People Magazine's Sexiest Man
By Holly Kurlek
One look at Avery Ant, from his crooked smile to his four potentially
wandering hands (a girl can dream can't she?), and you know the
mold has been broken on sex symbols.
"I don't think of myself as sexy," says Avery, bits of
sugar cube hanging seductively off of his pincers. "But I sure
like to think about sex." His laugh fills the green room of
The View, where he's waiting to tape his segment for the
popular talk show, the eyes of each female staffer glued to his
every move. Women are, as it's pointed out to him, magnetically
drawn to him like moths to a flame.
"Yeah, well, moths ain't the brightest of insects but
I'll take the compliment, baby."
Avery's "little black book" reads like a veritable who's
who of Hollywood starlets. He and Courtney Love were an item for
a while before his busy career came between them. But she still
speaks fondly of him: "A lot of what happened to us was beyond
our control. We didn't want to grow apart but with everything that
happened, we just did. I still love him. I miss him. He has the
most amazing ability to find food even where you were sure
"Yeah, I broke Courtney's heart and she broke my jaw,"
Avery isn't your sensitive type. More your modern "guy's guy"
the kind of fellow who lets a girl pick up the check, then
steals the tip, and later sneaks out in the middle of the night,
possibly with some of her silverware.
Not every woman has such fond memories of him, though. There was
his very public split with Sarah Jessica Parker. He and the beautiful
starlet still take shots at each other in the press, even though
it's been years since their breakup. Parker declined to be interviewed
for this article, saying, "I have a real man and a baby
now. I really don't want to be reminded of all the time and
money I wasted on that man-child-pissant."
And an entire order of Carmelite Nuns has a restraining order against
Avery looks thoughtful when reminded of his past failures in love.
Finally he says, "Yeah, I made mistakes. And I enjoyed everyone
"I think the thing about Mr. A," says George Clooney,
the 1998 winner of People's Sexiest Man Alive honor, using the affectionate
nickname allowed to only Avery's closest friends, "is that
he's okay with who he is. Sure, he hasn't always done everything
by the book, but he's a good friend. If you ever needed to be bailed
out of jail, Avery would definitely send one of his staff to come
His staff agrees.
"Oh sure, Avery would have us do anything for a friend of his,"
said Mug Erskine-Kellie, the celebrity ant's head writer and chief
of staff. "I've had thousands of his old school buddies living
at my house for over a year now. I'm practically infested! And John,"
he said, pointing to his brother and colleague, "he gave up
a kidney for one of Avery's poker buddies." Scanning the room,
Erskine-Kellie's eyes fell upon Susan McLennan, Avery's press advisor.
"Avery promised Susan's womb to another friend who was having
trouble getting pregnant. I won't tell you who it was, but let's
just say her name rhymes with Mortney Box Parkette."
Avery's concern isn't just for the rich and famous. He cares about
the disadvantaged as well. His work with The Avery Ant Food Bank
is legendary, yet he downplays it. "I just make sure that the
scraps from the tables of the haves make it to the tables of the
have nots. If a little goes missing along the way, what's it to
you? I'm entitled to my cut." His often impromptu food recycling
program is not without its critics, who use words like "revolting,"
"demeaning" and "incredibly unsanitary." Others
insist he is a visionary one who sees a need and thinks outside
of the box to fix what's broken.
"Avery is ahead of his time," said sultry Anna Nicole
Smith. "And," she added, "he's a little ant with
a great big, um...heart. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
ha, ahhhhhh. Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Avery is coy about how old he is and quickly changes the subject
when the topic comes up. He's hard to pin an age on and he
likes it that way. Rumors have circled for years about some kind
of pact with the devil that keeps him young (and possibly immortal).
And every once in a while, footage surfaces of him with long-dead
superstars, including Jayne Mansfield, Alfred Hitchcock, and Bugs
Bunny. He just smiles enigmatically when asked about his past and
says, "It's been an interesting life."
Avery has had a highly publicized, largely on-again, sometimes off-again
love affair with booze. "I used to get loaded with George Bush,
who not only cries when he drinks but is also a closet communist,"
he states matter-of-factly while pulling the bottle of 20-year-old
scotch to his lips and drinking deeply. Scotch is clearly his drink
of choice and scotch, he says, was the adhesive (and then the solvent)
in his brief marriage to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.
"We were a trio of booze hounds in love and living in Salt
Lake City," he said wistfully.
If Avery thought life in the anthill was hard, he learned just how
difficult it can be on the comedy circuit when his show, The
Avery Ant Super Comedy Half Hour Bonanza, was a ratings and
critical disaster. "The title was longer than the show,"
he deadpans. Some say it exemplified the worst in celebrity self-indulgence;
everyone agreed he couldn't do drag. A horrified, albeit tiny viewership,
watched as the ant and TV Guide critic Matt Roush sparred,
with Avery insulting the very TV magazine whose cover he graced.
A stint as the morning DJ on a Mexican radio station didn't help,
despite an all-out marketing campaign featuring Avery's face on
the sides of garbage cans everywhere. "There are only five
in the entire city, so the campaign was flawed from the start,"
says Avery with just a twinge of aggravation. It didn't help that
industry insiders barely masked their contempt for the little ant,
some going so far as to allude to sexual favors he'd exchanged in
the hopes of securing a Canadian television deal. A tired and disaffected
public had had enough.
But then something, or someone, remarkable happened: Quentin Tarantino
and The Anti-Christ. The straight to video religious shoot
'em up movie revived Avery's seemingly sagging career and "the
little ant that could" once again became a bankable star playing
the role of Jesus.
"Thanks to me, every teenage boy will be wearing a crown of
thorns this summer," he boasts.
Yes, Avery Ant does always win. These days it's practically a mantra
in Hollywood at least the part of Hollywood whose finger
is on the pulse of a public who can't get enough of this hot and
hunky ant. He's antsy, edgy, rarely sober, erratic, unpredictable,
and outrageous. Which is precisely why Avery Ant is the sexiest
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