Belfast Telegraph

Moonlight actors proud of their suave Calvin Klein ads

Mahershala Ali thinks the all-black campaign is a dynamic push for diversity.

Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali and his Moonlight castmates are proud of their new Calvin Klein ads.

The arthouse drama made history at the annual prizegiving last month (Feb17) by landing the first Best Picture win for an all-black cast and becoming the first to feature a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) story line - and now the stars are enjoying a stint as unlikely models.

Ali, who was the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, and his castmates Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, and Alex Hibbert have appeared in ads for Calvin Klein.

The iconic brand's chief creative officer Raf Simons hired the actors to front the latest campaign, shot by photographer Willy Vanderperre, long before the Academy Awards, and rising star Mahershala is convinced the promotion speaks to a larger, more inclusive cultural movement.

“Once I got into college I started to notice a pattern in my experiences,” Ali tells Women's Wear Daily. “A pattern that has followed me for 25 years. Any time I found myself in situations of affluence, opportunity or access, I was often the black guy. So to see a campaign flush with black faces being marketed to the general public, and not just the black populace, is somewhat groundbreaking.

"Alex Hibbert is an extraordinary talent. I believe he’s 12 years old. I hope he grows up in a world where this type of opportunity is something that he can view as normal, especially considering it’s 2017.”

Calvin Klein isn't the only brand pushing for more diversity in fashion – Gucci released its pre-Fall 2017 campaign in January (17) featuring all-black models.

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