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In 2017, drama film Moonlight garnered a slew of prestigious awards for its considered presentation of the three stages of life, youth, adolescence and early adult life. Exploring what it takes to be man, Mahershala Ali received the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role. Later appearing in Green Book, another award-wining film, the 45-year-old has unintentionally become the face of societal challenging productions and his latest work is just that.

Facing luxury Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, the in-demand actor is posing the question, “What makes a man?” In a bid to challenge the true definition of masculinity, the apt partnership is revealing the qualities of a true man: courtesy, humility, courage, patience, vulnerability, wisdom, eccentricity. And as a purveyor of timelessly modern clothing to generations of men over the last 110 years, the heritage brand is continuing its legacy of philanthropy.

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Donned in refined tailoring, Ali goes within to reveal the more sensitive sides to his persona. Meaningful portraits are juxtaposed with white pages, scribbled with handwritten notes that convey this sense of constant questioning. As a company deeply rooted in tradition, to speak out with this fluidity is brave but serves as the opening for conversation.

In an ICON exclusive video, Ali says, “I take it all. I take everything that’s right and wrong and upside-down and downside-up, as you do with me. I take the softness you breathe into me.”

22-year-old tennis champion Alexander Zverev and singer and entrepreneur Nicholas Tse also face the series in an ongoing campaign for house. Visit the Zegna website for more information and join the conversation via #whatmakesaman.

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