Ermenegildo Zegna challenges ideals of manhood in their latest #WhatMakesAMan campaign with Mahershala Ali and Nicholas Tse

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Text: Ho Guo Xiong

Editor: Jolene Khor

What makes a man?

We asked our male friends, many of whom returned our queries with perplexing, conflicting answers — perhaps because this is one existential question men either avoid like the plague, or take for granted. The responses we received were varied, ranging from "being human”, "being a pillar”, and "being independent and responsible”. Introspection came by way of one gentleman’s thoughtful response:Masculinity means embracing the traits of what makes me a man — strength, toughness, but also my way of being sensitive and in touch with my feelings."

Italian menswear label Ermenegildo Zegna has a few ideas of their own, expressed through their latest campaign featuring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse ­– both famous thespians from different parts of the world, each man with his own masculinity baggage to carry; above, Mahershala Ali talks about his journey of self-discovery while Nicholas Tse, below, discusses the limiting macho stereotype he grew up with.

Masculinity, as Zegna argues, is fluid, sensitive, and unequivocal, especially in today’s modern world where cultures are open and in constant evolution. They further posit that defining and presenting your own brand of masculinity, one that could differ from the norm (whatever it may be), takes a whole lot of courage. Amen.

Head over to Zegna to find out more about the #WhatMakesAMan campaign.