Five years after Kim Kardashian broke the internet, Pete Davidson is poised to do the same.
The Saturday Night Live star is one of two cover stars for PAPER magazine's now-infamous #BreakTheInternet issue, which dropped Thursday. Pete follows BTS' Lisa Frank-inspired photo shoot, which is admittedly a bit more family-friendly than the comedian's racy take on Barbie's iconic boyfriend.
Pete's pal and 13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman helped conceptualize the project, which he explained drew inspiration from Pete's own mental health struggles and public persona.
As Dorfman recalled, "In a car, on our way to set for [Pete's] new movie with Judd Apatow, we brainstormed ideas for our upcoming [PAPER] shoot together. I threw out a Ken Doll concept. It seemed right since tabloids manipulate people that way, him especially. He was down with the idea, but challenged me to go darker, something that leaned into his struggle with depression, which he has been admirably public about."
"He'd told me he slept in a car bed as a kid and I saw it immediately: this Staten Island Ken Doll version of Pete stuck in a Barbie nightmare, pills everywhere. ‘You'd be like depressed Ken,' I said. ‘Yeah! And d-ckless, like, with Ken-d-ck,' [Pete] said, and the whole car exploded with laughter."
Two years ago, the 26-year-old disclosed his borderline personality disorder diagnosis. Then in late 2018, Pete sparked concern for his wellbeing when he wrote online, "I really don't want to be on this earth anymore." Following the very public demise of his engagement to Ariana Grande around this time, Pete took a step back from social media and life in the public eye.
Even still, interest surrounding the star's personal life (especially in regards to the women he's dating) only continues to grow. So what's it really like to call Pete your S.O.?
"My love language, when I'm in a relationship," he explained to PAPER, "is I treat the person I'm with like a princess. I try and go as above and beyond as possible, because that's what you're supposed to do? If you're in a relationship with someone, you're just supposed to make that person feel as special as possible."
He continued, "But sometimes when you put so much on someone, it overwhelms them, and then they don't know if they could come close to that. Or if they can keep up with it. So, it's very off-putting to some... It's something I had to learn in a past relationship, which sucked to learn through that person, but it makes you better."
Past #BreakTheInternet honorees include Nicki Minaj and Amanda Bynes. Read more from Pete in the latest issue of PAPER.