An actor who grew up between Florida and Jamaica, Antoinette Robertson leads Justin Simien’s Netflix series Dear White People as Coco Conners. She has also appeared in the series Atlanta (2016), Hart of Dixie (2013-14) and The Haves and the Have Nots (2014-17).
Stateside Project is an ongoing portrait series between up-and-coming actors, models, artists, musicians, and photographers. Wearing a Stateside T-shirt, each is interviewed and photographed in their environment, be it at home, studio or out in the world.
Actor Antoinette Robertson stars as the headstrong student Coco Conners in Justin Simien’s Netflix series Dear White People. The show is follow-up to 2014’s critically-acclaimed satire of the same name, and explores racial discrimination and other social issues against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League college. I met Antoinette at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
What’s your story of getting started as an actor?
I started acting after taking what I thought was an easy-A elective in college, and somehow I fell in love. That class completely changed the trajectory of this chemistry major’s life, and I am eternally grateful to my best friend for the suggestion.
What do you most like about your line of work?
What I love most about acting is the freedom to express ideas and behavior. Ultimately, I love being able to create art that has the ability to inform and inspire the world.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by authenticity in all forms. I gravitate to every form of artwork that is conveying someone’s truth.
In which ways are you similar to and different from Coco Conners, your character in Dear White People?
Coco is a prima donna and I’m a tomboy, so it’s kind of funny getting into character. So much energy is involved in attempting perfection. I personally have no desire to be perfect. I’d rather be comfortable. In regards to similarities, we’ve both struggled with navigating the world’s Eurocentric ideal of beauty, and we both believe we can create lasting change in the world.
How would you describe your style?
Sporadic. I dress how I feel. I could feel like wearing sweats and a T-shirt with chucks on a Monday and a cocktail dress with five-inch heels on a Tuesday. Variety is the spice of life.
Do you recall your first favorite T-shirt?
Yes! It was a heather gray, multicolored T-shirt with Bob Marley, a lion and the Jamaican flag on it.
What’s next for you?
I’m producing my own series and I can’t wait to start making moves behind the camera. It feels like a brand new adventure!