One of the many things the Kardashian-Jenner family is famous for is their constant hair changes, whether that’s a dye job, wig, or $8,000 extensions. The latest sister to change her hair though drew some inspiration from close to home.
Yesterday, Kylie ripped some sort of hole in the Jenner time-space continuum when she FaceTimed her mom wearing, a wig that looks exactly like Kris’s iconic pixie. She shared the whole thing to her Instagram Story with the caption, “obsessed with you @krisjenner.” On anyone else, a lookalike wig and the word “obsessed” could ring a little too Fatal Attraction. But it’s just another day in the Jenner universe. And you’ve got to admit, the two do look alike.
It’s not even just the hair—from the round cheeks to the studded earrings to those sly “I’m a billionaire” smiles, the resemblance is uncanny. Of course, that makes sense, since they are mother and daughter. Now we’re just waiting for Kris to get her Kylie-inspired revenge and show up on Instagram in waist-length pink or blue hair.
Knowing how much Kylie loves to switch up her look, she may be just a few snips away from going full Kris. At least now we know she’d look just as good as a momager as she already does as a mom.
McDreamy is officially so 2015. As first reported by People, Josh Radnor—perhaps best known for playing Ted Mosby How I Met Your Mother—has joined Grey’s Anatomy as a new love interest for Ellen Pompeo’s character, Meredith Grey.
Details of his role are being kept under wraps, but ABC was nice enough to give us a few clues about his arrival: He and Meredith get set up on a “hot” blind date by friends in an episode that will air October 11. The network hasn’t specified whether or not Radnor will be sticking around for more than one episode, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Radnor, as you probably know, spent nine seasons as the beleaguered architect/college professor Ted Mosby on HIMYM, in which his quest to find his children’s “mother” was recounted years later to his children. He has since headlined the period drama Mercy Street and the musical drama Rise, but both were met with quick cancellations.
As for Pompeo, she’s hinted in a recent interview that when her current Grey’s contract expires—at the conclusion of season 16—she might leave the show to explore other career opportunities. “I’m clearly not prepared right now to make any kind of formal announcement about what my future is on the show, but I am really feeling like we have told the majority of the stories we can tell. It’s about time that I mix it up. I’m definitely looking for a change,” she explained. “I think I’ve had an amazing training. I’ve had a master class in producing these last 14 years. I know every aspect of making a television show. Producing and directing is where I’m challenged and where I’m learning. It’s more interesting to me because it’s a skill I haven’t mastered yet.”
While sad, we can’t wait to see what she does next, should she indeed choose to leave. And in the meantime, we’re looking forward to her latest coupling.
Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial ascent to the Supreme Court has been difficult for many women, particularly those who have endured sexual assault. But any survivors who are struggling in the wake of the confirmation now have one new and unexpected resource to turn to: Brettkavanaugh.com.
“The start of Brett Kavanaugh’s tenure on the Supreme Court may look like a victory for one interest group or another,” the website reads. “But, more importantly, it is putting a national focus on the issue of sexual assault – and how we as a country can and should do more to prevent it and to support those who have experienced it. This past month, thousands of survivors came forward to tell their stories. We applaud your bravery. We believe you.”
In a statement on its website, Fix The Court executive director Gabe Roth explained that three years ago, he bought a handful of URLs that related to possible Supreme Court nominees. One of these was BrettKavanaugh.com. He also secured BrettKavanaugh.org and BrettKavanaugh.org, which now redirect back to the Brett Kavanaugh landing page.
“I believe Dr. Ford. I believe Prof. Hill. I also believe that asking for forgiveness is a sign of maturity and strength, not weakness,” Roth wrote.
Roth also referred to a divisive public ceremony that the White House held for Kavanaugh on Monday, during which President Donald Trump apologized on behalf of the nation for “pain and suffering” that the new justice been forced to endure” after several women, including Christine Blasey Ford, accused him of sexual misconduct.
“Watching last night’s White House event and listening to the President again cast doubt on veracity of Dr. Ford’s claims, while not hearing a word of contrition from the newest justice, was difficult for many Americans who have experienced sexual misconduct firsthand,” Roth said in his statement. “Fix the Court stands with you. We believe you, and we support you. And if you seek additional resources, you can go to BrettKavanaugh.com.”
Wednesday is World Mental Health Day, and to raise awareness for it, Lady Gaga is speaking out. While she’s done so on numerous occasions before when talking about her own personal experiences, Gaga is now wondering aloud why there aren’t more resources for those dealing with mental health issues.
“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” she writes in an op-ed cowritten by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, forThe Guardian. “Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected and prevent the bold action that is so desperately needed and so long overdue.”
Gaga and Dr. Ghebreyesus also questioned how mental health issues are so prevalent yet so unaddressed. “One in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives, and if we’re not directly affected, someone we care for is likely to be,” they write. “Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering.”
The pair also shined a light on the lack of resources available for those dealing with mental health issues, writing, “In too many places support services are non-existent and those with treatable conditions are criminalized – literally chained up in inhumane conditions, cut off from the rest of society without hope… Mental health currently receives less than 1% of global aid. Domestic financing on prevention, promotion and treatment is similarly low. At present, every nation in the world is a ‘developing’ country when it comes to mental health… The two of us have taken different paths in life. But both of us have seen how political leadership, funding, innovation and individual acts of bravery and compassion can change the world. It is time to do the same for mental health.”
Earlier this year, Lady Gaga opened up about her own mental health journey when accepting an award for her Born This Way Foundation, telling the crowd perBillboard, “I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But I truly believe that secrets keep you sick.”
“Well, I may have dropped that hint. I think we had a conversation about it when we were dating and I’ve always known it had to be Tiffany,” Chopra said while attending a Tiffany & Co. event in New York City on Tuesday night (October 9). “I just knew it since I was a kid. First, it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s that did it for every girl in the world, and then, of course, Sweet Home Alabama came and put a stamp on it that it has to be Tiffany!”
She added, “Since I was a little girl, it was just something that was stuck in my head. And I may have said that, and I guess he remembered.”
While the Quantico actress did get her gorgeous Tiffany ring—it’s a large, cushion-cut diamond surrounded by smaller, tapered baguettes—the proposal didn’t actually happen just like it did in Sweet Home Alabama, despite previous reports. Over the summer, when news broke that Jonas had proposed to Chopra, multiple outlets reported that he popped the question in the middle of an actual Tiffany & Co. store that he rented out for the day, just as Patrick Dempsey’s character did when he proposed to Reese Witherspoon’s character in the 2002 film.
But Chopra set the record straight, telling People that while Jonas did, in fact, shut down an entire Tiffany store, she wasn’t in attendance. “No, I wasn’t there. He and his brothers went and did a whole thing to buy the ring for his future wife,” she said. Still a pretty movie-worthy moment!
In recent years, the Scandinavian label has reached international ubiquity, all while maintaining a relatively accessible price point. (Basics hover around $200, versus $500 to $600 per piece for comparable “contemporary” labels.) But its story begins back in 2000, as a side hustle of Frans Truelsen’s, a Copenhagen-based gallerist. Nine years later, he would bring in Nicolaj Reffstrup and his wife, Ditte, to manage the business and creative, respectively. That’s really when Ganni began its ascent.
Ditte, a former fashion buyer, first got involved by helping Truelsen design some shoes, at a time when Ganni was bringing in less than one million Euros annually, according to the now-creative director. “It was really nothing—Frans designed a couple of cashmere sweaters, some T-shirts,” she recalls of Ganni’s earliest days. Nicolaj, now the brand’s CEO, adds: “It was not coherent, not a fashion collection, really. It was just Frans doing what he thought would be cool; one-off products.”
What made Ditte want to be involved with the growing brand was a desire to create a different type of Scandinavian style: “Every time I was out traveling, it really annoyed me that people thought that being Scandinavian meant either you were very androgynous or very bohemian, and I couldn’t really recognize myself, my friends, or the girls I’m inspired by in that at all… I thought there was a ‘Scandi 2.0’ style that the world hadn’t seen yet.”
From the beginning, the price range has been set to be relatively affordable. (Accessories start at $20, and nothing in the collection is over $1,000.) “We just did what we felt was right, a fairly honest price point,” Nicolaj says. “Democratic fashion is a concept that reflects very well the society we live in, and way we think and act. You wouldn’t get an average Danish customer to pay $600 or $800 dollars for a basic dress, as is usual for contemporary brands in the U.S… In return, we get very high sell-throughs.”
He continues: “From a product and a price point, we just did what we wanted to do: We wanted to be perceived as an international premium or designer brand, without knowing it’s not how you’re supposed to do things, we insisted on sitting next to very, very cool brands, in very, very cool specialty stores across the world.”
Ganni positioned itself as on the same level as pricier contemporary labels, but with a lower entry point and a quirkier approach to wardrobe staples: cozy knits in rainbow stripes, easy dresses in bold floral prints, drawstring pouches covered in beads … Ganni has that charm of being an indie brand based in a very cool city that’s not a fashion metropolis, as well as a tremendous trend-spurring power that stems from understanding what people wear, versus shock-and-awe feats of design made for the catwalk and Instagram. You’ll absolutely see its wares on your social feeds, but it’s not just on diehard fashion industry types—these are the kinds of clothes that speak to intelligent, confident women across creative industries: a mix of slightly-off-kilter basics, like high-waisted, wide-legged red jeans and a demure shift dress, alongside a zebra print midi dress and a pleasingly duvet-like quilted floral jacket.
“The styles can easily mix-and-match, but are also special enough to stand out on their own,” says Caroline Maguire, fashion director at Shopbop.
Creating pieces that feel directional, interesting, and thoughtful is one thing. Knowing how to get them in people’s closets is another. And the Reffstrups have adopted a somewhat unconventional strategy to grow Ganni’s business—one that involves turning away potential retail partners.
“Again and again, we’ve edited out retailers we didn’t feel were resonating with the brand,” Nicolaj says, versus continuing to take on more wholesale buyers, as most indie brands do. Case in point: In fall 2017, Ganni dropped around 100 retailers out of approximately 400 total; one of which constituted 10 percent of the brand’s total sales.
“A lot of things went into making that decision,” he explains. “We’ve been running this company as you would a tech company, with a very strong vision but no business plan… We always knew what brands we’d sit next to, and and the retailers we wanted to work with. We kept pushing until we got into those retailers.”
That approach has paid off: According to Nicolaj, Ganni has grown around 50 percent each year—“steady, organic growth that we hope is perceived as sustainable and relevant… Honestly, we could have probably grown a lot faster, doubled our growth overnight, by not dropping wholesale accounts, taking on even more wholesale accounts, opening more stores, but that’s never been the ambition.”
Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matches Fashion, which began carrying the brand this season, highlights the success of Scandinavian designers and “their simple, clean aesthetics and effortless wardrobe essentials” on the online retailer. “Ganni is a strong addition to the mix of these designers we already have and the brand has quickly garnered the attention of the street-style set; we find that Instagram is a powerful shopping tool.”
Net-a-Porter discovered Ganni a few years ago, first through Instagram and then at Copenhagen Fashion Week—before the brand had any online wholesale business. “The brand’s designs were popping up everywhere and being worn by all of the Scandinavian It-girls,” Elizabeth von der Goltz, the retailer’s global buying director, explains. Sales of the brand are very strong for Net-a-Porter—without sharing specific figures, von der Goltz says: “We keep exponentially expanding our buy with Ganni. We noticed very early on that our customers could not get enough of their designs. It’s grown to be one of our top selling brands.”
There’s an approachability to Ganni that Saks Fifth Avenue, another one of its major stockists, credits for its success. “Ganni has hit the sweet spot of balancing the storytelling elements of fashion with everyday consumer wearability,” says Tracy Margolies, its chief merchant. “There’s a romance in the Scandinavian lifestyle; it evokes a carefree, lighthearted feeling, and Ganni does just that. The clothes are easy to wear, the silhouettes are flattering but never restrictive, and the prints and palettes are always happy.”
Saks Fifth Avenue declined to share sales figures or distribution changes (previous or planned) for its Ganni business, but Margolies says customer reactions to the brand have been “very enthusiastic,” with “figure-flattering wrap dresses, feminine silk tops, and easy separates” as bestsellers. (Those wrap dresses have also been a hit season after season for Net-a-Porter, too, “because they transcend trends and age, can be worn from day to night, and styled in many ways,” per von der Goltz.)
The brand’s remarkable success has resulted in an outsized effect on fashion trends more broadly. (Our sleeves are much puffier, our printed dresses much more floral, in a post-Ganni world.) Ditte insists it’s not by design: “It happened very organically, we didn’t have a master plan, honestly, we just tried to do what we like and what feels right. I think people can really recognize themselves in it.”
It didn’t hurt to have a crew of #GanniGirls, brand ambassadors that wear its latest collections and post about it on social media, on their side, including mega-popular street-style stars like Pernille Teisbaek and Reese Blutstein, aka @double3xposure.
“I really love the quirkiness of the pieces they create, and they just have an eye for unique patterns and fabrics I would never think to pick out,” Blutstein says. Ganni’s success, she believes, has a lot to do with being “extremely wearable,” while still having unusual twists, that give its designs more mileage.
Stylist Alexandra Carl praises the fact that Ganni “doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is very appealing, because essentially we all just want to have fun. It’s just clothes, after all… I think they capture something very playful and of the moment; women want to have fun and experiment with their style.”
There’s also a quality that’s hard to describe—a Danish je ne sais quoi—that maybe fills a void for shoppers who might feel fatigued by certain fashion tropes, like the fascination with “French girl” and the “New York model-off-duty” aesthetic. Perhaps the timing of Ditte and Nicolaj’s Ganni in the late aughts, ushering in a fresh interpretation of Scandinavian style, aligned well with our collective tiring of these mythical style icons. As Nicolaj explains: “The Copenhagen girls in general have a style of their own, [they] dress well, and they’re confident… It’s not just like we’re particularly great at dressing themselves; it’s a matter of attitude, and living in a society that’s the most well-balanced places left on earth, and that injects self-confidence and attitude, and affects how they look.”
“Growing up in a place where you’re allowed to be yourself; it’s personality, you see the person behind the clothes, not the clothes that wear the person,” Ditte explains. Carl calls Ganni’s take on it a “liberated vision of Scandinavian style, that’s not so clean, strict, and ‘uptight’; it’s quite free and laissez faire, which I think suits the vibe in Copenhagen very much.”
Right now, Ganni has its sights set globally: “We’re hoping to build an international brand, but we’re trying hard to keep it very relevant and sustainable in the long run,” Nicolaj says. The Reffstrups are particularly focused on the U.S., with a goal to have a bigger retail footprint stateside. (“We like old-school retail, where you can meet and embrace the customer—they can touch and feel your product, and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away,” Nicolaj says.) So don’t be surprised if you start seeing more ruffled skirts or bold prints in your neck of the woods.
So, what’s that Ganni secret sauce, exactly? “The brand has had a very strong point of view and that’s something that has stayed true despite their global success,” explains Net-a-Porter’s von der Goltz. “Ganni is particularly good at building a loyal following and social presence, and I think that’s something every brand should be considering in the coming seasons.”
The magnitude of its trend-spawning, Copenhagen-cool-dispersing effect, though, is nearly impossible to explain, even for the couple responsible: “We’re both insecure overachievers,” Nicolaj says with a laugh, noting that when the brand gets lauded for being a global trend-creating force in and of itself, the couple tends to “feel even more insecure and work even harder; we’re not too good at stopping to appreciate things. We like to be very honest and sincere!”
In fact, it’s all about moving onto the next—as Ditte describes: “After our show this summer, people were very positive about it, and the first thing I’m thinking is, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing next time?!’”
While wrapping up her recent international tour in Africa, Melania Trump sat down for her first-ever television interview with ABC reporter Tom Llamas. In a short clip released by Good Morning America Wednesday, the First Lady offered her thoughts about the #MeToo movement, shared her belief that both women and men need support in this era, and said that accusers need “hard evidence” to show.
“I support the women, and they need to heard. We need to support them, and also, men, not just women,” Trump says in the preview, when Llamas asks her about the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Llamas pushes further and asks her if men who have been accused have been treated unfairly, and Trump responds, “You need to have really hard evidence that, if you’re accused of something, show the evidence.”
Llamas then explains that someone could hear her comments and wonder how she can say that instead of fully standing with women.
“I do stand with women,” Trump insists. “But we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted’ or ‘You did that to me,’ because sometime the media goes too far, and the way the portray some stories, it’s not correct. It’s not right.”
Earlier this month, the First Lady had evaded questions about Kavanaugh, saying only that she found him to be “highly qualified” for the Supreme Court.
Just days ago, the First Lady had told reporters that she and her husband “don’t always agree.” However, when it comes to instances of sexual assault allegations and evidence, their opinions seem to be much more aligned.
The full interview—called “Being Melania—The First Lady,” will air Friday on ABC News, and will also include details about FLOTUS’ cyberbullying campaign, something that, as the network teases in the promo, started off because of an unexpected reason. We’ll have to stay tuned for more.
After spending months going Restylane-free, Kylie Jenner appears to have added lip filler appointments back to her calendar. On Tuesday afternoon, she shared a selfie on her Instagram Story and revealed in the caption that she had some sort of lip procedure the night before, courtesy of Pawnta Cosmetic Dermatology of Beverly Hills.
“Thanks @pawnta for coming through late last night with a lip touch up!” Jenner wrote. Though she didn’t explicitly say what that “touch up” entailed, it seems likely that the makeup mogul has gotten her formerly signature lip fillers once again. This comeback arrives about three months after the 21-year-old shared that she decided to have her filler removed. At the time, after a commenter wrote on Instagram that Jenner looked like “the old Kylie” in one post, Jenner admitted, “I got rid of all my filler.”
Though she never explicitly explained why she decided to stop getting her lips filled for a few months, it may have had something to do with 8-month-old daughter Stormi Webster. In her September 2018 cover story for Vogue Australia, Jenner posed makeup-free and spoke about how becoming a mother had helped her accept her unfiltered self. “I feel like having a daughter, and thinking about beauty in the future, has definitely changed me, and I feel like it has made me love myself more and accept everything about me,” she told the magazine. “It’s just having a different outlook on life so I can pass that on to her. I want to be an example for her. What kind of example would I be if she said she didn’t like her ears, and then I didn’t like them either? I just want to teach her that. I’m trying to love myself more.”
Jenner has long been open about her insecurities about her lips. She revealed during a September 2017 episode of Life of Kylie that she first turned to lipstick and then to fillers after a boy she liked criticized the size of her lips. Earlier this year, the star promised she’d soon be sharing her entire experience with fillers with her fans, writing on Twitter that she was working on a vlog “about my whole lip filler journey.”
Last season, Riverdale ended with Archie Andrews wrongly accused of murdering Cassidy Brooke (remember him?) and faced with the harsh reality that he might end up in prison instead of high school. Meanwhile, Veronica basically emancipated herself from her father and came away with a new business endeavor in the process: Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. Bughead seemed to be in fine form—for once—but Betty’s sister, Polly, was a different story. The elder Cooper sibling joined a cult, and it looked like Alice is her next target. Cheryl became an honorary serpent and coupled up with Toni, while legally emancipating herself from her mother and taking control of Thistlehouse. Oh, and Hal Cooper went to jail, as one would expect if you’re the Black Hood.
Got it? Good, because Riverdale returns for season three today (Wednesday, October 10) with a whole bunch of loose ends to tie up and a brand new mystery to reveal. Damn, can’t these people get any rest?
Actually, that’s exactly how Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa likes it. “Everyone is treating season three like it’s season one,” he tells Glamour.com. “We want this to be an edge-of-your-seat season, so we’re really excited. Unless you’re Archie, of course, who probably wouldn’t mind a little less drama.
“We’ll definitely know Archie’s fate by the end of the episode,” Aguirre-Sacasa promises. “One thing we’re doing a little bit different this year is jumping in time—three months to be exact—so when we meet [up with] Archie he’s mid-trial.” While Aguirre-Sacasa won’t reveal Archie’s odds of being set free, he will tell us plenty of other information, including some exciting news for Choni and Bughead fans. But with the news that Jughead’s mom and sister are coming on board (played by Gina Gershon and newcomer Trinity Likins), what does that mean for F.P. and Alice hopefuls? To our surprise, Aguirre-Sacasa is spilling the tea. Spoilers ahead!
Fans have dissected the teaser trailer where the core four are at the lake, riding in the jalopy, etc. Is that all a dream sequence or, if it’s real, does that mean that Archie is exonerated?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Those scenes really happen, and we wanted to capture this idea of stealing one last moment of youth and innocence and, honestly, summer vacation. It’s like trying to get that last day of summer vacation to be the best day of summer vacation, and that’s what went into that episode. Those scenes really happened. I wasn’t there personally, but [I heard] the water was cold. It was a really hot day the scene was filmed, so even though the water was cold, I think everyone was really down for it.
Varchie fans will get some wish fulfillment in those scenes, but going forward, which pairing will have the happier season three? Varchie or Bughead?
RAS: I think right now Bughead [is going] to have the happier season three. I will say though to Varchie fans that Veronica and Archie are proving to be very much…they’re trying to hang on to each other through the troubles in a really visceral way. Even though they could be heading towards rocks, they’re really clinging to each other because they feel so deeply for each other.
Right. And Veronica has now severed ties with her father, owns Pop’s, and went through a major transition since we last saw her.
RAS: Veronica is not to be trifled with, and Hiram is the architect behind her unhappiness and Archie’s troubles. She’s not down with rolling over and just letting him steamroll over her happiness.
Over the summer, Lochlyn Munro (Hal Cooper) told me he’ll be back this season. When can viewers expect to see Hal again?
RAS: Not in the first few episodes, but sooner than you might expect.
Should we expect him to be behind bars all season?
RAS: When we reconnect with him, he’s definitely behind bars, behind glass, behind barbed wire. He’s in maximum security, that’s for sure.
And what about Chic? His fate was left open-ended toward the end of season two.
RAS: That is buried a bit, I would say. But we haven’t seen the body. Even when you’ve seen the body, I say never say never.
That’s why I have a theory that Cheryl’s uncle Claudius is really her father. I think he’s been impersonating his brother, and it was the uncle who we saw die at the end of season one.
RAS: [Laughs] That’s a theory that has been floated by a few people. It’s definitely something that’s within the realm of possibility on our show, that’s for sure.
Let’s talk about F.P. and Alice. We know from last season that Polly was trying to help Alice by drawing her into this cult, so how will that impact—if at all—Alice’s potential relationship with F.P.?
RAS: In a weird way, the farm could open the door for Falice because the farm says to be alive in the moment. Do whatever you think, burn the past, there is no future, there’s only now. So in a weird way, the farm could be seen as giving permission to Alice to pursue F.P. The bigger threat to them will be the fact that Alice is married to Hal and F.P. is married to Gladys.
Speaking of, what’s the state of the marriage between F.P. and Gladys?
RAS: They’re strained and estranged from each other. [Laughs]
Gina Gershon doesn’t appear as Gladys until December 12, which means there are two months of episodes from now until then. What will Falice’s relationship status be by then? One would assume they’d be in a relationship just to make things more complicated when Gladys enters the picture.
RAS: Yeah, I think if this wasn’t Riverdale and it was just Falice exploring their relationship, they would be in pretty deep by the time Gladys gets there. We do see them quite together and quite intimate, but Falice is also dealing with their part in a crime that happened 25 years earlier, which is sort of rearing its ugly head this season as well. So Falice doesn’t exist on a blissed-out island apart from the day-to-day trials and tribulations of Riverdale. They’re very much caught up in the season mystery as well.
Let’s move on to Cheryl and Toni. They were together by the end of the season, and Cheryl has emancipated herself from her mother and has Thistlehouse all to herself. So will Choni be moving in together?
RAS: We’re really enjoying them being the reigning queens of Riverdale High, which we’re going to play them as. They’re still in the honeymoon phase. They are kind of getting in and out of trouble with the Serpents, without the Serpents. They too will be drawn into the season-long mysteries, and, yes, there will be a discussion about Choni living together.
On the surface, All American might seem like a male-heavy drama about football. Not so fast: While the CW series does feature two male leads (Daniel Ezra as high school player Spencer James; Taye Diggs as the coach who recruits him), that would be only half the story. Where All American really excels is the depiction of James’ home life—and the complicated, fascinating women who affect it.
One of those women who serves as James’ moral compass is his cousin/best friend Tamia “Coop” Cooper, played by Empire star Bre-Z. “She constantly pushes him not be afraid to leave his comfort zone,” Bre-Z tells Glamour. “I love that my character is not one dimensional. I love the positivity within her regardless of what she feels like she has to do because of the environment that she’s been brought up in. And she’s funny as hell.” Most important, “I just love that for women on TV right now, we’re displaying the power that we always knew we had. That’s so exciting.”
And much like All American, there’s more to the Philadelphia native, 31, than what’s on the surface. From her former career as a barber to the story behind her name, Bre-Z wants to share her story. Read on.
What’s your birth name and the story behind Bre-Z?
Bre-Z: My birth name is Calesha [Murray]. It was so funny because I think when I was in fifth grade, my mom got a call home from my teachers and they said, “Your daughter can’t keep writing Bre-Z on her papers.” I thought that was my name. Everybody always called me Bre-Z, so I didn’t know. My mom sat me down and [explained it to me]. Now when people want to call me Calesha, I’m like, “No, it’s Bre-Z! You can’t take it from me again!” [Laughs] Bre-Z is cooler anyway!
So how did everyone start calling you Bre-Z?
Bre-Z: My grandmother on my mom’s side actually gave me that name. I was in the delivery room, crying at the top of my lungs, but they couldn’t figure out why because nothing was really wrong. [It turns out] I was cold. Once they wrapped me up and swaddled me and shut the windows, that was the end of it. My grandmother said, “Oh. She was cold!”
What brought you to Hollywood?
Bre-Z: I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I kind of just knew there was something just special about myself, coming from a place where people rarely make it out. I’ve seen friends and things like that…so many people pass on before we even got to the point where we wanted to pursue a career. Ever since I was in sixth grade, I knew what I wanted to do. Once I had that talk with my mom, I was into music, and she helped and filled out college applications, and I actually did everything I said I was going to do.
I started off as a barber, cutting hair for men since I was 10 years old. I was working in the shop, and that was my bread and butter throughout high school and growing up. I finally got to a place where I wanted to focus on my music, so I pulled back from cutting hair a little bit and eventually I landed up in Atlanta because my mom had a job transfer. I was like 19, and I was there working and making so much money. It was great—but a few years after that, I got tired of it and felt like I hit a plateau in my life. I was just kind of cruising altitude.
And then what happened?
Bre-Z: Me and a friend decided, “Fuck it. We’re just going to move to L.A.” So, we moved out here. I was maybe 24. I’m still a mama’s girl, and we’re very family oriented. I got here, and six or seven months later I was asked to audition for Empire. I’ve been here ever since.
Did you have any acting or music training? Or are you self-taught?
Bre-Z: I self-taught, even as a barber. I felt like I never had the money to afford the training or all the necessary things…I didn’t have it. I was forced to teach myself everything, even when it came to making graphics. I had to teach myself that and how to edit videos, and I’d take my own photos. I was always very artsy and in love with the art, but I couldn’t afford it. So I had to teach myself.
Were there any actors you looked to for inspiration along the way?
Bre-Z: I was always such a fan of strong, powerful women like Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah. Now you got Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson. I was always a fan of that. But I don’t think I looked any further than just being a fan. Acting wasn’t anything I was pursuing. That came from God himself. You work so hard to do one thing, and then you’re like, “What? Now I’m a makeup artist?” That’s what it was. I was so in love with being a barber and the satisfaction I got from making people feel good and look good. Then you just drop me on a TV screen…so it really took for me to have a sit-down from Terrence Howard discussing the same thing you and I are, and he was like, “Best thing you can do is just be yourself. You’re very passionate, you’re very sympathetic.” So every time I got a role, he would just tell me to put myself in their shoes. As simple as it sounds, it was the greatest advice he could have given me.
Do you feel most yourself when you’re acting or creating music?
Bre-Z: In my music. The music and being in the studio is one of my most vulnerable places. On TV people perceive me to be a particular type of person. People get so invested in these [characters] they don’t actually know who I am. But my music is a chance for me to say, “This is me.”
Will you get to sing on All American?
Bre-Z: I think it’s only right. So I’m excited. I think so.
Finally, what do you hope other young women take away from seeing you in this role or hearing your story?
Bre-Z: I want women to understand that they can do it. I’m not afraid to tell [my] story. I don’t come from a bad place, but I do come from a place of uncertainty. We don’t know what the plan is going to be for our lives. Your faith, along with your drive, is only going to take you where you allow it to. I really hope women are inspired and not afraid to dream or do it. I think we fear the thought the most. Because when you think about it, nothing actually ever happens because you didn’t do anything.