Nesta Cooper Muses On Strength & Femininity In Dior's Cruise '22 Collection

Written by Brynn Wallner
Photographs by Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Nesta Cooper understands the contemporary yearning to dress like everyone else, but feels much cooler when staying true to herself. As an actress, her career revolves around transformation, but, much like the strong-willed characters she portrays, her real power comes from within. Still, Cooper relishes the uncanny feeling of self discovery that comes with playing a role, and decking herself in Dior's cruise '22 collection helped her realize the full spectrum of womanhood.

Nesta wears the Dior Vibe hobo bag in white and Dior Vibe sneaker in silver.

Inspired by the heart of the city dedicated to Athena, Dior’s Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri used Greek mythology to inform a modern take on femininity. Tweaking the ancient silhouette of the goddess tunic and playing with Grecian hues of gold and blue, Chiuri has created a collection aptly in tune with Cooper’s own sensibilities.

Set against the backdrop of the Panathenaic stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics, Dior’s cruise show contextualized the collection within a narrative of athleticism. This is most literally conveyed on pieces graced with artist Pietro Ruffo’s sketches of bodies entangled in competition, performing beyond gender boundaries. The new Dior Vibe bags and sneakers further weave that idea throughout the collection, merging heritage and sportswear with magnetic audacity.

Artistry requires an athlete’s endurance, and Chiuri injected this notion into each look, additionally conveying the idea that “art lies not in the object created, but in one’s ability to create.” Indeed, clothing would be meaningless without those who wear it, and it is exhilarating to see Cooper’s nuanced sense of self so brilliantly channeled in each look.

Dior Vibe bowling bag in white.
Nesta wears the Dior Vibe sneaker in gold.

Describe your personal style. What is a typical Nesta look?

When I open my closet, I mostly aim for three things: unique color mixes, comfort, and a statement piece of some kind. I think I’ve found a good ratio of trendy to personal in my wardrobe, which I’m really proud of. I think it’s easy to get caught up in what you see others wearing online and just wanting to copy it, but I feel so much cooler wearing something that is truly me.

How does it feel to deck yourself in Dior’s cruise ‘22 collection inspired by ancient Greek feminine ideals of athleticism, strength, and classic beauty?

It is always a dream to wear something so clearly made with care and artistry. I still can’t believe it’s a part of my job. This collection is worn easily and is so effortlessly cool — especially the sportswear aspect of it. I love the neutral tones and the silhouettes. Dior has this classic A-Line silhouette that I am so attracted to. It’s so flattering and ladylike. In this collection, that silhouette is used throughout but with an edgy touch. It’s to die for.

It’s delicate in some ways and powerful in others. I think a lot of people are talking about the mix of feminine and masculine touches throughout, but I find that the whole collection has a feminine energy. It shows another side of how it feels to be a woman — sort of quilted together with soft and hard pieces, fusing the past and the present to create a complex and fully realized individual.

Nesta wears the Dior D-Leader ankle boot in black and Dior Bobby East-West bag in black.

What about a look makes you feel strong? Does the notion of femininity come into play?

For me, it’s whatever I feel most confident in. If I feel that a piece is authentically me, and fits in all the right places, and accentuates parts of me that I already love — I feel very powerful. I’ve been trying to practice gratitude for the current moment, and that includes my body and femininity. I’m tall, and I have an athletic body type, thanks to my Jamaican roots. Like many young people, I’ve always had an odd relationship with my body. And I think a lot of us are exploring this notion of confidence, and self-acceptance and all that.

There’s this trend on TikTok right now where people are showing how they’re sexier when they act confidently to the camera. It’s kind of cool that my generation and the one after are genuinely thinking about these notions. That people are opening themselves up to their feminine energy in a real way, and seeing how all the confidence and power they need is already within them.

Throughout the year, my body ebbs and flows, and I try to wake up every morning and thank my body for what it allows me to do, regardless of any negative thoughts. That, to me, is how to move through life with love for yourself and others — and that is the greatest power!

Dior Vibe hobo bag in black.

Intricate hardware, perforated leather, and rubber details inject the Dior Vibe bags with classic elements of sportswear. What do you think these bags say in relation to the rest of the collection?

The Vibe bags make so much sense with this collection and for Dior as a brand. They’re a true mixture of the past, present, and functionality. I am constantly looking for this feeling in my wardrobe.

I also like that Maria Grazia Chiuri named them the 'Vibe' because it fits seamlessly into any decade from the ‘60s onward. A vibe is a feeling, a sensation, and a clear indication of what feels right and wrong. When the vibe is off, you know. And when it's good, you feel it. It's cool to have a bag that encompasses that timelessness.

If you could wear these looks anywhere, where would you go?

I would wear this collection to a fancy picnic by the beach, a concert of a dreamy female artist, or at a super-cool fashion week like Paris or Copenhagen.

Nesta wears the DiorIron ankle boot in white.
Art direction by Diana Weisman; wardrobe styling & branded fashion direction by Jenna Wexler; hair by Cynthia Alvarez; makeup by Emily Cheng; manicurist: Betina Goldstein; branded fashion editor: Kate Marin; talent booking: Lucy Haller; production: Nancy Valev.