Mahershala Ali Opens Up About Fatherhood: 'It's a Different Kind of Crazy'

Ali, 43, and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim welcomed their first child, daughter Bari Najma, in February

*EXCLUSIVE* Mahershala Ali goes shopping in Venice Beach
Photo: Backgrid

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali is adjusting to life as a father.

“We have a baby, so it’s a different kind of crazy,” he told PEOPLE while at The Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood Dinner Hosted by The Hollywood Reporter and Jimmy Choo on Tuesday night. “All in all, fortunately, she sleeps pretty well through the night. It’s just during the day she’s hands on.”

Ali, 43, and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim welcomed their first child, daughter Bari Najma, in February.

The Moonlight actor shared his favorite moment of parenting with PEOPLE, describing his 3-week-old daughter’s peaceful moments during sleep.

“She was smiling last night,” he says. “It’s just been great getting to know this little person whose body seems to change every day and whose awareness heightens every day. It’s just been exciting.”

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The actor appeared in multiple productions in 2016, including Free State of Jones with Matthew McConaughey, Netflix’s Luke Cage and the film Kicks.

Despite the success he’s had in the last year, he tells PEOPLE he won’t be pushing himself so hard.

“I will feel more rested if I’m not working in that way, if I’m working on one thing at a time,” he says. “When I was working on Moonlight, I was working on four or five other projects at a time, so that can’t happen again.”

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After winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the Barry Jenkins-directed drama, and appearing in the box office hit Hidden Figures, Ali says becoming a father has put everything into perspective.

“I think it changes your relationship with time,” he reveals. “I just don’t have time to waste. You gotta be really deliberate with how you choose to spend your day because those are the moments you’re away from your child. If anything, I want to work in a more focused way and discover the right balance for my life.”

  • Reporting by MELODY CHIU
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