Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Critics’ Choice Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Mahershala Ali is looking rather dapper for GQ Magazine. The 42-year-old actor talks candidly about his new found fame and finally stepping into the spotlight after 23 years of acting. The Bay area performer, whose name has been on everyone’s lips after his amazing performance as Juan in “Moonlight,” tells GQ that most African-American actors have to come with fame in order to get leading roles.

0117-gq-feos03-mahershala-ali-01-2“I would feel really frustrated by the chicken-or-the-egg thing. Because I would go in for these larger projects and be the director’s choice. But then the response would be, ‘Yeah, but you can’t sell many tickets internationally. You’re not famous enough to get this part.’ So then you’re like, ‘Well, how do I get famous enough to be able to get the parts that I want if you won’t cast me in them?’ At least in my generation, it’s very difficult as an African-American getting cast off of potential. You have to be proven. And so that’s how you saw a lot of artists from other worlds get placed in the parts—they have to bring something to the table already, where they’re already famous in some other arena.”

Ali also admits that he would love to win an Academy Award for his role in “Moonlight” so that he can have more film choices as an actor.

“Of course. Just because it’s a symbol of you doing work that people respect. And then comes work that is closer to my own personal taste anyway. My taste for film was really curated by my father, who I lost when I was 20. I grew up in the Bay Area, and I would go out and visit my father in New York during the summers, and he was taking me to see Soderbergh movies and one of Billy Bob Thornton’s first movies, One False Move.Comedies from Fear of a Black Hat to Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites. Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. I say all that to get to the point of, when you talk about awards, I just think it just empowers you to be able to make choices that are more aligned with that quality of work, but where you can also make a living off it. [laughs] You can’t make a living off of doing four Moonlights a year. You literally can’t feed yourself.”

Click here to read the rest of his interview!

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