Details Tessa Thompson's Superfans Know, But You Might Not

Whether she was reigning over Asgard as queen in the "Thor" franchise, stunning as Michael B. Jordan's love interest in "Creed," or taking on any number of roles as an indie darling, you've more than likely seen Tessa Thompson on screen before. The Los Angeles native has made a name for herself in the cinema with her approachable performances, undeniable charm, and comedic sensibilities.

From "Selma" and "Sorry to Bother You" to "Dear White People," Thompson has also used her work to further representation in American film and stand behind messages about which she feels the most passionate. It's a duty that she does not take lightly, either. "With some projects, because of who I am and what I look like, if I do get cast that just becomes political, in the same way the internet exploded with the idea of a Black Stormtrooper," she told Issue in 2015. "It happens around you."

Just because she is known to millions across the world doesn't mean they necessarily know her, though. While she's beloved by her more than 3 million Instagram followers, there's a lot of mystery surrounding Thompson — from her personal life, to past experience on the stage, and her musical background. Though Marvel super fans are certainly already well acquainted with Thompson, here are some things you might not know.

Her acting roots go all the way back to Shakespeare

Tessa Thompson is best known for her roles on the silver screen, but this multifaceted actor's roots actually started on ye olde stage. One of her first performances ever was as Hermia in a high school rendition of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Although she wasn't a fan of Shakespeare as a teen — "I was one of those kids that would read the Cliffs Notes and sort of knew the plot points," she admitted to This Stage Magazine in 2012 –- the Bard ended up playing a big part in her pursuing an acting career.

After attending a lecture by the LA Women's Shakespeare Company while attending classes at Santa Monica College, Thompson soon found herself becoming a full-on theater nerd. "I don't even remember what happened but that was sort of my beginning," she told This Stage Magazine. Her first-ever professional stage role ended up being the company's production of "The Tempest" when she was 18, and she went onto score the role of Juliet in an experimental adaptation of "Romeo & Juliet" in Boston which earned her a NAACP Award nod. "That was a turning point," she revealed. "It was the beginning of realizing that acting was something I really love to do." It wasn't her last time speaking Shakespeare either; she went on to nab leading roles in professional productions of plays like "Twelfth Night," "King Lear," and "As You Like It." We think Thor would be impressed.

She got hit by a monster truck

Did we grab your attention with that headline? That's right, Tessa Thompson got hit by a monster truck while celebrating New Year's Eve in 2020. "I drove up a mountain to go to a cabin, and I thought, 'This will be totally safe because I won't see anybody,'" she recounted on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in 2021. "But I got into a car accident, so I did have a socially distanced interaction."

Before you get too worried, Thompson clarified that it wasn't a "monster truck" as much as it was a "monster-sized truck."  She explained to Jimmy Kimmel, "Let's put it this way: it [was] as 'monster' as a truck could be, driving with a regular commercial license." Thankfully, both Thompson and the other driver were safe and as a Californian, frankly, she was prepared for it. "I feel like I'm so used to car accidents because I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so it feels like accidents are my birthright," she quipped. "I've had many of them. But this was a pleasant one." Spoken like a true superhero.

She went through her own coming out journey

Like her superhero alter-ego Valkyrie, Tessa Thompson also identifies as queer. According to Variety, she came out as bisexual in 2018 and being open about her sexuality is something she does not regret at all. "I think we have a tremendous amount of work to do, but I feel really lucky to exist inside of a space, both in my professional space and my personal space and familial space, where I feel really loved and supported for who I am," she told the outlet in July 2022.

Thompson credits support from her family as one of the biggest reasons she's felt comfortable living authentically in the public eye. "If I bring a woman home, [or] a man, we don't even have to have the discussion," she told Net-a-Porter in 2018. That being said, being both a Black and queer person is something she's been conscious of when choosing her roles. "My Blackness to me has always felt beautiful, yes, but inevitable," she told W in January 2022. "Depending on how much you don't want to be otherized, you might be compelled to soften your edges a little bit so that you can move through space with more ease. And that I understand, especially in Hollywood."

But her character is saving lives

It took the Marvel Cinematic Universe years to get there, but 2022's "Thor: Love and Thunder" finally revealed Tessa Thompson's character Valkyrie would be the first LGBTQ+ character in the epic franchise. It was an honor that was not lost on Thompson as someone who identifies as bisexual, especially considering her character's arc was not tied to finding a romantic partner. "I think a part of really being able to normalize ... LGBTQIA characters is to allow them to exist in their humanity and that doesn't always mean that they're in love or in a partnership because plenty of us know that sometimes you're not," she told Variety.

And the very act of including a LGBTQ+ character in a Disney blockbuster film has had a real impact. "I've had so many folks write me and say that they were able to come out or talk to their family, which is a dream," she said. While Thompson admitted that there's still "a tremendous amount of work to do," she knows that LGBTQ+ representation and the example she sets as a queer woman in the public eye are saving lives. "There is something powerful about seeing an image of yourself reflected in any way," she explained. "But we know all too well there are some ways that really just matter because we don't have enough of it."

She's been a part of some box office bombs

They can't all be winners! Although Tessa Thompson had a role in "Avengers: Endgame," which is the No. 2 highest grossing film at the worldwide box office per Box Office Mojo, she's also been a part of some duds.

In 2019, she teamed up alongside "Thor" co-star Chris Hemsworth for "Men In Black: International," a reboot of the hit Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones franchise, although its box office performance was not out of this world. According to Deadline, it was "the lowest-opener in the franchise with $28.5 million," and while it took home $253 million worldwide, it did not cross the $300 million mark it needed to break even. Despite its lackluster reviews, Thompson was proud to lead a blockbuster film as a female actor. "The modern sensibility ... [allows] for a woman like me to topline a studio film like this, and I think that's impactful," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Thompson also had a memorable role in Alex Garland's "Annihilation," which was one of the biggest box office bombs of 2018, per Insider. Still, the movie was well received by critics with a 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is the rare sci-fi epic to be fronted by a female cast. "We've got a collection of fierce characters inside a really colorful, really singular story," Thompson said of the film in a 2018 interview with Elle. "It's everything you could want."

She seeks to be a change in Hollywood

Outside of larger-than-life blockbusters, Tessa Thompson has made a point to take on films that offer nuanced looks at social injustice, race, and Black representation. From 2010's "For Colored Girls" to "Selma" — which was nominated for best picture at the 2015 Academy Awards — and "Passing," she prides herself on being intentional with her work. "I think so much in the stories that I want to tell is, 'What is the utility of this story? Why do we need this story? Do we need this story?'" she told Who What Wear in 2021.

Though her filmography certainly displays a step in the right direction for representation, she has spoken at length about the barriers Black stories face in an industry that doesn't always give them a chance. After coming off BBC America's "Copper" — which she described to Issue as "a really intelligent drama ... about this free Black couple living in New York City in the Civil War period" — she recalls being sent "two scripts for two network shows in which my role would be a slave." She added, "They were race-specific in a way I found boring." Her vision for the future? Investing in stories from all experiences. "It would serve us all, I think, if we could get behind people for two hours that do not look like us and go on their journey," she said. "I think that would be useful for society. I think it would expand our humanity."

And she's not afraid to get political

Tessa Thompson's advocacy does not stop in her work onscreen, either. After the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the summer of 2020, she made headlines as one of the most vocal celebrity advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement. In June, she co-signed an open letter alongside "Insecure" star Kendrick Sampson and more than 300 Black entertainers and executives calling for Hollywood to "break ties with the police," according to Variety.

In July 2020, the Los Angeles Times reported that Thompson — along with more than 50,000 others — attended a demonstration in LA to discuss defunding the police alongside other entertainers like Michael B. Jordan, Keke Palmer, and Regina King. Despite the buzz surrounding the big names, Thompson told the outlet that their biggest goal was finding community together to create change. "It seems that there's sometimes this perception when people that have a public platform are talking about these issues as people, they're somehow separate," she said. "And I think it's really important to remember that all of these folks are people that come from neighborhoods."

Thompson has also been a strong proponent on gun control, taking to Twitter after the Uvlade, Texas school shooting in 2022 to write, "Miss us with the: Prayers + Thoughts. POLICY + CHANGE is all."

She was rumored to be dating Janelle Monáe

The rumor mill started working overtime after Tessa Thompson had a large role in the visuals for Janelle Monáe's critically acclaimed album "Dirty Computer" in 2018. Net-a-Porter called the videos "a riotous celebration of femininity, queerness, sexual fluidity and self-acceptance," especially considering one scene in the "Pynk" music video found Thompson peeking through the legs of Monáe's vagina pants. This, coupled with a friendship that dated back to 2015, had fans wondering if there was something more there.

It didn't help that at height of the frenzy, Thompson spoke effusively about Monáe while also asserting the peculiar position that the speculation put them in. "It's tricky, because Janelle and I are just really private people and we're both trying to navigate how you reconcile wanting to have that privacy and space, and also wanting to use your platform and influence," she told Net-a-Porter. Still, she didn't exactly say no. "We love each other deeply," she said. "We're so close, we vibrate on the same frequency. If people want to speculate about what we are, that's okay. It doesn't bother me."

As of this writing, the two have neither confirmed or denied a relationship. While we may never know whether they were romantically attached or not, at least we've got the masterpiece that is "Dirty Computer" to keep us company.

Tessa Thompson has made a point to keep a lot of things private

From stepping on stage to speak some Shakespeare to appearing in one of the biggest film franchises ever, Tessa Thompson has seen her star soar exponentially — and that's come with its struggles. Although she told Harper's Bazaar in 2022 that gossip at her level of fame is "par for the course," she admitted that being a blockbuster star has been "trippy" at times.

Still, Thompson is the first to say she's no different than anyone else. "We all live in public," she explained to InStyle in 2021. "We're followed in public whether we want to be or not. But if you're a known figure, you exist inside this space where people might try to have ideas and perceptions about you. Which to me is the price of admission." And while rumors about a fling with Janelle Monáe and a flirty pic with "Thor: Love and Thunder" director Taika Waititi and Rita Ora have all gotten the internet buzzing, Thompson maintains that examining her films is the best way to learn who she really is and what she stands for. "Hopefully, the work offers the most insight into who a person is," she told InStyle. "At least that's how I want my work to be, more than anything else I might do."

She has her own production company

Although she's best known for her work in front of the camera, Tessa Thompson is also very involved behind-the-scenes. In 2021, she launched her own production company, Viva Maude, with a mission of telling "inclusive stories with inventive creators," as she told Harper's Bazaar. She's already got a handful of projects in the works, including adaptations of "Who Fears Death," "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies," and "Luster" as part of a first-look deal for HBO, according to Deadline.

As of this writing, release dates for Viva Maude's in-the-works projects have yet to be revealed, but Thompson told Harper's that she's particularly interested in telling stories about "folks of color," those in the LGBTQ+ community, and communities typically "marginalized inside of Hollywood." As for the company's name? It comes from 1971 cult classic "Harold and Maude," one of Thompson's favorites that she says, "People didn't really get ... or know what to do with it." Adding to our watchlist right now.

Tessa Thompson has dabbled in music

In addition to her skills in acting, producing, and modeling, Tessa Thompson is also musically gifted. It shouldn't come as a surprise considering it runs in the family: her father is Marc Anthony Thompson, a singer-songwriter for the band Chocolate Genius Incorporated. "I grew up in his basement studio and watching him perform," she told Embrace You Magazine in 2014. "Apart from being a really original and gifted storyteller lyrically, I always found him to adopt a character on stage that was separate sometimes, and an extension other times, and that was influential as a child." Her younger sister has also released a handful of EPs under the name Zsela.

As for Tessa, she performed in indie band Caught A Ghost throughout the early 2010s, with whom she toured alongside Wild Belle. She also used to sing in the LA Ladies Choir, as she told Issue. "The idea of singing on my own, with just my voice into a microphone, was daunting," she admitted. "I was worried too, as I think there's a funny way of thinking about actors who want to make music. People tend to be more critical of that than if it's the other way around." While she's yet to do a full-blown musical, you can hear her singing voice in the movies. She wrote and performed three songs for the "Creed" soundtrack.

Her Creed co-star is like her work husband

One of Tessa Thompson's breakout roles was as Bianca, the love interest of Adonis Creed in "Creed," a spinoff of the "Rocky" franchise, and she has developed a close friendship with her scene partner Michael B. Jordan over the years. It helps that the series has become a massive success, with the first film grossing $109 million worldwide in 2015 and its sequel raking in $115 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

"We are such like work husband and wife that [Jordan] trusts me so much," Thompson told Variety in 2022. "We've been making these films now for almost eight or nine years. He and I have grown so much as artists, as people, as professional, as humans." It was this level of trust that made the third film, which is slated for release in 2023 and directed by Jordan, feel like a natural progression for the collaborative duo. "I felt proud of him in the way that you would someone in your family," Thompson gushed. "I think we made a really good film." To be honest, we'd watch these two together in anything!

She's worth a pretty penny

After three Marvel films, leading roles in blockbusters like "Creed" and "Men in Black: International," and a music career, it's no surprise that Tessa Thompson has been lining her pockets while capturing America's hearts. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the "Sylvie's Love" star is worth a whopping $4 million.

It seems that the sky's the limit for Thompson, but there is one sphere she hasn't tackled yet that she's still got her eye on: fashion. Considering she's already known for her daring and stunning red carpet looks, she told Net-a-Porter in 2018 that she "certainly would not say no" to a large campaign. "If you are a Black woman, occupying that space and having that sort of visibility, internationally, is huge," she explained. "There's this idea that our faces don't sell and so when we do get those campaigns, they show people that they do."

There's certainly more than meets the eye when it comes to Thompson, and while she keeps her cards close to her chest, we can't wait to learn more about the woman behind New Asgard as her empire continues to grow.