5 Things You Didn't Know About Ashton Sanders

5 Things You Didn't Know About Ashton Sanders

Our VMan cover star wants to be the first black Joker.

Our VMan cover star wants to be the first black Joker.

Text: Brooke Kushwaha

Ashton Sanders is going to be around for a while. The “Moonlight” star has made a name for himself as an indie darling, but he still remains a mystery to some of the world. The Los Angeles native got his start at the Amazing Grace Conservatory, an all-black arts programme, before going on to study theatre at DePaul University in Chicago. It was then, during his sophomore year, that he auditioned for his breakout role as the closeted teenager Chiron. Since then, Sanders has picked his scripts carefully, looking to give a voice to those who may not get one often. Here are five lesser-known facts about the actor:

His father was a fashion designer.

Although Sanders has spoken about growing up as one of the few creatively-inclined kids in his neighborhood, he has always received support for his passions growing up thanks to his father. 

“He would go around sketching all the time, he was definitely an artist, full circle,” Sanders said of his dad in his Another Man cover story. “That support was a big force getting me to where I’m at right now. That confidence starts in the home.”

He didn’t read the script before auditioning for Moonlight.

Sanders reportedly immediately clicked with the character of Chiron, but he entered the first audition knowing next to nothing.

“I auditioned for Moonlight without knowing anything,” Sanders told Dazed. “I went in the room and I didn’t know the lines as well as I should have. I didn’t know a thing about the script. I wasn’t told anything. I heard it was a low-budget film and my agent told me to do it. I was super-ignorant to it.”

His dream role is the Joker. 

While he insists he acts for the love of the art, Sanders also would love to be “the first black Joker” one day in a higher-budget film. 

Sanders was bullied as a kid for his interest in acting.

One of the reasons Sanders identified with Chiron was his own experience as an outsider in his community. Sanders has spoken to multiple outlets about his upbringing in Southern California, not fitting in with his peers because he had no interest in sports or things like that. 

I don’t know if it was because I knew that I was an artist, and art in the black community at that time was not considered the ideal thing for a young black boy to be doing,” he told Another Man. I would be doing plays, not playing sports. Barriers are being broken now, but that was not really welcomed in black communities back then.

He called his recent sci-fi movie, Captive State, a “slap in the face to the Trump administration.” 

“I play a rebel to the system, infiltrating this authoritarian, repressive state,” Sanders said. “It’s an allegory that is right on time.”

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