Alton Mason’s “Male Model of the Year” to “Elvis.”
The 24-year-old is playing Little Richard in his first role. He used to be known for doing back flips on the runway.
Now, People: Even though he travels a lot, he has a hotel room on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was joking when he said, “I live in Delta’s Terminal 2.” “There’s only me and my bag!”
Why you’re famous: Mr. Mason is an actor, director, and model who is known for doing backflips and other acrobatic moves down the runway for Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace, Valentino, and other major labels. Mr. Mason was the first Black male model to walk in a Chanel show. He was also named Model of the Year by Models.com for four years in a row. “Now, I speak for so many people who may be able to relate to my story, my goals, my culture, and me,” he said. “Being able to open doors is an honor.”
Big Break: In 2015, a modeling agent found Mr. Mason on Instagram. At the time, he was a student at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles and working as an intern for choreographer Laurieann Gibson. He went to New York City for the first time that year and got a big show at Madison Square Garden called “Yeezy Season 3.” “This show was out of this world,” he said. “I left that show, bought a slice of pizza for a dollar, and flew back to Los Angeles with a better idea of how high I could go.”
Latest Project: Mr. Mason walked in Virgil Abloh’s last show for Louis Vuitton in Paris in January. “In this business, Virgil was like a brother to me,” he said. “He gave me a place to shine and believed in me, and being in that tribute brought it all back to me.” Mr. Mason said that Mr. Abloh told him to do his signature move on the runway at a show in Paris in 2019. “After I got off the runway and went backstage, he came up to me and said, ‘I want you to go out there and do something,'” Mr. Mason said. He did a bunch of back flips while wearing a purple silk suit. “Virgil came back in and said, “You killed that!”
Next, Mr. Mason plays Little Richard in the Baz Luhrmann biopic “Elvis,” which is his first role. At the 2019 GQ Australia awards show, Mr. Luhrmann met Mr. Mason, who gave a speech that impressed the director. At the after-party, they started talking, and Mr. Mason was soon cast in the movie. He said, “I’m paying tribute to such a legend, such an icon, someone whose spirit I embody.”
Likes to Dance Like Michael Jackson: “I had a lot of Black cousins when I was growing up in the South, and we were always dancing and watching Michael Jackson,” he said. “A lot of the time, when you see me moving on the runway, it’s not choreographed; it’s improvised. These are just my feelings, and I let them all out.”