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Ashton Sanders Wears a Crystal Dress on His Latest Magazine Cover

Ashton Sanders

In the 'Another Man' story, the 'Moonlight' actor says Chiron was a role he "needed" to play.

Ashton Sanders infiltrated the zeitgeist by way of a standout performance in a little film called Moonlight -- and we can't forget the looks he pulled in his red carpet run with stylist Jessie Jamz. And yes, at first it was meant to be a smaller, independent film but then, unexpected to most, the coming of age tale that dealt with Blackness and sexuality went all the way to the Academy Awards. And then it won Best Picture. Quite a landmark moment for Sanders who was one of three actors to play the main character, Chiron.

"When I read the script for Moonlight, I had this emotional reaction that rarely happens," Sanders said in a new cover story for Another Man. In one of the covers he wears a crystal embroidered silk georgette dress by Celine by Hedi Slimane, and in another he wears a tuxedo jacket by Alexander McQueen. "I needed to play Chiron. I hadn't even booked the part and I was highlighting my lines. I knew, I knew. There was nobody else."

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Sanders says he grew up as a weirdo and a "black sheep" in his predominantly Black neighborhood. Though the arts run in his family (his father was a fashion designer), he said it wasn't welcome in his community -- this outsider status mirrored that of Chiron and he pulled from it on set. Still, he pursued his craft. attending a high school acting program called Amazing Grace Conservatory in Central Los Angeles, then enrolling in the theater program at DePaul University in Chicago.

"I was the first person the director Barry Jenkins saw," Sanders said of his audition for the role. The audition came just after his sophomore year in college.

Sanders described the process of filming as heavy, referencing scenes with Naomi Harris, who plays his mom battling a drug addiction, as triggering.

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"That story needed to he told," Sanders said of the film. "We had created something we hoped people would receive, for [winning Best Picture] to be the final moment was the cherry on top, standing up there with this tight-knit family. I'll hopefully work with them all again, but if not, I'm so happy I was able to do that at 20."

The actor plans to continue playing roles with "meaning." His next project, Captive State, is an action sci-fi, with an underlying messages that is "a slap in the face to the Trump Administration." He's also in Rashid Johnson's Native Son, All Day and a Night, as well as a new docu-series where he plays RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.

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