Following his rise to fame in the 2016 Oscar-winning Moonlight, actor Ashton Sanders has rightfully taken up the mantel as the one to watch. With new projects and films on the horizon, such The Equalizer 2 and Native Son, Ashton stars in our new collaboration by the Los Angeles creative studio Tête-à-Tête, wearing pieces from the new season Stella McCartney Menswear collection. Tête-à-Tête was founded by filmmaker Austin Lynch and artist Case Simmons.
“Ashton radiates on camera. After seeing him in these looks from Stella’s new collection, it became clear that less was more. We determined to construct powerful images that would reward a more sustained type of looking by conveying Ashton’s strength and celebrating Stella’s collection. We filmed him bathed in crepuscular hues and focused on the smallest details and most subtle gestures in the clothes. When paired with Ashton’s own thoughts on fashion and style, our 1-minute short becomes a memorable, visually striking presentation of a young actor and a sophisticated menswear collection.” – Tête-à-Tête Creative Studio
Striking an instant creative connection, Sanders and Tête-à-Tête talk early inspiration, Moonlight and fashion as self in our Q&A. Discover the story below.
I’m Ashton Sanders, I’m from Los Angeles, California.
Growing up in LA, did you always want to be an actor, or be in entertainment? Can you paint some picture of your childhood?
Yes, but not because of Los Angeles being an entertainment hub, I was just always interested in performing, at a young age. Now I’m here. I was just really into…I grew up in this acting conservatory called Amazing Grace Conservatory, that trains kids between the ages of 8-18 in singing, acting and dancing. So performance art, acting, singing, dancing, amongst the different skillsets in that genre.
Was there a moment you could describe when you knew you wanted to be an actor?
I remember simultaneously being in the program and just having gone to see the Lion King at the Pantages Theater, and the ‘circle of life’ came on and they had all these humans as animals in these puppet costumes, going down the aisle ways and everything I was literally on the edge of my chair; this little kid crying, so infatuated, so engaged and so involved, and I just loved everything about being on stage. In that moment I was definitely like ‘Yo that’s what I want to do’. So for a minute I wanted to be a Broadway actor. I’d still love to do Broadway you know, but that’s where everything came in.
Moonlight; how have things changed for you after doing that film?
Things have been going great. Laughs* Moonlight definitely opened up a lot of doors, a lot of progressive doors in my career. So, yeah, I’m just so much involved in my career now than I was when I first started Moonlight. So I’m busy.
Was that film a really transformative project for you in a way?
Yeah definitely. Moonlight was a project that was very near and dear to my heart, and to everyone involved. I think we all kind of left the project after filming, and it changed people. That was a year prior to the film actually coming out. So everything collectively has been lovely.
Can you tell us about your personal style and how you wear clothes?
Well fashion is kind of like its own form of art, right? Art is self-expression. The way I view it is…I look at the looks I create or the clothes I wear as extensions of myself, of a part of myself, whether it’s my actor self or just who I am living in the world, and that’s always changing. So that’s where that stems from.
So you enjoy putting on different clothes and feeling a different way as you wear them?
I feel like my style of dress at whatever point my style is in that moment, is a part of me. My style, which changes sporadically, is kind of self-expression almost, it’s how I feel, where I’m at in my life, how I just shaved my head for instance, that was spontaneous because that was just what I felt like; that’s where I’m at in my life right now, I just wanted something new.
You wear Stella’s new menswear very well Ashton –
What do you think about this new collection?
Oh it’s dope. Stella definitely did her thing, you’ll definitely be seeing me wearing a bunch of this new collection for sure
What’s next for you? Are there any projects or anything you want to share?
What’s next…well I have this little project ‘Equalizer 2’ coming out in July, I’m playing opposite Denzel Washington. So that’s pretty exciting, looking forward to that. Also ‘Native Son’, it’s this adaptation of this Richard Wright book, it’s a black classic novel, and I’m really excited for that too. I think it’s going to be really important in the film world and the black community, so I’m really excited about that.
What is the most beautiful thing in the world?
The most beautiful thing OF the world I feel is freedom and love; those are beautiful qualities to have and beautiful feelings to feel. Right?