by Chelsey Sanchez

Ben O'Toole | Photos by Carlos Serrao|Credits:  PRADA  suit, turtleneck, and belt.

Ben O'Toole | Photos by Carlos Serrao|Credits: PRADA suit, turtleneck, and belt.

Darkness breeds growth. flailing blindly in a black void forces the weakest of us to become strong – to face the consequences, all else be damned. Darkness forces change. Darkness forces innovation. Darkness forces effort.      

Ben O’Toole, the 27-year-old actor best known for his appearances in period movies like The Water Diviner (2014), Factory 293 (2014), Hacksaw Ridge (2016), and Detroit (2017), sees a light in the darkness; the opportunities for growth and discovery that it offers. One could even say he’s a bit nostalgic for a darker age.

“Human beings were more curious. We knew less back then and we were still mystified. I would love to play something from the medieval times because I feel that the everyday for those people was solely focused on survival,” O’Toole says. “Living like that hardens you and I think it would be an interesting time to explore. It seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without being killed by disease, famine, or war, and only the strong survived.”

PRADA  jacket and t-shirt .

PRADA jacket and t-shirt.

Flip the switch and individuality scatters like cockroaches in the light. We end up staring at each other with gaping and envious eyes, wanting what the other has and what we don’t, and then try to rid ourselves of that green envy by becoming carbon copies of each other. According to O’Toole, “Many of us have a grass is greener mentality and often covet what our neighbors have, but don’t want to do anything to earn it.”

Maybe it’s just human nature to run through the dark while pretending we know what the hell we’re doing, but where others might get lost, O’Toole thrives. He carries the weight of his words with a sense of confident self-awareness, perhaps not because he pretends the darkness isn’t there, but rather because he embraces it and invites it into himself.

PRADA  jacket, t-shirt, and pants .

PRADA jacket, t-shirt, and pants.

“I try to remember that my opinion of myself is unique to everyone else’s opinion of me, and to accept that,” O’Toole says. “Trying to look at the bigger picture takes off a lot of the responsibility we place upon ourselves.”

The challenge, then, is to just move forward, even if it means taking a leap into the unknown. “The worst thing that can happen is that you fail,” he says simply. “That’s it. If my dream doesn’t happen I will still be able to live with myself if I know I put everything I have into this. Imagine on your deathbed asking the question, ‘what if I had given it a go?’ Talk about regretting your life. Commit or go home.”

Written by Chelsey Sanchez
Photographer: Carlos Serrao
Stylist: Mui-Hai Chu using Prada fall/winter '17
Hair/Groomer: Sascha Breuer