Actor Sinqua Walls is doing big things, but he can’t really talk about it. The longtime TV and movie actor is riding high after a recent role in the Hulu film White Men Can’t Jump, a remake of the 1992 cult basketball classic. It’s an especially meaningful role for someone who used to play Division I basketball at The University of San Francisco.
However, when he speaks with Schön!, the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike is in full effect, barring any discussion of his acting roles, past or present. Instead of hindering the conversation, Sinqua chats about a myriad of other things, including his rather fabulous fashion credentials – from working with Miuccia Prada to dinner with Anna Wintour. To Schön!, he reveals all of that and more, including how is using his fame to promote a cause that hits close to home.
Hi Sinqua! I know you played basketball in college, a sport you recently revisited on screen. Did you ever imagine that basketball would come full circle?
No. You just put one foot in front of the other and see where the universe will take you. When you’re playing basketball in college you’re functioning within that system and finish that task in front of you. Even though I studied drama my mind was so compartmentalised.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Being prepared is one thing. I’ve learned a lot of what to do and what not to do and to be a leader in my environment. I’ve learned how to create an environment where everyone feels joy. The biggest piece of advice is to really work hard and make everyone – from an actor to a gaffer – feel happy to be a part of the process.
Speaking of Schon!, how would you describe your personal style?
In transition! I’m always trying to push the limit and take risks and find clothes I can wear and do not wear me. I was watching a show, Next In Fashion, and one of the hosts, Tan France, I love his style. He has a lot of colour palettes he plays with, that makes me think ‘what’s my colour palette?’. I’m inspired by new things I see on someone like Tan or Pharrell or Austin Butler…
Right, and you’ve worked with Miuccia Prada in the past. What’s it like inside the house?
Working with Prada, I was able to see it from the inside out – how they create a culture and a family. I’m inspired be seeing businesses thrive and succeed. I had dinner with Miuccia Prada and Anna Wintour – they created a space, that’s a key component. For me, I loved that part – I love the inner workings. The designs come out and yes they are on Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue, but the people internally have a pride and enjoy being there.
If there was fire and you had to save three things from your closet – what would you take?
It’s funny but last year I had a fire at my house! Thankfully, everybody was ok. You know what, I’d probably take my watches and my jewellery – it’s taken me a long time to amass them. I’d take my Teyana Taylor Rose from Harlem Jordan 1s, my Travis Scott Jordan 1s, my New York peacoat and my Issey Miyake pants.
And what kind of watches do you like?
I’m a fan of vintage watches – stuff that feels like it has a history. Cartier, Rolex, I love seeing how far it’s travelled to get to you. In a world where everyone is trying to be the same, having the vintage clothing and watches makes a difference.
You’ve previously partnered with mental health charities to help destigmatise men talking about their mental health. Why is this cause so important to you?
I think over the years, I’ve had so many friends – from classmates to teammates to myself included – who’ve struggled. It’s sometimes tied to our jobs or experiences and we haven’t had the space to define it. When people take that initiative to help themselves you can grow mentally. The ultimate goal is to leave this earth better than you found it: one of my favourite quotes is to be the light you want to see in the world.