To celebrate the actor’s birthday, we’re taking a look at some interesting facts about her life
BY NIC CROSARA, PHOTOGRAPH BY DREAMSTIME
Tessa Thompson has had a captivating career as an actor. She’s undeniably got an impressive amount of range, from acting in big-budget franchises, such as Marvel and Men In Black, to films such as Passing and Sorry To Bother You. She’s also featured in Janelle Monáe’s queer AF Dirty Computer Emotion Picture and she’s a talented musician herself.
Today marks the star’s birthday. To celebrate, join us in taking a look at some interesting facts surrounding the celeb’s life. Without further ado, let’s dive in…
This is the MCU character she’d be up for playing
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hasn’t shied away from exploring alternate realities. So in an alternate reality, what MCU character would Tessa like to play? She credited both Hulk and Doctor Strange as being contenders, but she’s stated she would play Black Widow. “You know, superficial, but I like the outfits,” she said. “Leather, I like leather.”
She never expected to become an actor
Tessa has had such a successful career as an actor, it would be understandable to assume that she’d always envisioned this for herself. However, she actually studied cultural anthropology at Santa Monica College. She then began making plans to transfer to the University of California, where she intended to study law.
In an interview with Backstage, she opened up about how she always considered acting to be more of a hobby to be done in her spare time rather than a realistic career path. However, she appeared in plays on the side during her studies. Her plans were forever changed when she came across an all-female Shakespeare company, and the rest is history.
In 2021, she launched her own production company
As if being a musician and versatile actor wasn’t enough, she also launched her own production company, Viva Maude, in 2021. She hopes this will change the industry’s landscape for people of colour. She told gal-dem: “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for some years. I didn’t even know if it needed to be a company necessarily but I just knew that I wanted to focus more squarely on producing. As an actor, it was more about where we have not been as Black women and how I can get us there, but now the ‘us’ is much bigger than me. I want to create spaces for so many different kinds of Black women, because we are not a monolith to be seen on screen and I do feel really conscious that some Black women don’t see themselves in me.”
Like many other MCU stars, she’s featured on Hot Ones
Hot Ones is a hugely popular staple show on the First We Feast YouTube channel. In it, the celebrities have to make their way through a serving of hot wings as they answer questions. Many MCU stars have been featured on the show such as Paul Rudd, Tom Holland and Elizabeth Olsen (to name just a few!).
And Tessa has also taken part in the series. In her episode she discussed being an avid reader and how there are lots of books she wants to adapt to screen, and the challenges that come with doing so.
She brings bisexual visibility to the mainstream
In a 2018 interview with Net-A-Porter, the actor came out publicly as bisexual, saying “I’m attracted to men and also to women.” She instantly became a certified bi icon, and when Valkyrie’s bisexuality was also made canon, she became even more of one.
Tessa and Janelle Monáe share a beautiful bond
Over the years, there’s been much speculation surrounding Tessa’s relationship with DIVA cover star, Janelle Monáe. Both Tessa and Janelle came out as bisexual and pansexual, respectively, within the same year. She’s also featured in many of Janelle’s music videos, including the one for Pynk where she posed in between Janelle’s Vagina Trousers.
Although neither celeb has ever confirmed whether their relationship is romantic, there is clearly a lot of love there. They’ve both consistently celebrated each other’s successes and spoken openly with respect for one another. And regardless of what type of love these two queer people of colour share, it’s great to see this type of dynamic in the mainstream.
She’s never eaten an egg
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, when asked if she has a party trick, she says: “I don’t have a party trick. I’ve never eaten an egg – and people seem to be really shocked by that – so, y’know, when I don’t have something to say at a party, I just pull that one out, and it’s always a conversation starter.”
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