By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
Actor Paul Mescal is raffling off one of the chains he wears in television series “Normal People” to raise money for an organization providing mental health services. (Image courtesy Hulu/Element Pictures)
New York—The chain Paul Mescal’s character wears in “Normal People” has become a star in its own right, and now he’s leveraging its celebrity to raise funds for a nonprofit.

The television show, which debuted on BBC in the U.K. and Hulu in the U.S. at the end of April, tells the coming-of-age story of two Irish teenagers and their on-again, off-again relationship. It was adapted from Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name.

In it, Mescal, who plays Connell Waldron, is always seen wearing a thin chain around his neck.

Mescal told The Cut in an interview that he insisted on wearing a chain on the show, just as the character does in the book, and it seems to have been a smart move.

The chain has garnered such a strong reaction among viewers that social media accounts dedicated solely to it have popped up, including the Instagram account @connellschain, which posts only screenshots of the accessory and has 174,000 followers as of Monday morning.

There’s also a hashtag on Twitter, #connellschain, with its own dedicated emoji. When a tweet is posted using the hashtag, a graphic of a neck adorned with a chain automatically pops up after it.

Automatically generated emojis are known as “hashflags,” and generally are paid for and used during big events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars.

Meanwhile, numerous articles have been written solely on the chain and viewers’ obsession with it, including one from The Independent noting a 130 percent increase in sales of neck chains for British fashion etailer Asos in April.


Recognizing the power of the piece, Mescal is offering up one of his chains to raise money for a good cause.


Those interested in winning his 14-karat white gold sports chain from London-based fine jewelry studio Roxanne First via the raffle can buy entries and they can also gain additional entries by spreading the word on social media.

The money will benefit Pieta, a nonprofit that offers free therapy services to people in suicidal distress, engaging in self-harm or bereaved from suicide.

As is the case for many charities and nonprofits right now, Pieta had to postpone its flagship fundraiser due to COVID-19, leaving it with a “very significant funding gap” in 2020, the organization said on the raffle page. It gets 80 percent of its funding from public donations to be able to offer its services free of charge.

Mescal announced the raffle just as the two “Normal People” episodes that deal with mental health issues were set to air on BBC.

The raffle runs through June 8. As of Monday morning, it had raised more than $59,000.


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