Tessa Thompson - The Shade Room

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson is an American actress who is well known for her performances in Dear White People, West World, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Personal Life

Early Life

Tessa Thompson was born in Los Angeles, California on October 3, 1983. As a child, she moved around between LA and New York City. Tessa Thompson went to Santa Monica High School and participated in the theater department at her school. She played Hermia in her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thompson went to Santa Monica College and studied cultural anthropology.


Tessa Thompson is currently not in a relationship. She has stated that she likes both men and woman but does not prefer to be labeled as bisexual. Tessa has been rumored to be in a relationship with musician and close friend Janelle Monáe but both women have denied those rumors.


Tessa Thomspon had the start of her profession career when she played Ariel in LAWSC’s production of The Tempest in 2002. In 2003, Tessa Thompson played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans, 1836 with The Theatre @ Boston Court. This performance resulted in Thompson earning an NAACP Theatre Award nomination.

In 2005, Tessa Thompson appeared in her first TV role. She played a lesbian bootlegger from the 1930’s on the CBS series, Cold Case. That same year, she became a series regular on season two of the popular series, Veronica Mars.

Since then, Thompson has starred and appeared in many roles, including When a Stranger Calls, Westworld, Avengers: End Game, and many others.


Not only does Tessa Thompson act, but she is also a singer-songwriter. In the past, Thompson was a member of the electro soul band, Caught a Ghost. She also has co-wrote and performed several songs on the Creed and Creed II soundtracks.


  • Cold Case, 2005
  • Veronica Mars, 2005-2006
  • Grey’s Anatomy, 2006
  • The Initiation of Sarah, 2006
  • When a Stranger Calls, 2006
  • Hidden Palms, 2007
  • Life, 2008
  • Make It Happen, 2008
  • The Human Contract, 2008
  • Mental, 2009
  • Private Practice, 2009
  • Heroes, 2009
  • Three Rivers, 2009
  • Mississippi Damned, 2009
  • Everyday Black Man, 2010
  • Exquisite Corpse, 2010
  • For Colored Girls, 2010
  • Betwixt, 2010
  • Blue Belle, 2010
  • Detroit 1-8-7,2010-2011
  • Off the Map, 2011
  • Rizzoli & Isles, 2011
  • Periphery, 2011
  • Red & Blue Marbles, 2011
  • Murder on the 13th Floor, 2012
  • 666 Park Avenue, 2012-2013
  • Copper, 2012-2013
  • Automotive, 2013
  • Dear White People, 2014
  • Grantham & Rose, 2014
  • Points of Origin, 2014
  • Selma, 2014
  • The Grand Romantic, 2015
  • Creed, 2015
  • War on Everyone, 2016
  • Salt Water, 2016
  • BoJack Horseman, 2016
  • Westworld, 2016-present
  • South Dakota, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok, 2017
  • Sorry to Bother You, 2018
  • Portlandia, 2018
  • Dear White People, 2018
  • Annihilation, 2018
  • Furlough, 2018
  • Little Woods, 2018
  • Dirty Computer, 2018
  • Creed II, 2018
  • Tuca & Bertie, 2019
  • Brave Girl Rising, 2019
  • Avengers: Endgame, 2019
  • Men in Black: International, 2019
  • Between Two Ferns: The Movie, 2019
  • Lady and the Tramp, 2019
  • Sylvie’s Love, 2020
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, 2020
  • Passing, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder, 2022


Tessa Thompson has won seven awards throughout her career, including:

  • Best Actor award at the American Black Film Festival for her role in Mississippi Damned (2009)
  • Best Breakthrough Performance at the Black Reel Awards for her role in For Colored Girls (2011)
  • Breakthrough Actor award at the Gotham Awards for her role in Dear White People (2014)
  • Breakthrough Performance award at the African-American Film Critics Association, also for her role in Dear White People (2014)
  • Breakthrough Performer award at the Hamptons International Film Festival for her role in Selma (2015)
  • Best Supporting Actress award at the African-American Film Critics Association for her role in Creed (2015)
  • Best Supporting Actress award at the Black Reel Awards for her role in Creed (2016)

In the News

Earlier in 2021, Tessa Thompson launched her new production company Viva Maude. She has a first-look deal with HBO and HBO Max and is set to produce book adaptations of the two novels Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. For all the latest gossip on Tessa Thompson, stay tuned with The Shade Room!


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