• IRK Magazine

Carl Clemons-Hopkins First, Out, Gender Non-Binary Actor Nominated for a Primetime Emmy


Coat: Tom Combhard, Shirt: American Tall, Necklace/Bolo tie: Vintage, Earring: Clever Little Ears, Hat: Gladys Tamez Millinery

I recently had the chance to catch up with Carl Clemons-Hopkins who plays Marcus in the Emmy Winning HBO series HACKS. They have recently appeared onstage in HAMILTON as well as starred in horror film CANDYMAN. Clemons-Hopkins is the first, out, gender non-binary actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy award in it's 73-year history. It was an honor to spend time working with them.


Photographer & Interview: Robert Ascroft

Stylist: Miranda Jayne Garrett

Makeup Sandrac


Coat: Tom Combhard, Shirt: American Tall, Necklace/Bolo tie: Vintage, Earring: Clever Little Ears, Hat: Gladys Tamez Millinery

Robert: What inspires you? Carl: I’m mostly inspired by nature. Communing with nature fuels my creativity, and helps ease my mind- especially in these last few years. The spontaneous beauty that occurs never ceases to heal. Also, music. I am a huge music nerd - particularly with acid jazz. But I love all eras of jazz, bossanova, soul music; that said, I do subscribe to the belief that there really is only good music or noise. I love good music.

Shirt: Wildfang, Pant/Skirt: Vintage, Shoe: Only Maker, Earring: Clever Little Ears.

Robert: In front of my camera you moved with grace and really gave to the collaborative process. Tell me what your perspective was? Carl: My perspective was to keep all my insecurities and body shaming thoughts to a minimum and try to be as present as possible. Sometimes I felt much more successful than others, but ultimately I wanted to have fun. Nobody wants to spend the day watching somebody stress out while they’re wearing beautiful clothes.

Robert: Regarding the shoot You mentioned to me that you were shy in front of the camera. I didn't get that sense as we were working together. How does this perception work in your when you are on set? Is it different in a still photo vs motion camera? Carl: On set is much different in my experience in that i get to be someone else. There’s a sort of safety in that. My experiences with photography have been with the intention of allowing someone to see me, and “me” has often been someone I’ve tried to hide. That said, I’m working very hard to decrease my shyness so I’m glad to know it’s working:)

Coat: Tom Combhard, Shirt: American Tall, Necklace/Bolo tie: Vintage, Earring: Clever Little Ears, Hat: Gladys Tamez Millinery

Robert: If you were not an actor what would you be doing? Carl: Probably therapy and/or sex work. Robert: Who is a style icon for you? Carl: There are so many! The major ones are Grace Jones, Dennis Rodman, Phyllis Hyman, most Shalamar album covers, Marlene Dietrich, Prince, Isaac Hayes, Diana Ross, Bob Mackie, and basically anyone who has seen what everyone around them was wearing and said, “fuck that.”

Shirt/Vest: official Military issue vintage, Pant:  Guatemalan Vintage,Hat: John B Garrett Major General,Scarf: Stylist own vintage.

Robert: You were DJ'ing at the shoot... The Wiz and other disco and showtunes... fun mixture... what is your favorite music? Carl: The music the moment needs. Robert: As a child did you imagine the life that you lead now or was there a different idea? Carl: I most definitely imagined it! The time in between has been getting rid of all energy that came against it.


Shirt/Vest: official Military issue vintage, Pant:  Guatemalan Vintage,Hat: John B Garrett Major General,Scarf: Stylist own vintage.

Robert: How you find your way into the roles you choose? Carl: As of now, my process is focused on finding people I haven’t seen before, stories I haven’t heard, and discovering what truths in me I can connect to them. Robert: 25 years from now what would you want to be doing with your time? Carl: Enjoying it.

Photographer & Interview: Robert Ascroft

Stylist: Miranda Jayne Garrett

Makeup Sandrac

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