Bre-Z has solidifed her role in Hollywood as an actress who always stays true to herself in whatever role she’s in. From her time on Empire to her long standing role as Coop in the CW’s All-American, Bre-Z shows constant growth over the years. We sat down with Bre-Z to learn why she’s “PROUD 2 B”.

Jacket and Pants: Zegna 
Top: Helmut Lang 
Cuff: Third Crown 


What was it like growing up in Philadelphia?   

Philly is a beautiful fast paced city filled with diversity and culture of all kinds. Early on in my life, the decision was made for me to attend schooling in Wilmington, DE. That would be the place I’d consider myself to have grown up. That experience was cool. It was normal. Kids being kids and teens being teens. I was into sports, I loved to do hair, and music was becoming more and more a part of me. The experience in its totality was exactly what was needed to bring me to this point. 

Before your career as an actress and musician, you started off as a celebrity barber. How did you transition from being a barber to being one of the top stars in Hollywood?   

Barbering was a talent that came very naturally to me. It began a lot of the important relationships I have in my life today. The barbershop was a place where it was absolutely ok to be yourself. The transition for me was slightly difficult because I’d been use to creating my own schedule and running my business for years, and now I was walking into a space where people dictated all these things for me. 

That wasn’t anything I was used to but my appreciation for the role didn’t allow for the unknowing or discomfort in this space to last long. I immediately began to watch, learn and research a number of things surrounding what I was now called to do. Also, understanding my position publicly I wanted to make sure the message I was sending was in no way misleading to the viewers. 

Let’s take it all the way back to your “Empire” days. What are some of your favorite memories from being on this show as Freda Gatz and what did it teach you coming into the industry?   

The Empire experience as a whole was both a first and a favorite. I, on day one, sat in company with actors that I’d watched for a very long time growing up. There were so many WOW moments every day. Empire was a star-studded production, and you honestly never knew who you’d see on set on a particular day. 

It immediately showed me that everyone, big or small, was human. The craft was taken seriously, and the work ethic was admirable. One of my favorite memories was being on set my first day and sitting in makeup in the early morning and Chris Rock sitting next to me. I hadn’t yet been introduced to him, although I was playing his daughter. He sat with his legs crossed, glasses on, reading. I remember laughing to myself because here I was, sitting next to one of the funniest people in comedy and he was just still. No jokes, no banter. He was quiet and serious. I thought to myself at the moment, this is hilarious. How is he not cracking jokes?  

The next moment for me was realizing “oh ok this is not a joke, and he takes this very seriously” at that point I began to be serious, which was also funny to me. Overall, I understood these people did not get to where they are playing around and joking. The days were early, and the workload wasn’t light. There was a dedication, consistency, and a level of professionalism they’d all embodied. The acknowledgment of that changed my perspective completely as I moved toward what was ahead of me. 

Jacket and Pants: Melitta Baumeister 
Top: Helmut Lang 
Coat: J.lindeberg 
Shoes: Balenciaga 
Eyewear: Illesteva 
Jewelry: Versani 

Many people know you from your role as “Coop” on All-American. How did you get this role and what was it like being on this show for so long?  

I was invited to audition for ALL AMERICAN in 2018, which at the time was “UNTITLED”. I was sent the script for the pilot along with the sides and breakdown for the character. Once I read the pilot through, I had a strong knowing that the story itself had to be told, and more specifically the story of “COOP”.  

After landing the role and meeting the brilliant minds that developed this story, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to truly allow Coop to me a representation of so many people of the LGBTQ+ community. With each season we were able to open up to the character more and more.  

With now, 6 seasons behind us, I feel honored to have been such a guide for many viewers of different walks of life. I always want the work I do to be a tool of some sort and I feel like I’ve done that in this role. We started Coop at ground level and took our time to build her up and change her trajectory. Coming from a similar background, getting up and making the right decisions isn’t always an easy task. 

As we traveled up and down with Coop, I had the chance to show very specifically how a single decision can change the course of one’s life. My show runner Nkechi Carroll and executive Jamie Turner have been very supportive and have always stood as an ally for minority groups. Coop, from the beginning was always a show of how much support someone like me or Coop had in the space. That support alone has made playing the role of Coop a very enjoyable experience. 

What are your hopes for your character Coop for the upcoming seasons of All-American?   

My hope for Coop, is that we get into who Tamia Cooper has become on the other side of her struggles. I hope to see her finish law school and open her own firm. The intention there would be to allow her to pay forward all she has had to endure to get to this place of truly knowing and understanding who she is and the importance of the decisions she makes. To return to Crenshaw being exactly who she needed for people like her would be a full circle moment. After that I believe her work would be done, unless there was an interest in her personal life as an adult. 

In 2020 you dropped your first full project “Full Circle”. What is your favorite song from this project? Can we expect new music anytime soon?   

“Full Circle” was a fun project that I had been working on before covid happened. I had spent so many years filming and not creating music as I’d like to and decided to release some records I was excited about.  

My favorite song on the project was titled “A LOT” it samples Busta Rhymes 97’ hit “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can see”. It was fun, up-tempo and felt good. The project overall was full of good vibes. I’m currently working on a few music projects that I’m excited about. 

I’m choosing to no longer limit myself. I’m quieting the outside noise and truly doing it my way. For that alone, I think people will be very surprised. I haven’t set dates yet, but you can expect something this year for sure! 

Top: RTA 
Pants: Interior 
Jewelry: BP Jewelry 

Let’s talk about you and your partner Sasha. How did you two meet and how did you know Sasha was the one for you? 

Sasha and I have known each other at least 15 years but connected more recently in a very specific way. She was someone I’d always admired. On top of her being naturally gorgeous, I would watch her elevate over the years and say to myself, I want a woman like that!  

A woman who moves with such confidence, poise, and demands nothing but respect. Once we became closer, the love and connection was intense. I knew she was my soulmate immediately. It was the most honest encounter I’ve ever experienced. She held the space for me to truly be myself, and I did the same. I couldn’t have been happier about that. All these things are imprinted in the foundation our future stands on.  

How will you two be celebrating pride this month?  

I’ve always lived in my truth and my truth was never meant to be expressed at a particular time. During pride, I do however, choose to outwardly express myself in a more direct forward-facing way. The reason for that is to be more visible to those who look to me for inspiration. The convos happening during pride are very intentional and always geared towards acceptance and comfortability with one’s own sexuality. I do feel that when a person sees someone they admire sharing their own stories and/or experiences it could help them see themselves more clearly.  

You’ve spoken about not wanting to share too much about your personal life since you already have to share a lot about yourself as an actor and musician. How do you find the balance between sharing your happiness with the world while keeping things private?  

I used to be a very private person. I, at some point allowed myself to get caught up in the industry look of it all. Doing things that weren’t authentic to me and who I was, for the sake of applause. Sharing what I thought I had to and fulfilling a joy that was for others and not me. I stopped considering myself for a very long time. These days I keep what’s most sacred to me, mostly private and only share when I’m truly moved to. I mean it, and it will stay that way.

Jacket and Pants: Melitta Baumeister 
Top: Helmut Lang 
Coat: J.lindeberg 
Shoes: Balenciaga 
Eyewear: Illesteva 
Jewelry: Versani

A lot of the roles you’ve played over the years have been aligned with your gender identity in real life. What advice do you have for anyone who is coming into the industry looking to do the same?   

Recently, I was told “You represent a group of people who almost never see themselves represented in an authentic way, especially at a high level. These are stories that you specifically are meant to tell, because you’re BRE Z”. I would share that same sentiment with any aspiring artist. What you’re here to express, truly only YOU can do that. 

So, by being who you really are, you’re attracting opportunities that are meant for you, and you alone. Whatever I am specifically meant to do in this life, can only be done by me. That advice allowed me to stop overthinking my process and also allowed for more comfortability in my creativity.  

What other film and tv projects would you love to be a part of?  

I plan to continue to be a representation of true authenticity. But speaking specifically to me and my purpose, we haven’t seen masculine presenting women represented without trying to soften them up or tweak them in a way that’s more “digestible” for people who don’t understand certain walks of life. Although, I intend to play many different roles, I also plan to develop stories that will allow viewers to look at the screen and see  

themselves. My goal is to completely wipe away the ability for anyone to say, “I’ve never seen myself represented (properly)”.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2024?   

I’m currently in the process of finalizing records for an EP I’ll be releasing soon! Fans can look forward to the remainder of All American season 6, along with a few other projects I’m still building out, that I will announce soon enough! 

Jacket and Pants: Melitta Baumeister 
Top: Helmut Lang 
Coat: J.lindeberg 
Shoes: Balenciaga 
Eyewear: Illesteva 
Jewelry: Versani 


Editor in Chief: Prince Chenoa (@princechenoastudio)

Feature Editor: Taylor Winter Wilson (@taylorwinter)

Photographer: Jonathan Mannion (@jonathanmannion)

Stylist: Anthony Pedrazza (@anthonypedrazastylist)

Stylist Assistant: Xavier Cruz (@xcruzzz)

Makeup Artist: Maria Ortega (@mariaortegamakeup)


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