Bre-Z Does It She acts. She raps. And she wields a mean pair of clippers. How All American ’s stereotype-busting star came to be. BY OLIVER JONES N O ONE WAS MORE RELIEVED when the third season of All American was safely underway than Bre-Z, the actor, rapper, and former barber who stars as Tamia “Coop” Cooper on The CW hit. As the loyal, if sometimes hotheaded, best friend and protector of the show’s titular hero, Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), Coop spent most of last season in the crosshairs of a gang lord. The situation made every table read a distinctly harrowing experience. “It was a little chilling to have to be in her skin every day,” explains Bre-Z, on the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “Every time I opened a script, it was a little like, ‘Oh my God, y’all better not! I don’t wanna act like I got shot, and I don’t wanna act dead. I don’t want any of that!’” A representational breakthrough, All American ’s Coop is a gender-expectation- defying gay teenager who runs the streets of South Los Angeles with a swagger and ferocity all her own. That she survived the season intact was indeed a source of succor—and not just for the woman who plays her. “I had two 80-year- old white women on a plane praising me for


ALL AMERICAN airsMondays at 8p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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