Tessa Lynne Thompson (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress. She began her professional acting career with the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company while studying at Santa Monica College. She appeared in productions of The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet, the latter of which earned her a NAACP Theatre Award nomination. Her breakthrough came with leading roles in Tina Mabry’s independent drama film Mississippi Damned (2009) and Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (2010), an adaptation of the 1976 play of the same name.
Thompson gained favorable notices for her early film performances in the comedy-drama Dear White People, and as civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay’s historical drama Selma (both in 2014). She gained mainstream attention for her roles in franchise films playing Bianca Taylor in the sport dramas Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018), and for her starring role as Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), as well as her leading role in the science fiction franchise film Men in Black: International (2019). She also has received critical praise for her performances in independent films such as the dark comedy Sorry to Bother You (2018), the crime thriller Little Woods (2018), the science-fiction horror film Annihilation (2018), the romantic drama Sylvie’s Love (2020), and the period film Passing (2021), the latter of which earned her a British Academy Film Award nomination.
On television, she starred in the noir drama series Veronica Mars (2005–2006), the drama series Copper (2012–2013), and the science fiction series Westworld (2016–present). She received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her work as a producer on Sylvie’s Love. In 2017 she received a BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination.