude who radiates ultimate puppy-dog energy and an actual dog.
Dog is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
Mark Schultz in Foxcatcher
In the Best Picture–nominated 2014 drama based on a true story, Tatum steals the show and holds his own against more established actors Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo, both of whom earned Oscar nods for their prosthetic-heavy performances. He plays real-life Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, whose loneliness makes him an easy target for people with bad intentions. Despite being a dramatic role that was a big departure from the types of roles he had done at that point, Tatum’s understated character still has a lot in common with his other ones: Namely, Schultz is a man more in tune with his body than his good ol’ noggin. On the surface, Scultz is a lumbering athlete whose biggest asset is his body, but Tatum plays him with a complexity that lets the himbo shine (he sports frosted tips at one point) while making you feel for him as he deals with the pressures of competitive wrestling.
Foxcatcher is streaming on Starz.
Caine Wise in Jupiter Ascending
Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s 2015 sci-fi romance Jupiter Ascending may have been a critical flop upon its release, but at least it gave us the gem of witnessing Tatum play a man who is half-dog while sporting prosthetic ears, wings, and excessive eyeliner. His Caine Wise is a genetically engineered military soldier trying to protect and win the affection of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a Russian American maid who finds out she is in line to inherit control of Earth. At one point, Caine tells Jupiter, “I have more in common with a dog than I have with you,” to which she responds, “I love dogs. I’ve always loved dogs,” and it truly doesn’t get better than that. Spending most of his time onscreen shirtless, Caine is a beautiful hunk whose gun makes barking noises whenever he shoots it and gets his wounds bandaged with menstrual pads (sticky side down). Jupiter Ascending is, above all, a goofy movie whose rollerblading hero marks another dazzling entry in the CTHCU.
Jupiter Ascending is streaming on PlutoTV.
Jimmy Logan in Logan Lucky
No director has understood Tatum’s full range of abilities better than Steven Soderbergh, and of their four collaborations, Logan Lucky is the one film to really make use of his versatility. Jimmy Logan may not be as much of a himbo as Mike, but he and his equally himboish brother, played by Adam Driver, come pretty damn close. After a leg injury that cuts his promising football career short and leaves him with a permanent limp, Jimmy decides to rob a bank vault underneath the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600 in the hopes of seeming like less of a deadbeat to his ex-wife and daughter. With less than thorough planning, the robbery is doomed and ridiculous from the start, but they still manage to succeed against all odds. As in many of his roles, Tatum uses the physicality that has led many to mistake him for a one-note actor as an entry point into delivering a layered performance.
Logan Lucky is streaming on Hulu.
Tyler Gage in Step Up
The film that started it all, Step Up casts Tatum — then a 26-year-old whose attractiveness fooled us into thinking he could convincingly play a teenager — as Tyler Gage, a troubled teen who gets caught vandalizing an art school in Baltimore and is ordered to do community service at said school. There, he meets a dancer played by Jenna Dewan, whose partner gets injured, which results in Tyler filling in and later developing feelings for her. His wardrobe is so of the naughties that it’s laughable, but I applaud him for being able to effortlessly dance while wearing enormous denim pants that go well past his ankles and would make anyone else trip over themselves. Step Up may not come anywhere close to being perfect, but we have it to thank for launching Tatum’s career as the brooding Tyler, the prologue to his many future himbos.
Step Up is streaming on Paramount+.
Duke Orsino in She’s the Man
In Tatum’s decades-long work as a himbo, She’s the Man is the literal blueprint that laid out the groundwork for what followed. The teen flick starring Amanda Bynes may not have aged the best, but Tatum’s definitive himbo will always transcend time. In this interpretation of William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, Tatum plays Duke Orsino, a high-school soccer star (a sport played by hot people, so bonus points for him) whom everyone naturally has a crush on and who in turns flirts with girls by asking if they like cheese. Sensitive, hot, and awkward, everyone needs and deserves a Duke in their life, even if he is as dim as a broken lightbulb.
She’s the Man is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
Alan in The Lost City
Alongside Sandra Bullock in The Lost City, Tatum revived both the mid-budget studio movie and the cheesy romantic comedy. The patron saint of himbos plays Alan, an endearing CrossFit–certified, Fabio-esque hunk — flowing blonde wig and all — who graces the covers of the romance novels of Loretta Sage (Bullock), makes appearances at book signings and gets leeches pulled off his bare ass. Beneath all of the abs and obliviousness is a dude who isn’t ashamed to be helping elicit joy from Loretta’s horny readers but desperately wants to be taken seriously, as best seen by his determination to save her after she’s kidnapped by an unhinged billionaire played by Daniel Radcliffe. He also accidentally pronounces “synonym” as “cinnamon,” which is absolute gold. Tatum hasn’t been this much of a pure himbo goofball since the Jump Street franchise, and it’s great to have him back. The big-screen movie star as we know it won’t go extinct as long as Channing Tatum’s beautiful meatheads are still thriving in cinemas.
The Lost City is streaming on Paramount+.
Greg Jenko in 21 and 22 Jump Street
21 Jump Street introduces us to Greg Jenko and Morton Schmidt, two cops who went to the same high school but existed on opposite ends of the social spectrum,with a hilarious scene of the pair missing out on their prom circa 2005 (bleach-blond Schmidt doesn’t have a date; long-haired Jenko gets barred from attending for poor grades), which tells you everything you need to know about the pair. Jenko is a textbook himbo, the literal embodiment of every interpretation of the world that exists; he’s an alpha male cop with not much going on in his head, but he is a total sweetheart underneath. While 21 cleverly flips the script and has him enter the world of nerds while Schmidt rises the ranks and becomes a popular kid when they go undercover on a drug sting, 22 Jump Street fully leans into Tatum’s himbo traits by having Jenko become a stereotypical football-playing college frat boy when they once again go undercover to find a drug supplier. The rebooted Jump Street franchise was the first to see potential in Tatum as a full-blown comedy star, and She’s the Man’s Duke Orsino walked so that Jenko could run in all of his himbo glory.
21 and 22 Jump Street are streaming on FuboTV.
Mike Lane in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL
No matter what other projects Tatum has in store for us in the future, the Magic Mike franchise — which turns a decade old this year — will forever remain his magnum opus. Celebrating male friendship, nontoxic masculinity, and the male body in all of its chiseled glory, Magic Mike is a crucial work of himboism and a vital entry in the Dudes Rock canon. The Magic Mike brand has thrived since the release of the Soderbergh-directed first film, which is a testament to Tatum’s undeniable power to wield his body. A third installment, Magic Mike: The Last Dance, is currently in production; it has expanded to reality TV with HBO Max’s underrated and wholesome competition series Finding Magic Mike and then there’s Magic Mike Live, which is currently performing in London and Las Vegas.
Inspired by Tatum’s own experience as a male stripper going by the name Chan Crawford in Tampa, Florida, Mike Lane fully embraces his vulnerability and status as a male entertainer who is committed to making women feel joy. In Magic Mike, he has dreams of leaving the Xquisite Strip Club in favor of doing something more with his life by opening his own custom-furniture store, while XXL finds him and fellow Kings of Tampa — composed of a bunch of equally stunning beefcakes played by Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash, and Adam Rodriguez — going back to their roots for what was supposed to be one last thrilling ride to perform at a stripper convention. The himbo is a beautiful, dumb, and genuinely kind man, and Mike checks all the boxes thanks to Tatum’s sheer charisma and ability to effortlessly make us root for him.
Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL are streaming on HBO Max.