Shaun Ross is fond of flouting public perceptions.

In 2013, he appeared in the music video for Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts,” playing an imperious beauty pageant instructor who browbeats the pop diva as being too curvy. “I’m probably the only person in her life who has ever been told to rough her up,” he said.

At one point during filming, Mr. Ross barked orders so aggressively that he sprayed the singer’s face with spittle. “I immediately popped out of character and told her, ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I just spit all over you,’’’ he said. “She was like, ‘No, it’s just acting. You’re doing great.’”

Acting or not, moments of defiance come intuitively to Mr. Ross. The casting of Mr. Ross, with his albino skin and eggshell-colored hair, underscored the song’s critique of conventional beauty. And they are part of his arsenal of survival instincts that have allowed him to pave an idiosyncratic career as a gay, Black and albino fashion model turned musician.

In the previous decade, his distinctive look made him a top male model who walked the runway for Walter Van Beirendonck and Pyer Moss, and appeared in the pages of Vogue Italia and advertisements for Kenneth Cole.

Katy Perry’s “E.T.,” in which he played an extraterrestrial visitor who locks lips with Ms. Perry; and Lana Del Rey’s 2013 short film “Tropico,”

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