New York-based model and actor, Ryan Cooper radiates energy. Always with a smile on his face, beard stubble, sculpted muscles (this is shown in the Manintown editorial, rich in sensuality) suggesting a scrupulous devotion to working out (he launched the wellness program that bears his name in 2019), he will participate in the upcoming dramedy “You Are Not Alone”, after several roles in series and films such as “Rough Night”, “Eye Candy”, “Confess”, and many jobs between men’s magazines and relevant brands, especially in the United States (A|X Armani Exchange and Boss, to name a few). However, his life was far from the bright lights of New York a few years ago.
Born 36 years ago in Papua New Guinea to missionary parents, he was an ordinary man working in the construction industry. In 2008, as soon as he landed on the East Coast, he had the great opportunity to work for the DKNY Jeans Spring/Summer 2008 campaign with the top model Behati Prinsloo. Ryan has rapidly gone from modelling to TV or film sets ever since, gratified because “every role leaves me with new skills or something more about myself, which is all you could wish for”, and equally pleased about his modelling job as it helps him “feel comfortable on film”.
“Each role teaches me a new skill set or something about myself which is all I can wish for”
As reported by the website Deadline, you will be featured in the film “You Are Not Alone” and you will begin filming in Texas soon. What can you reveal about this project?
This is a beautiful true story of writer Cindy McCreery’s experience with her brother as she cared for him during his cancer and bladder removal surgeries. I will be working opposite Jasmine Batchelor (“The Surrogate”) and director Andrew Shea.
This feels like one of the most challenging roles to date as it means honoring a real human experience but also keeping myself fully in the story. There is a lot of physical pain and awkwardness to this movie but the underlying arch is a family coming together to heal parts of its past during a traumatic time for my character AJ. I can’t wait for the world to see it.
You made your big screen debut in the comedy “Rough Night” (2017) with a first-rate female cast (Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Demi Moore, Jillian Bell). What are your memories of the set?
Working with such wonderful stars was incredible. I got to experience first hand how they are human beings before actors and learned so much from them. Scarlett was so inviting to play in the scenes, Jillian was so encouraging and Kate McKinnon was one of the kindest co-stars ever.
“We are all humans struggling with things that are real for us”
Are there any roles or genres you haven’t been offered so far and you would like to play?
I’ve been fortunate to play villains and heroes, sing as a rock star and then torture people. I find it really fun getting to dabble in the spectrum of characters.
I am loving these really truthful heartfelt movies I’ve been able to work on and will be producing more. The world needs movies that change us and help us to think after we walk out of the theater. But I’d really love to do something with more stunts and maybe dancing (my current ability is alone in the living room). Each role teaches me a new skill set or something about myself which is all I can wish for.
As a fitness enthusiast, you channel your passion into the “CooperFit” program which is dedicated to wellness as a whole, from working out to meditation. What are your thoughts about it?
CooperFit was built after observation and working closely with clients and realizing that our physical barriers or goal neglection is directly related to our mental wellbeing. I love helping someone lose weight or put on muscle, but if I can help a relationship to be more peaceful, or support a life goal being achieved, that can be even more rewarding for a client in the long term. My tagline “Heart and health” is because they are intertwined and influence each other greatly.
“I remember working with Peter Lindbergh and he just had the calmest kind way of getting the shot there was no drama just peace”
Before and while acting, you worked at the highest level as a model, debuting in a campaign for DKNY Jeans in 2008 and then appearing in editorials and ads of major fashion labels and magazines (including A|X Armani Exchange, Trussardi, Boss, Esquire, L’Officiel Hommes). Is there any experience, among those mentioned or not, that has marked you for a particular reason?
The fashion industry was so foreign to me when I entered it. I was a builder by trade and hard work was easy for me so fashion felt very easy in terms of physical labor. I think the hardest thing in modeling was all the travel and loneliness of being on the road. I feel very privileged that I got to fly to nice locations and shoot, or meet really artistic people. But as a whole it’s only grounded my understanding that we are all humans struggling with things that are real for us, it doesn’t matter the industry. And we have a choice to engage in and grow or hide from and others. There is always an egoic, kind, combative or collaborative way to approach any job or person or the way we see ourselves.
Being in front of the lens as a model has helped me feel comfortable on film. Likewise, being in film has given me more appreciation for the times I get to work in fashion. I feel life is all about learning from one and feeding it into all aspects of life. I remember working with Peter Lindbergh and he just had the calmest kind way of getting the shot there was no drama just peace, that really made me want to pass that feeling forward to others I work with.
What are you currently working on? What do you wish for the future in your professional and personal life?
Currently I will be filming until the end of July on “You are not Alone”. Then I hope to have a little holiday with my daughter.
I’m also producing a few other projects in various stages of development and I always enjoy working with my one-to-one clients in the CooperFit program which I can do remotely.
Talent Ryan Cooper
Photographer Dean Isidro
Art Director Paul Lamb
Stylist Gregory Wein
Stylist assistant Brianna Klouda
Grooming Michael Moreno
Photo retouch Jay Arora
Project coordinator Giorgio Ammirabile
Opening image: hydro boost gel moisturizer Cardon, ‘De Los Santos’ Eau de Parfum Byredo, 18K yellow gold Ball & Wire necklace, sterling silver/18K yellow gold mixed metal necklace, 18K yellow gold bracelets and 18K solid bar yellow gold/ruby bracelet Title of Work, silk shirt Musika
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