“I’m a minimal guy,” says actor Ashton Sanders, who broke through in 2016 for his role in best picture winner Moonlight and stars as OG rap star RZA in Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Outside of the show, which begins its second season Sept. 8, Sanders, 25, also is known as one of the best dressed young actors in Hollywood, with a mod-influenced style that hews to monochrome head-to-toe looks. The L.A. native — whose dad, Rodney, is a former men’s fashion designer — spoke to THR about his newest hobby, self-care between jobs and his latest fashion must-haves.
What is your place in L.A. like?
It’s an industrial studio space with a lot of natural lighting, high ceilings and cement walls. I feel like less is more, so the color scheme throughout is gray and blue. I have a velvet blue couch I had made somewhere downtown. I always love a unique looking yet comfortable couch. My bedding is blue and ash gray and white. I just try to play it cool.
Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve been doing pottery. I started during quarantine, and I’ve taken classes at Bitter Root Pottery and Maital Ceramics Studio, and I essentially fell in love with it. I like being on the wheel, but I also like sculpting with clay. Aside from it being a cool art form, I found it almost kind of like therapy. I like having the freedom to create whatever you want to create. I’m just coming off of a six-month shoot for Wu-Tang and getting settled back into L.A. I think self-care is important in between jobs; taking care of your mind, your body and your spirit.
What’s one way you do that?
I’ve been doing reiki with a few healers. That’s something that I have been able to connect to personally in regards to cleansing the spirit and the chakras and keeping you grounded, along with something like therapy.
Describe your personal style.
Always evolving. I wear a lot of darker shades, navy blues, earth tones and blacks. I’m really into particular brands like Bottega Veneta. I’m obsessed with their boots. Another one of my favorite brands is [Australian designer] Dion Lee. They are on the come-up. I’ll pair a Dion Lee shirt with some Dickies and Doc Martens.
What are some of your other must-have fashion items right now?
Vintage motorcycle jackets by Harley Davidson or Vanson. I’ll [shop] on Grailed to find the perfect vintage jacket. I think the cuts on them are just better. When the leather is worn in, it goes a long way in terms of just how it feels. It’s the same way with Doc Martens. I still wear a pair that I’ve been wearing since my senior year in high school.
I’m a silver guy. I’ve been wearing a lot of Chrome Hearts recently. The quality is on point, and their designs are really cool.
Any essential skin-care items?
Anything from Kiehl’s. Some of my go-to products are the ultra facial cleanser and the deep cleansing foam wash.
Do you have any favorite contemporary ceramic artists?
Karon Davis. She is the co- founder of The Underground Museum and the wife of late artist Noah Davis.
What’s your advice for someone who is new to the red carpet?
Something classic is always cool. It depends on the person and their personality, but I feel like people should always feel comfortable.
Favorite restaurants in L.A.?
Met Him at a Bar, and Jon & Vinny’s.
Favorite book you read recently?
The Four Agreements. Highly recommend! It is a spiritual guide — a book for spiritual and personal growth.
What can viewers expect on Wu-Tang season two?
Season one was kind of a prequel, establishing the members of Wu-Tang, their background, where they come from, and just seeing them at their most vulnerable place. Season two is focused on the transition into actually becoming the Wu-Tang Clan; it’s more music-focused, more focused on the creation of their first official album, 36 Chambers. We get into the mind of RZA and how he tapped into the production of the music.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.