Tessa Thompson biography
Date of Birth: October 3, 1983
Although Tessa Thompson was born in Los Angeles, she split her time during her childhood between California and Brooklyn, where her father Marc Anthony Thompson, of the musical collective Chocolate Genius, Inc, was living.
Tessa’s first major role was in a 2002 production of The Tempest
produced by Los Angeles’ Women’s Shakespeare Company. The following year she starred as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans
, for which she earned a nomination for a NAACP Theatre Award.
Of this period in her career Tessa told Vogue
, “When I was doing a lot of Shakespeare, my dream was to do a period piece, but I thought there’s no way that I’m going to have the career that Kate Winslet
has because of the way I look.”
Tessa is multiracial and has built her career on playing strong black women. She played Samantha White in Dear White People
(2014) and the same year, played a role in Ava DuVernay
. Tessa also starred in Creed
(2015) as Bianca. In an interview with The Cut
in 2016 she explained part of what drew her to the role, saying, “I love that you get to see a black man be sensitive and vulnerable — and seeing a black woman demand those things of him. As millennial love is not women waiting at home but being just — as if no more — ambitious, and showing how it works when two people are after something.”
Tessa is also a vocal supporter for human rights, posting on social media regularly about equality and systemic racism, and pictures of people of color killed by police violence. She has spoken on numerous occasions about creating more multidimensional roles for people of color showing real people and not offensive stereotypes.
In her most recent role Tessa was the recipient of some hate because she was cast as a Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok
, which is based on the comics and Norse mythology. Her character was depicted in the comics as a blonde-haired and fair-skinned woman. She told comicbook.com: “People were posting about sort of the race swap and the implications of that and they were very upset. Some very upset people about how this doesn't honor Norse mythology and you're like 'Read Norse mythology, it doesn't make sense.'" Tessa also joked about how "Idris Elba
needs company, he can’t be the only black person in the neighborhood."
More recently, she played the role of Josie in the sci-fi thriller Annihilation
(2018), alongside Natalie Portman
and Jennifer Jason Leigh
When she’s not on set Tessa is also a musician and singer who plays in a band called Caught a Ghost, when she's not busy on a movie set.