In last week’s episode of Yara Shahidi’s Day Off, hosted by actress Yara Shahidi, model and actor Alton Mason took to the gymnastics mat and engaged in an in-depth conversation about overcoming obstacles, navigating life gracefully, and the importance of family.
As the first Black male model to walk for Chanel, Alton Mason has appeared on screens and in magazines. In addition, he recently appeared as Little Richard in the Elvis movie. While making milestones at the gym, Alton opens up about the responsibilities and journey of becoming a fashion icon on the runway and worldwide
Before their gymnastics lesson, Yara and Alton stretched their bodies and discussed his gymnastic background.
“Well, I started gymnastics when I was 3,” Mason said. “And I trained for like 10 years until I was like 13, but once I started modeling, I kinda just incorporated gymnastics into what I do.”
Yara Shahidi’s Day Off: How Did Alton Get Into Modeling?
Following a few gymnastic tricks, the conversation turns to Mason’s journey into modeling and fashion and his belief in himself that led him to this point in his life.
“I always loved fashion. I moved to Belgium when I was three ’cause my dad played basketball. And then we traveled all throughout Europe,” said the model. Due to these experiences, Alton developed a taste for fashion, music, culture, and cuisine. “And then here I am now, moving to LA, and I kind of got to express that.”
As a result of the photos he took on Instagram, he was scouted to begin his modeling career. Following this, Alton traveled to Rome to meet Italian fashion designer Alessandro Michele. “Which was such a stunning moment for me because I’m like, whoa, it’s my first time here, and I’m trying on all these clothes,” Mason said.
Considering Mason’s background, it seems unbelievable that he could make such sacrifices and move to such an urban setting from Phoenix, Arizona. Also, he’s surprised that all of these things can be achieved by believing in yourself and having faith in your abilities.
Often, opportunities of a lifetime can be found in places that you would least expect them to be. Take a chance at your first impression and listen to your instincts.
Furthermore, Yara was intrigued by Alton’s all-around creative abilities, whether in martial arts, gymnastics, or dancing. This prompted her to ask how this has prepared him or how it has continued to inform his career choices.
“I think it definitely made me aware of my body, my movement, how it would feel doing a flip, how it would feel shooting a basketball, dancing, or being on stage and doing theater.”
In addition to his imagination, Alton has always kept these feelings close to his heart. He started to channel back and express those things when he reached this different fashion and art platform. Being the first Black male model to walk for Chanel, or because he is a known collaborator with so many culture makers, Shahidi asked Mason “what this means to him.”
“It means the world for me.” he replied. “I think of people who are one of one and people who have opened the door for people like me, people like you. I think of Sidney Poitier.”
Watch the full episode below:
Giving Icons Their Flowers
Further, Yara shares an unforgettable moment when legendary actor Sidney Poitier appeared on the set of “Black-ish” in the middle of a scene, and everyone was left speechless. “You could just feel his presence walking in ’cause everybody just stopped,” said Yara. The impact a single person can have on many people is truly remarkable.
“Isn’t that crazy how you can feel it radiating off of you? What’s amazing about what I do is the responsibility that comes with it,” Mason explained. And I really acknowledge that and honor that.”
Moreover, Mason contends that he would not have been able to enter the room with such prominence if the people who opened the doors for him had not done so. Thanks should be given to those who contributed to the opportunities we enjoy today.
Yara Shahidi’s Day Off: Influenced By Her Family
As the conversation progresses, Alton asks Yara how she manages to stay focused and yet simultaneously be so free.
“Because you’re such a hard worker, and I love that you keep your family close to what you do,” says the actor. “You are so focused and shrp, but also just so free. And I wanted to know, how do you navigate through that? What keeps you that way?”
According to Yara, her family plays a critical role in her success.
“When we talk about legacy, my father was Prince’s photographer when I was growing up,” she said. “And, so to be proximate to art in that way, I don’t even think I realized the gift of being so close to an artist that was so fearless. But really, it did come from parents.”
At a young age, Shahidi’s mother taught her that she deserved to be in the situations she found herself in. Her mother primarily influenced her through the example she set. “I’m grateful to have a family that loves each other and likes each other. We just enjoy being around each other. We enjoy the fact that we share the same values.”
Alton appears to be busy, which led Yara to ask him how he maintains a balance between his creativity and his family to maintain his mental and emotional well-being.
“Honestly, through creativity. I love to write music. I love to write poetry, spoken word,” said the model. “Staying in touch with my family. Me and my mom speak every day.” He also checks in with my brothers and sisters every day. However, he believes what also keeps him the most grounded is his spirituality and practicing that and always keeping his faith.”
In addition, Alton aspires to advance African culture, to further the development of futurism, the style, and the flavor of the continent. As an African American boy, Alton believes this is essential since African-Americans have been instilled with a great deal of fear concerning the continent.
For those who wish to understand the true meaning behind their heritage, it is best to visit the place where it originated. By doing so, you will gain a much deeper understanding.
According to Mason, he made an unforgettable trip to Lagos, Nigeria, in 2018. He fell in love and discovered an aspect of himself that he was unaware of as an African American boy.
For more information on Alton Mason, check out his social media.
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