When he danced his way onto the Hollywood scene in 2006’s Step Up (and wormed his way into our hearts with She’s the Man), we didn’t envision Channing Tatum having the lasting heartthrob effect he’s lately been known for.

But several rom-coms (Dear John, The Vow), a handful of action flicks (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Haywire), a comedy (21 Jump Street), and some meaty dramatic roles later, Channing has proven himself to be both a box-office draw and a compelling leading man. With the release of Magic Mike, he’s shown that he has the brains to back up that beautifully chiseled face and physique: In addition to starring in the racy and critically acclaimed flick, Channing also helped produce it.

So what’s his secret? The same way Ryan Gosling’s mystique is nearly unquantifiable, there’s no conclusive answer. But here are five reasons why we love to love Channing:

He’s Not Ashamed of His Past
“Not ashamed” is practically an understatement. Magic Mike was based on Channing’s own dalliance in the world of male exotic dancing, a fact not everyone would be the most proud of. But when his former boss sold a video of him dancing on stage in a g-string to Us Weekly in 2009, the actor wasn’t shy to come clean about his former line of work. “I’m not ashamed of it,” the actor told GQ in an interview last year. “I don’t regret one thing. I’m not a person who hides sh*t.” Luckily for Channing, director Steven Soderbergh (whom he worked with in Haywire) loved the story of his stripper past so much that he offered to helm the project that later became Magic Mike.

He’s Ambitious
Channing’s calendar may be filled with acting roles, but he’s interested in more than just being in front of the camera.  Along with writer Reid Carolin, Channing produces films under the production company Iron Horse Entertainment. “I really don’t want to be in any more movies that I don’t produce,” he said in the February issue of Details. “Unless it’s with one of the 10 directors that I really want to work with, I don’t have any interest in not being on the ground floor of creating it.” With a producer credit on at least one of his upcoming films, Channing appears to be living up to his standard!

He Learns by Doing
Of his many movie roles, Channing says there is intention behind every gig he takes. “I wanted to learn from Rachel [McAdams] in The Vow,” he told Details. “I wanted to learn from Lasse Halstrom on Dear John. [...] I didn’t go to acting school, so my knowledge of story, filmmaking, and character comes from just being on set and doing it.” What can we say? We’re a sucker for men who love to learn!

He’s Humble
Despite all of his successes, Channing is not one to toot his own horn — and nothing is sexier than a man who knows his place. “I know I’m not the best actor,” he said in his Details interview. “But I hope my characters are getting better.” According to critics, he’s doing just fine. The New York Times called his performance in Magic Mike “terrific,” and Entertainment Weekly declared that Channing “proves himself to be a true movie star.”

He’s Hilarious
From She’s the Man to 21 Jump Street, Channing’s comedic chops have improved leaps and bounds. The fact that he’s versatile is already impressive, but we’re totally drawn to a cutie who can make us laugh. Not convinced? Watch this skit of Channing dressed as a teenage girl with Jimmy Fallon. We dare you not to laugh.

Credit: YouTube Photo: Channing Tatum and Jimmy Fallon Dress Up as Teen Girls: “Ew!” (VIDEO)

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