Jamaican American filmmaker, actress, model, business entrepreneur, and fashion designer, Christina Cooper, was recently featured in Forbes for her influence on 2021 Fashion Trends. She cited the cuisine, films, and fashion of Jamaica as inspirations for her film “South Central Love” and her Island Gal fashion and beauty products brand. Her film explores her Los Angeles upbringing and is meant to communicate a message exhorting an end to gun violence. Cooper was born in Los Angeles to a Chinese mother, May Cooper, and a Jamaican father, Ashton Cooper. The film has been screened on the BET network.
Her fashion career began when Cooper was scouted at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, offered a contract with a New York modeling agency, and participated in New York Fashion Week. She was then signed by an agency based in Germany and attended Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week and then went to Italy for Milan Fashion Week.
Her experiences in Milan, where her wallet was stolen and she had to survive in the city with very little money provided by the modeling agency taught her important lessons in how to budget and how to handle money wisely. She also learned to be independent and to have a positive attitude, elements that she emphasizes in the Island Gal Collection. Her trips to visit family in Jamaica introduced her to the island’s fashion sense, the materials used, the land, and the oceans; all of these fed her creativity.
Another inspiration for Cooper was model Naomi Campbell, who is also of Jamaican descent. The position Campbell has reached in the fashion industry has served as a positive role model for Cooper as she continued her career in modeling and fashion.
Cooper relies on her personal life experiences to fuel her success in the arts, fashion, and business. Her skin care product line came about because she has very sensitive skin; she created a line of products suitable for all skin types as they are “clean, organic, and vegan.” She drew on the Jamaican tradition of home remedies and keeping things “natural and from the earth” as well. She also said that becoming a model helped her with her fashion sense as she was able to travel around the world and see many styles on display. Now, when she attends fashion events and premieres, she focuses on what is new and fresh, while keeping things sophisticated and “with an edge.”
Cooper generously shares her experiences with others who want to start their own businesses. She offers online courses through her CCPLA University on how to launch an e-commerce brand, noting that in the age of COVID-19, the online market offers great potential.
Cooper’s Island Gal Collection is designed to empower women through its Caribbean-inspired motifs as well as the confident style exhibited by the people in the Caribbean region. The collection has expanded to include everyday beauty products as Cooper notes that she wants her clothing, organic skincare, and vegan products to promote inner confidence in all women, regardless of race.
Whatever she creates, whether in film or fashion, she strives to make it inspirational, moving to make positive changes, or to highlight “inclusivity within the human race.”